I remember first going to Pandora. The site asked me to enter some of my favourite artists. I did. And then it told me that it will play other artists similar to the one I entered. “Excellent!” I utter. I expected a chat room where someone will search up artists. But nope. It was all automated. It was amazing.
It wasn’t perfect, and Last.fm was larger and more attractive, but Pandora was unique. It was the most accurate when it came to recommendations, because of the Music Genome Project, while Last.fm relied on users’ listening habits. But it did not last. As royalties for Internet radio were on the rise, Pandora had to cut access to foreign visitors.
That left me cut out, although I do remember accessing the site once without a proxy and using it for some 20 minutes before expiring my song quota. Could never replicate that moment, but what the hell, it was cool. I really sympathised with Pandora, partly because of the polite apology letter they left for foreign visitors.
Looks like it’s finally time for Pandora to hang up its boots once and for all. SoundExchange is putting on some draconian fees for Internet radio, which is going to hurt Pandora like hell. Royalties have been projected to reach 2.91 cents per listener at 2010. Pandora and others are attempting to petition SoundExchange, but we all know how petitions work.
If it ends up unsuccessful, Pandora will have to pay a whopping 70% of their projected 2008 revenue. Tim Westergren, owner of Pandora says that the minute such an event occurs, Pandora may have to shut shop, which isn’t very surprising. Will this be the demise of free, dynamic Internet radio?
Meanwhile, a new contender has come up to rise the ranks of Internet music. Grooveshark appears to be a brand new site similar to Pandora and Last.fm in that it is a music recommendation system. It appears to be undergoing maintenance right now, so I can’t check it out, but the guys at Mashable seem to have really liked it, so take a look.