Posts Tagged ‘pandora

01
Dec
11

Last.fm

In the digital age we live in music has excelled, not beyond anything we thought it might become, but in how it’s delivered to us. The past 20 years saw the decline of the cassette tape, compact disc, and physical formatting is now all but dead.

So as physical media phases out we turn to more convenient ways of obtaining music (not always done legally now is it?) from services such as Morpheus, Kazaa, Limewire, and most famously: Napster.

So we learned that the RIAA severely dislikes not making money on album sales… so we downloaded even more, torrenting sites becoming more and more popular, The Pirate Bay, for example.

Now I don’t know about you, but in my education I’ve found out that artists usually sign a contract and make most of their money up front. A label will give you, say, $2 million, to buy equipment, record, produce, create music videos, and finish an album. How much of that gets spent on production is usually at the band and manager’s discretion. They are then, most of the time, offered some ridiculously low royalty percentage that means even less after you divide it up between band members and management.

So artists generally don’t make that much off of album sales, but usually off of touring. Ever notice that’s why Bruce Springsteen doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about putting out new albums but will sell out stadiums on a yearly basis? Or that U2’s music has been in steep decline since the late 80s but still manage to have gigantic concerts where they rake in obscene amounts of fans a.k.a. money? (And they don’t even pay taxes to the Irish government!)

Before my tenure at Hi-Fi started I was dealt several cease and desist letters for uploading music just to my former blog’s domain just for personal use. Talk about touchy by the record companies!

So where’m I going with all of this? Well, today’s digital music playground is found through music streaming services such as Spotify, Grooveshark, iTunes, SHOUTcast, Pandora and the least famous… Napster.

I’ve tried using all of those, and iTunes, while on my home computer is fine, because I have my library there too, is not viable on the road. With the rest of these you can build and tag artists/genres you like, but c’mon, that’s a huge hassle for us to list all the bands we like and may have an itch to hear.

Last.fm takes care of that. They have a nifty piece of scrobbling software that will record what songs/artists you play the most, it even makes charts! But by far the best thing is, is that you can take your library with you wherever you go. For free. They offer your library streamed to you, they also offer your library with suggestions for similar artists. Which keeps the likes of Maroon 5 the hell out of my easy listening playlist and doesn’t turn me into a fit of rage.

So, if you’re going places, constantly on the move and let’s say maybe you’re trying to preserve some hard drive space, Last.fm is the way to go, take your own music with you and still gives you a taste of similar artists or you can just play a channel as you would on those other streaming sites.

It gives you everything… and what’s yours.

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21
Dec
09

LaLa Online Music

Upon my recent review of Pandora and my excitement to share it with the masses I have discovered that has become first of all limited in its availability worldwide, and second, the artist profile that one creates barely plays the artist’s songs.  Sorry Pandora, but I’m not impressed any longer.  My “Zappa station” now plays ONE Zappa song per 10 songs and often, the same song? Lame.

I was introduced to an alternate online music source called LaLa and I have to say that I am rather impressed with the variety of artists available and also the amount of control the user has over listening to what you want (and all songs in their entirety!).  Please check this online source out and ditch Pandora since they are clearly a “bait and switch” site.  When they first introduced Pandora it was much cooler, not anymore.

I’m impressed how much Iron and  Wine, Nick Drake, and Elliot Smith they have, you can buy whatever you like at any time, but you can also create personal playlists to play, nice.  Ok, so here’s the catch- you can only listen to one song in its entirety once then you have to purchase it.  So, yeah, it’s free…but then it’s not, but the songs appear to be cheaper (.79 cents vs. .99 cents or more depending) to purchase than iTunes and the variety is pretty good. 

When you initially visit the site they give you 25 credits towards web songs you can add to a LaLa player which is free.  Each song is one credit and you can build a 25 song playlist after setting up a free account.  A cool thing is that you can listen to as many songs as you would like in their entirety prior to adding them to your playlist.  So, if you customize a playlist of things you might listen to all the time you might find the value in it.

Granted, Pandora is absolutely free but it has very serious limitations and becomes horribly redundant in its variety. 

Check out LaLa by clicking here and tell us what you experience.  Worldwide readers, please let us know if you can access this player as well.

14
Dec
09

No Rockin’ for you!

To my sadness and dismay (and disbelief too!) HiFi Central has been contacted by Pandora notifying us that music lovers outside of the U.S. do not have access to Pandora. 

I would appear that this is not Pandora’s decision but other countries (and perhaps the artists or record companies fearful of losing profits), so my post about Pandora is limited to only those living in the U.S.; sorry HiFi WorldReaders (on  nearly every continent believe it or not! Awesome!) we wish you could check Pandora out, but you can’t.  It wou ld appear there will be no rockin’ for you via Pandora…pity.  It would seem that even today The World Wide Web…ain’t always so “world wide” as we would like to think eh?

Rock on in other formats HiFi Readers!

09
Dec
09

Pandora Web Radio

For those that may be searching (or have searched) for decent free web radio station that plays the music you specifically like please check out The Pandora Genome Project.  I’m a huge Frank Zappa fan but find it incredibly difficult to find any Zappa on the internet; Pandora actually has a nice assortment of Zappa on the Zappa radio station.  You can create nearly any artist station and Pandora does a good job matching similiar artists in the mix.  I created an Al DiMeola station and have discovered other artists that I had never heard before (and actually liking!).   I have a Supergrass, Bob Marley, Gwar, Slayer, Eliot Smith, Iron and Wine, Jimmy Smith, John Coltrane, Cal Tjader, and other radio stations to choose from that I created.  The possibilities are quite endless.  I found a cable that connects from my laptop to my stereo and was able to feed Pandora through larger speakers, the sound quality was very good.

A cool thing about Pandora is that if you like the song you can give it a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and it will assist you in creating a more personal play list.

Yes, there are commercials every once and awhile, this is actaully something quite new and I would suspect allows Pandora to provide this music for free.  There was a time, I was told, that Pandora began limiting the amount of free songs you could listen to, but I have not experienced any limitations yet.  Commercials are just part of the World Wide Web these days whether you like it or not, but hey…it’s still FREE, so don’t complain.

Check it out and I hope our readers in Iran, Saudi, and other countries where the Web is monitored can access this great station.

Please take the time and tell us what you think!