I absolutely love Pandora. My housemates keep making fun of me for not having known about it before, and because I am slightly obsessed with it. My main problem with Pandora-they played Hanson (and their bio called them “a revamped Jackson 5”) and New Kids on the Block. It is kind of my fault, since I did add the Teen Pop shared station, but still….
It was very easy to set up and use. It asks you to start with a band or song and walks you through what to do and how the site is best used. Little pop-ups appear to remind you of things or to teach you new things, like how you can put a song on ‘sleep’ for a month. I at first was disappointed that you couldn’t enter a genre for a station, but playing around with the section at the bottom of the page I realized they have shared stations for genre. The cool thing is that they will still customize what they play on the shared sites to your preferences and they can give you a reason for why they played that particular song. You can also still rate them with the thumbs up or down.
I had a lot of fun reading about why they played the songs they did for me. It is interesting to see what they have decided that you liked based on what you have shown preference for. Apparently I was doing it wrong at first in my enthusiasm, because I was saying I liked pretty much everything. I later got a little pop-up hint saying you should only say that when you like “almost every aspect” of the song and think it really fits with the station. I like a lot of different stuff though, and apparently I am very easy to please.
While you are listening to a song you can read a bio of the band, look at a list of some of the attributes of the song that the Music Genome Project identified and get a list of similar artists. It also shows you some people that are listening to the same thing and the other things that they listen to. There is a social networking aspect of the site, where you can look for people based on either location or their music. Stations can be shared with other users that you meet on the site. You can also bookmark songs or artists. Your bookmarks appear in your profile, and there are links you can click to buy it on iTunes or get the album on Amazon.
Overall, Pandora is pretty user-friendly. You can just jump right in and start doing things, and there is a lot of support built into the site to guide you about what to do next. The menus are very accessible and easy to use and figure out. I wish I had known about it earlier.