I have become a huge fan of Pandora, and, I must say, I believe it has changed my music-listening habits for good. For those of you who don’t know, Pandora is part of the Music Genome Project — basically, it’s a website (and Mac widget and iPhone app) into which you can type and artist or song and you will then be played a string of songs that share the musical genes with your entry. The more songs I rate with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, the better Pandora gets to know me and my preferences.
The commercial brilliance of Pandora is that I’m is constantly introduced to songs I’ve not heard before, and with one click I can purchase any song on iTunes or Amazon.
The struggle for Pandora is music royalties. Record labels doubled the royalty rates they were charging Internet radio stations in 2007, requiring Internet radio stations to pay double what satellite radio stations pay. Pandora, and many other Internet music services and stations, almost collapsed. Congress called a time-out to study the issue.
It will really be a shame if Congress and the major record labels cannot adapt to the changing way that consumers enjoy music. Changes are, of course, inevitable. The only question is how these changes take place and who ends up as king-of-the-hill.
I’m just filling out my Pandora profile, but it does give a glimpse into what I’m listening to.