Poll: Do you listen to Pandora?

Do you listen to Pandora?

  • Yes, and I even pay for plus or premium!
  • Yes, more than ever. Just the free version, though.
  • Yes, but less than I once did. Maybe I even use other options too, like Amazon Music.
  • No, I used to, but now I use something else. (Or decided I don’t like music anymore)
  • No, never have.

0 voters

Paul, how about a follow up article. I started using Pandora some time ago. I got used to it on my phone and my wife’s. I bought the premium service and built a customized thumbprint station. I have a long list of favorite stations. It automatically comes on in my car and when I walk into my den. I am not a music junky but I like having music playing.
So what do you all use that is better?
I’m open to change. I have Amazon prime. Is there music service better?

Interesting Bruce. Sounds like they got you invested in the ecosystem with your channels. I never really used Pandora other than initially playing around with it a little around 10 years ago, but I became an amazon prime member a couple years ago. You can download the free “amazon music” app and there’s a ton of music free to prime members. There are playlists of all kinds, but what I like is the on demand music. There is a ton available. Some have lyrics that scroll as the song plays. It’s great.

If anyone is wondering, I created the poll because Rick Munarriz of RB mentioned pandora in the 2018-picks RB podcast. He mentioned it as a possible acquisition / turnaround play, of course, but it is hard for me to see who would need to buy them or why. Also tough to see them figuring out how to monetize better, especially as they are losing users. I’m probably not interested as an investment. The poll is kind of confirming my disinterest, as it seems more folks have moved on from pandora than are still using it and enjoying it. I think it has a place and may limp along, but I don’t see a ton of hidden value there.



My wife is a devoted user of Pandora. She has one main channel and a half dozen specialty channels. She is particularly keen about the ability to “tune” a channel, particularly by voting down things like choral pieces in the channel she uses to work by, since they are distracting.

I thought it was an interesting idea to hear music in the vein of a certain musician (e.g., “Elmore James Radio”), but unless that’s patented, they don’t have much moat. There are plenty of other places to invest that seem more promising.

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I discovered Pandora around 2006, and its concept fascinated me. Based on research from the Music Genome Project, it distilled WHAT you liked about songs (specifically, hundreds of “genes” about the rhythms, melodies, harmonies, instruments, vocals, etc.), then played other songs that shared those characteristics. I discovered a ton of new artists that I loved and likely would have never found on my own.

However, by about 2010 or 2011, it felt like Pandora’s model moved away from playing songs based on the characteristics of the music. My wife started several stations on some 80s hits (“Don’t Stop Believin’”, etc.), and then the rest of the songs on those stations were all best-of-80s-arena-rock hits. There’s no way all those songs shared the same “musical DNA” characteristics … rather, it felt like “If you liked song A, you’ll probably like song B, because other people who like A also like B.

Also, I found that if I tweak my stations with too many liked-songs, Pandora keeps feeding me those same songs over and over, rather than giving me new songs. I don’t listen to Pandora for a playlist of songs I already know and like; I listen to discover new songs and artists. Maybe that’s what others want, but not me.

I may be in the minority, but that’s why I rarely listen to Pandora anymore.

They call me,


Also tough to see them figuring out how to monetize better, especially as they are losing users.

I’ve used and continue to use several of the music services, although I don’t see why anyone would pay a subscription fee when there are so many free options out there. I tend to use Google Music and Spotify more than any of the others.

I do listen occasionally, about the same as always. I really like the concept of creating a station of something I like, such as the Gypsy Kings or Passion Pit and then discovering new music from that. It is nice that it is always there on your laptop, tablet or phone, even at work (if they allow streaming).

The Sushi Bar in Del Ray uses it (paid version), which gives them the ability to set any mood they want without having to manage their music or get stuck with a limited service.

I think they essentially underpay, if not rip off artists, but then so do the big record companies. With Spotify and IHeartRadio and others, there is competition, so not sure how financially successful they can be. However, as cars become more and more connected and if unlimited data rates become more and more affordable, then wouldn’t that type of service replace radio?

I might take a small flier on it based on the RBI podcast.


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I’ve been a Pandora user since pretty much the beginning. Like Netflix USED to (I was also a customer long before anyone knew what they were), it does a great job recommending stuff to you based on what you’ve trained it that you like. I have a single channel now that pretty much stays within the boundaries I’ve trained it on over the year, and I LOVE it. Now and then I explore a little further, but for general listening in the car or traveling, Pandora is the sweet spot.

During the holidays, I switch to the “Mr. Heat Miser” channel, and get to hear all kinds of awesome sauce there – mostly dialed into big-band/jazz stuff from artists like Brian Setzer. When I want something heavier, there’s a Metallica channel that stretches over to Soundgarden or Alice in Chains. When I want some light listening, I have an orchestral channel that plays mostly classical. Other ecosystems would require me to go point at a specific song, album or artist that I want, while Pandora makes it easy to just “play and go” once you give it a few dozen thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

At home, I have my own 100GB+ of music (ripped from actual CDs that I bought at one point – I know that the millennials in the audience here will go “Whaaaa…?” to that) that I play from, and occasionally fire up Amazon Music to see what’s new and available.

As a customer, I really want Pandora to stick around.