Tips & Tricks for Using Pandora Radio

pandora

We didn’t discover Pandora Radio until last year, but it quickly became a household favorite around here! Both Sean and I love music, and there’s usually always something playing. Until that point, we’d been using XM, both in our car and at home through DirecTV. We also have a fairly extensive collection of CDs, which is good when you’re looking for something in particular but not so good for productivity if you need to change the CD every 45 minutes throughout the day.

Anyway, as we were building my office upstairs, I realized that I needed some way to play my own music up there, so I took another look at Last.fm, Pandora and other internet radio options.

Pandora has a simple and easy to use interface, so I decided to give it a try, and we’ve been hooked ever since.

First, let’s look at the benefits:

  • With Pandora, you create customized stations based on your favorite song or artist. Don’t like a song that’s being played on your station? Just skip it or give it a thumbs down if you don’t want it to play anymore. In this way, it actually learns what you like and plays music based on your exact tastes.
  • Access your account from anywhere. We are able to play our custom stations from our computers, Palm Pre Plus, iPad and Roku player. We can even play different stations at the same time.
  • With a cassette tape adapter, we’re able to listen to it in the car.
  • Unlike radio, there are very, very few audio ads (maybe one every 30 minutes?) on the FREE version. And you also get to choose the music that plays!

Pandora also allows you to share music with friends, bookmark songs you like and get recommendations for new artists.

So how do you use Pandora? Well, it’s pretty straightforward and simple, which is one of the things I like best!

Create a New Account

Quickly register for free Pandora account here, by answering just a few questions. Note that you’re asked for your age and gender so that advertisements (which allow Pandora to offer free accounts) can be more targeted. You’re also asked for your zip code because you can only legally use Pandora within the United States due to licensing restrictions. You can uncheck the box if you don’t want email recommendations and tips, but you must check the second box agreeing to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Walk through a couple more customization questions and you’re set!

Create a New Station

Next, you should create your first station! To do this, choose an artist, song or composer that really reflects your musical tastes. If Pandora doesn’t automatically prompt you to enter this information, or if you’re ready to add another station, click on Create a New Station in the upper lefthand corner and type the name there. Pandora will then create a station for you based on the artist, song or composer, with surprising accuracy.

Remove a Song from Your Station

If a song that you don’t like plays on your station, you can simply thumb it down to remove it from the rotation, so your station gets better and better over time. Or, if you’re simply tired of a song but you don’t want to remove it permanently, you can click Menu at the bottom of the track and then I’m tired of this song, and Pandora will shelve it for a while to give you a break!

Upgrade to PandoraOne

Pandora does have a 40-hour per month limit. However, they also offer PandoraOne, a paid subscription that costs $36 per year (just $3 per month) and offers unlimited listening, plus a desktop application, more skips, higher quality audio and more. For us, the cost is easily justifiable since we listen to music pretty much all day every day, often in two places at once!

To be honest, I don’t use the social media features of Pandora — such as sharing stations, friending other users, etc. — very often. But as an internet radio, it works for us!

Do you use Pandora? What is your favorite station?