A year and a half ago, I wrote an article recommending Pandora. A year and a half later, I unfortunately have to update my review on Pandora.
From the article:
Streaming radio with no audible ads and the music custom-chosen to your tastes, it’s hard to imagine many improvements that could be made to Pandora.
Pandora has added audible ads recently, which pop up in between songs and coincide with the full CSS take-over of the site in theme with the ad on the side. Also, they’ve increased the frequency in which music will stop playing and it will prompt to know if you’re still there. These annoyances motivated me to start looking for alternatives when I couldn’t even listen to the music for about 15 minutes straight without the interruption.
This is when I stumbled upon Grooveshark. Grooveshark operates much the same way as Pandora but differs in a few key areas. For example, when you initially search for a song in Pandora it will create a radio station with similar songs and after a few songs, it might eventually get around to that song you initially requested. This has something to do with Pandora’s licensing. Comparatively, in Grooveshark, when you perform a search it will pull up a list of search results with most likely the song you searched for at the top of the list. If you click on a result, it will immediately begin playing that song. With that song playing, you can click on the play button with the gear around it to generate a playlist of similar songs to keep playing through.
This brings us to another difference between the two services. The list or station that is generated by either service is night and daydifference in quality. Pandora uses the Music Genome Project to make its recommendations for songs of similar qualities like gravelly male vocals. If you don’t like a song, Pandora will shift to another song when you press the thumbs down button and adapt its profile on you. Grooveshark has a similar thumbs down option to select, but the list it generates is far lower in “similar taste” than Pandora and honestly, it does not seem to learn from when you say you dislike a song.
One final difference I’ve notived between Pandora and Grooveshark is the resource requirements. Pandora seems to be pretty light and snappy while Grooveshark will suck up bandwidth like a digital sponge. A number of times, I’ve received warning messages from Grooveshark about not enough bandwidth to play correctly on some very adequate networks.
One other cool feature to Pandora which affects very few people is that it has a mobile component for people with Sprint. The mobile app seems to be without the negative marks that I mentioned earlier. There doesn’t seem to be any ads (audible or banner) and it has played consistently without interrupting with prompts to ask if I’m still listening. I’m guessing Sprint subsidizes Pandora in some way.
Here’s a screenshot from the Pandora app on the Pre:
In conclusion, I would recommend Pandora over Grooveshark if you’re looking for a radio station you can listen to with songs that you like but if you’re hoping to listen to a specific song Grooveshark is the winner.
You can register for a free account with either service to remember your preferences, but it isn’t necessary.