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Author Topic: Comparison of online music services Pandora, Last.fm, and Yahoo Music  (Read 11066 times)
mouser
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« on: October 22, 2006, 11:05:48 AM »

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Finding free music on the internet is a difficult process. Between the commercials, quality, selection, and features, it may seem that nothing will suit your needs. This article will review three of the most popular internet music providers: Pandora, Last.fm, and Yahoo! Music.
...
While Yahoo! ranked the highest in overall features, the commercials and song limit were enough to make me switch to another music provider. Pandora has become the provider I use most for my internet radio. Last.fm has great features on their site and a community building around it, but that has not been a significant enough draw to pull me away from Pandora.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 08:51:10 AM by mouser » Logged
JavaJones
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2006, 03:23:07 PM »

Just goes to show that a check-list of features doesn't tell the whole story by far. cheesy

The comments about Pandora are interesting though. I'm fairly sure you *can* use multiple artists/songs to refine a station. I also find it suggests music extremely well, for the most part. I haven't tested the other services much, but Pandora at least earns high marks from me for music suggestion and general refinement. Especially after training, which makes a "length of evaluation" notice in reviews like this an important thing.

It does sound like Yahoo's more extensive ratings - particularly in terms of rating whole artists or albums (and being able to ban whole artists/albums) - are a good enhancement. I think a 100 point rating system is pretty silly though, and I highly doubt Yahoo actually does much with that. It probably just averages it to the 4 point system and works off that. So I would guess the 100 point ratings would only be useful to the listener, if at all, and thus probably a waste of time.

- Oshyan
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2006, 04:45:24 PM »

hey, what's Pandroa?   huh
 tellme
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app103
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2006, 11:06:52 PM »

You can add an umlimited number of songs and artists to a station to create something a whole lot more customized to your tastes in Pandora. I have done it with this very eclectic station:
http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh155954033507829735

Just click the Guide Us button and select the last option on the list.



And Open Pandora can be used with Last.FM...I am doing it right now....and not having to run the Last.FM software to do it...just Open Pandora.  Wink
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allen
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2006, 08:43:02 AM »

Just click the Guide Us button and select the last option on the list.
And Open Pandora can be used with Last.FM...I am doing it right now....and not having to run the Last.FM software to do it...just Open Pandora.  Wink

Ditto!  Never much cared for last.fm on its own -- but paired with Pandora: Great combo.
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XKnight
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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2006, 07:29:01 PM »

I┬┤ve used pandora for some time now but after reading this article I went to yahoo to try it out!
I will just summarize my short experience with yahoo.

To start you have to be registered in yahoo.com well but that is just like pandora.
After this I was bombed with publicity comming from everywhere, not a good start..
Then I tried to make a customized station and it took me to a webpage with hundreds of musical styles and I had to choose some. Well but I didn┬┤t. I just choose one of my favourite artists "The killers" and I was ready to start hearing my music!
I use opera 9.02 and I tried to open the yahoo browser, well you probably know what happened next... "Browser not supported"...
I was becoming I a little bit bothered with yahoo but I just wanted to give it a chance and I took my IE from the shelve and opened yahoo.com
This time the browser was supported and the player appeared in a pop-up window. I was happy! 3seconds later I was absolutely horrified with a 30second commercial talking about an insurance company! OMG I had never heard such an awful and annoying commercial in a radio ever!!!
After those 30secs of nightmare I finally started to listen to my customized radio!
You are now probably thinking that after all this problems I started listening to my "the killers" similar radio!
But no!!!!!!
The first music was an unknown hip-hop singer, the second was an hard-rock singer mixed with hip-hop. My mouse just flew to the pause button...
You are now expecting that the music paused...
But no!!!!!
I had to wait until the music was in the 30secs mark...
Well I closed the window...

As you can see my experience with yahoo music was pretty bad but I have to admit that the rating system is really good and pandora should improve theirs!

Ups... long post! Hope to help some ppl that still don┬┤t use one of these music services!

PS: The name of this topic is a little bit wrong... lol
« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 07:30:49 PM by XKnight » Logged
allen
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2006, 10:16:24 PM »

As you can see my experience with yahoo music was pretty bad but I have to admit that the rating system is really good and pandora should improve theirs!

I'd be glad to hear more discussion on that simple fact.  Personally, I've always felt the simple yea/nay/neutral approach to Pandora was a strength.  Given the quality of music it gives me, the simple system really seems to work -- and without giving me the headache of figuring out how to rate things.

With Pandora, it's simple -- if it's exceptional, give it a thumb up.  If I hate it, thumb down.  If it's nothing special, but suitable to the station I do nothing.  In my experience with other (non music) services where ratings are involved -- say a 5 point scale -- I find I only use 2 or 3 different points on it anyway.  I'm typically afraid to use 5 often, saving that for the best of the best -- defaulting most things that are really good to 3 or 4 while handing out 1 or 0 to what I don't like.  The middle ground isn't really used.

When you're rating one item at a time, it seems to me the middle votes are fairly useless.  Obviously they won't be weighted much, and mediocrity doesn't deserve much for points anyway . . . but all this speil just goes to say this: Simple is better, saves me wasting all this smiley

StumbleUpon.com started out with 3 different rating levels -- but later reduced it to 2, opting for simplicity.  More concise, more clear value system.

I'm unfamiliar with the Yahoo rating system, though -- would be curious to hear about it.  Is it "better" just because it's more complicated or does it boast some clever features?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2006, 11:12:49 PM »

Agreed Allen - I think people naturally just think "more = better". But simplicity is also often a virtue. If Pandora and Yahoo's rating systems can actually be compared for efficacy *separate* from their recommendation engines, then there might be a discussion here. But really it's all a package and wanting to rate in a more complex way is somewhat arbitrary. The real question is does it play the music you like based on the ratings you give? If yes then it doesn't matter whether you have a 2 point system or a 100 point system.

- Oshyan
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2006, 06:42:18 AM »

While rating stuff on pandora, i often use this system:
I don't want to hear it again, i mark it as "don't like it".
If i would definitelly like to hear it again, i mark it as "like it".
If i don't feel it's a music that defines the style of the radio i'm making, i don't rate it.

I think it's a simple yet effective system. It also allows you to have hotkeys that work through openpandora which make sense (having 5 hotkeys would be stupid).

On another matter, having sound commercials makes sense, but i consider it most anoying!
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allen
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2006, 07:32:23 AM »

As a paid Pandora user, I would expect to be exempt from commercials if they ever went that route.  Of course, I could also argue that as a paid subscriber to television programming I expect to be exempt from commercials. We all know that to not be true smiley

What really bothers me is when there are services with varrying degrees of ads and intrusions and no option to opt out by means of cash payment.  I respect their right make money off of their products--and advertising is certainly an acceptable way to do it.  But nine times out of ten I'd rather pay out of pocket than with my time/screenspace.
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superticker
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2006, 11:26:08 AM »

What really bothers me is when there are services with varying degrees of ads and intrusions and no option to opt out by means of cash payment.

I wouldn't mind ads if I could pick their focus to fit my purchasing interests.
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XKnight
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2006, 04:40:15 PM »



I'd be glad to hear more discussion on that simple fact.  Personally, I've always felt the simple yea/nay/neutral approach to Pandora was a strength.  Given the quality of music it gives me, the simple system really seems to work -- and without giving me the headache of figuring out how to rate things.

I'm unfamiliar with the Yahoo rating system, though -- would be curious to hear about it.  Is it "better" just because it's more complicated or does it boast some clever features?

Well I can agree with you that is easier to rate with only good and bad but I have two objections to this kind of rating. The first and most important is that when you give a "Bad" rating to a music you are giving a negative point not only to the music but also to the artist. I think you probably agree that there are some bad musics made from great artist(all of us have our bad moments Wink ) so I would suggest that you could have two types of rating one for the artist/type of music and another for the song.
The second objection to pandora┬┤s rating is more like a personal choice because I would prefere a 3 button rating scale like this:
-Bad
-Good
-Really Good

This way I think it would be easier to the software to know better the type of music you want to hear.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2006, 09:31:45 PM »

Does a thumbs down really rate the artist as well as the song? If so there should definitely be separate ratings.

I agree a "really good" for occasional use could be cool. It's nice to be able to express your enthusiasm for stuff you *really* like. But I'm not sure it could easily be taken fairly into account for overall music selection. Stand-out artists or songs tend to be kind of unique, harder to pigeonhole or compare to. If the system rated similar songs/artists to the one you selected very highly, it might really skew your station - making it more occasional great highs, but more lows. Just a thought.

- Oshyan
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2006, 03:50:35 AM »

I think it only rates songs itself, for their musical characterstics. At least, that's how i've been assuming it is when i rate stuff Wink
But if it rates both the author and the music, i agree with xknight, that problem should be solved!
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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2008, 03:27:15 PM »

The thing with Pandora is that it's unavailable to listeners from outside of the US due to licensing constraints it seems.

On that note, big thumbs up to Last FM. I discoverd a lot of great music and artists just by listening to the same songs I would in my car anyways. Bought a few CD's because of it so I think it's awesome for new artists as well. Gives them another avenue to be heard.
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2008, 12:25:51 AM »

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┬ź Reply #13 on: 06:50:35 AM, 26 October, 2006 ┬╗

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┬ź Reply #14 on: 07:27:15 PM, 19 December, 2008 ┬╗

Wow!

Talk about a Necromancer post!  cheesy
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