We have covered Pandora since its launch — the technology behind the company’s ability to ferret out only music that you will like is second to none. That’s our opinion, anyway, based on years of heavy usage. It’s uncanny how Pandora can take what it knows about songs you like and find many, many songs that are similar enough to always stream music you want to hear. It is the single best way I find new music and artists.
The company has been in financial trouble for some time, with the music industry hammering it with royalties for dishing out tunes for us. Pandora instituted a voluntary donation of $36 per year awhile back to try to stay afloat. The free accounts still work — there are just some ads to tolerate. Recently, it launched the new Pandora One service, which basically is the same paid service with some other bells and whistles.
The same $36 per year now gets you a sweet Air-based desktop app (Mac and Windows) that is very similar to the iPhone app released earlier. It is now easier than ever to listen to Pandora with this app; plus, the ads are gone. Paid users also get a better quality stream. I ponied up my fee this morning, and I have been enjoying the new app all day. I hope my contribution can keep Pandora in business for a long time. I would miss it terribly if it went away.