Pandora Radio For iOS Reviewed: Yet to Have It's Finest Hour
Although it’s not as FM as it used to be, radio is now as popular as it’s never been. It’s not about availability: iTunes and other services have made music closest than ever. But still we need someone to select the music for us. DJ’s and editors are in high demand even today when everyone can make a DJ without those titanic efforts of earlier times.
So Freddie was right, radio never left old friends and it was yet to have its finest hour. Today we prefer to listen to it online. But still we need good sound quality, style integrity and variety at the same time. And if you need pure music without DJ talking over it, you’re in the right place. The music is not the worst of all vices. But it certainly was the fastest to spread out from Pandora’s Box. So the name of the service is just right. And it’s so easy and sweet to pronounce!
Pandora’s Music Box
So there’s still a great lot of music. As Pandora founders say, the music has been selected manually by professional editors. So if you type “funk” in the field, you’re sure to hear classic funky tracks. By typing “Christmas” you get the Christmas songs collection. If you enter the name of your favorite artist you get the selection of the songs by this artist as well as remix and cover versions.
And the difference between FM broadcasting and Internet streaming is first of all in its interactivity. You can rate current track with thumbs up (or down) button, pause the playback, start it again or switch to the next track. Unfortunately, you can’t repeat the previous track.
While the track is playing you can follow its lyrics displaying in the main window, read artist’s bio and info. And if you like it you can purchase it on iTunes or Amazon (as MP3 or on CD). That seems to be one of the main ways Pandora gets its incomes. The service used to be paid but since August 2013 it’s free. The way it’s monetized through is ads, but it deserves praise for not inserting ads into music.
The app and the service
When speaking of Pandora we should mention that it’s a client for a service so it’s hard to tell one from the other. As the app doesn’t store audio in its cash it’s quite useless without an Internet connection. You can enjoy a tolerable sound via 3G connection though Wi-Fi or 4G would be far better.
The app is available both for iPhone and iPad. Yes, it looks a bit different on these devices. The screen space is used in the most rational way.
Just enter the search word. It can be the name of the artist or the band you’d like to listen to, the song name, album or genre. After processing your request Pandora generates your playlist you can launch immediately. The search also displays stations with similar names already created by other user and available in public access.
If you have several stations selected you just need to tap on the name to switch between them. The pause is set automatically set when you switch to another station. So after returning you start where you have stopped last time.
The extra functions include sharing your current track on Facebook, sharing your station by email, private message or status in different social services. So if you’re so excited by a song that you can share it with your friends, you’re just one tap away from it.
R.A.D.I.O. (Restricted Access, Don’t Insist On)
Oh, how many great services we have seen! And many of them are country-restricted due to legal or technical issues, and it's exactly what happened to Pandora. Officially it only works in USA, Australia and New Zealand. If you try to install it from other countries your AppStore app just won’t display it in the store.
But of course, it’s not that hard to jump over these limitations. You’ll have to use VPN on your iPhone or iPad and change your country in your profile to USA (you can find the instructions yourself). Then you’ll be able to install Pandora app from AppStore and stream music via the app. So don’t bother the service while you can just pretend to be American. Of course getting the app to work requires some extra movement.
There’s another limitation that can’t be overcome. As the geography is limited to American and some Pacific countries, so is the content. You can’t find African, Russian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and other local stars on Pandora, except for international smash hits from artists like PSY or Die Antwoord. Most of content is mainstream as it’s seen by global music market. Of course, if you’re interested in some local musical tendencies you should search for another streaming service.
But you get access to unlimited streaming music that’s become completely free after Apple launched its music streaming radio. So if you like music and if you want to control what’s on your radio, Pandora is a must have app for you.