Through the years, before I discovered Pandora music radio, I used a wide variety of other radio streaming websites. I tried Radio365, which I thought was awesome, but it seemed difficult to navigate to find the exact sort of music that I wanted. Shoutcast is another good one that Jason wrote about here at MUO, but again while it’s a little easier to find music that you like with Shoutcast, it isn’t a simple matter to set up a single stream that just constantly plays the kind of music that you know you’ll always like.
If you’ve never tried Pandora Radio, I highly recommend it. Pandora is just an amazing concept when it comes to streaming music. A Pandora “station” isn’t so much a radio station as it is a playlist consisting of a style or “genre” of music. The only drawback is that Pandora is currently only available in the United States.
Back in 2006, Aibek showed you how you could set up Pandora as a personal DJ system. In the next few years, Pandora expanded with additional features. Grant detailed the Pandora iPhone integration in 2009. I’d like to introduce you to 5 other awesome features of Pandora Radio.
5 Useful Features Of Pandora Music Radio
Play Music by Genre
The real beauty of a Pandora “station” is that it isn’t like a typical radio stations as you know them, where a DJ comes up with what songs to play. On Pandora, you get to create the sort of music you like. If you want to, you can build highly customized stations without much effort at all. Forget sitting there for hours trying to find individual songs that you like.
Don’t get me wrong, if listening to a playlist someone else built is your cup of tea, then you can do that too. In fact, many people use the Genre section of Pandora Radio as a starting point for that very reason.
Once you’ve chosen a genre, or simply typed in a song or artist that you like when you first visit Pandora, you can gradually customize that station closer to your liking by giving each song a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.”
Pandora keeps a huge database of interconnected music that is ranked in terms of “like” groups of songs. If you dislike a certain type of song, Pandora intelligently customizes all future songs within that station according to your selections.
By taking this approach, you can build stations that always play songs that you like without spending any time pouring through hundreds of titles and trying to remember whether or not you liked a particular song.
Build A Radio Station For Yourself Or A Friend
You could also take a more active approach and build your own radio station from scratch. When you click on the dropdown box for any of your existing (or new) stations, you can choose to “Add variety to this station.”
Pandora asks you for a song or artist that you like. It also does this when you click to create a brand new channel from scratch. This is always the starting point for Pandora. The moment you choose just one song, Pandora knows, based on past user likes and dislikes, a very long list of other songs and artists that you’ll most likely enjoy.
The next step is just going through Pandora’s prebuilt list of music and customizing it by liking or disliking individual songs. You can also create a customized station that you know your friend will love and then send it to them – just click on the “Make a station for a friend” gift icon at the top of the player window.
The “Make a station” feature really proves to your friends that you know them better than anyone else – because you know what music they love.
There are quite a few other little hidden features throughout Pandora that I feel really enhances the entire music-listening experience. One of those is that whenever a song starts playing, at the bottom of the screen you’ll see a pop-up box with the first paragraph of lyrics.
Just click on the “full lyrics” link and you have access to the lyrics for the entire song. Forget surfing the web for lyrics – you’ve got them all if you listen to your music at Pandora!
Another feature that I tend to use a lot is Pandora’s integration with social networks. You can share the music you’re listening to on Twitter or Facebook. But don’t just let people know the song, add a comment to your post with Pandora’s comment box.
Find Other Listeners
If you’re really into music and you like talking with other people about music and artists, Pandora is actively building a user community filled with people like you that have a love for music. To find people that like the same artists or music, under the “Share” tab click on “Find Other Listeners.”
All you have to do is type in a group that you like, or a song you love, and you’ll see a list of other Pandora users that like the same thing. Click the name to view the profile.
On the profile page, you can check out what other songs that user recently listened to, or what songs they’ve bookmarked. You can even send them a message.
If you just want to open up a browser window and listen to music that you know you’ll like, with the least amount of effort, Pandora’s the site for you. If you require a few more features that let you customize your music stream or interact with other people that love the same music you do – Pandora’s got you covered there too.
Do you use Pandora music radio? What features do you like, and which don’t you like? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below.