Monday, April 4, 2011

Pandora VS Last.Fm (Part 2)

A few months ago I wrote a post comparing Pandora and Last.Fm streaming radio. These 2 services are very much alike and I thought that Last.Fm had the edge due to the social networking aspect, the added services for smaller bands, and the concerts/shows listing.

Things have changed a bit since - mainly that Last.Fm is NOT free for mobile devices like iPads and phones. Here is a comparison of the main features of the 2 services (Winner in RED) :
(More features compared in PART 1 as well)

Mobile listening
Free for 40 hrs per month. US only.
NOT free anymore. Unlimited radio play for $3.00/month
UpgradeYes $36 annually, Pandora One$3/month, Subscriber
Pausing the music
Yes. PAUSE feature come in very handy. Believe me!
Only STOP permitted.
You can get lyrics for songs (not all)
Shows/Events/ CalendarsJust added information on local shows, but not as good and lacks organization.
Yes detailed shows and venues information, including recommendations for user
Station control Pandora has great station control:
You can move a particular song to another station; Bookmark song/artist; Create new station with song/artist you listened
Has 'recommended' stations.
Song Selection and Variety
(Here's a first five song list from music artist WILCO station)
Wanders about a bit from song/artist genre. So more 'variety':
*Outta Mind Outta Site- Wilco
*Windfall- Sonvolt
*Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
*Glad Its Over - Wilco (Heroes)
*Pelz Kolmet - Kingsbury Manx
*Subterranean Homesick Alien - Radiohead

Sticks quite close to the artist style of music. Music style is consistent and has less 'surprises':
* The Jayhawks – Blue
* Whiskeytown – Dancing with the Women at the Bar
* Ryan Adams – Sylvia Plath
* Billy Bragg & Wilco – Hoodoo Voodoo
* Uncle Tupelo – Graveyard Shift
* Loose Fur – Elegant Transaction

Multiple artist station
No. But you can combine stations.
Yes - type in different artists directly

Bottom line - Pandora is better if you prefer to 'explore' the music. Last.Fm sticks closer to a certain style of a chosen artist and might be great if that's what you want. Last.Fm concert listing and social networking tools are lot advanced that Pandora.
If you are interested in learning more about music, getting your own band recognized, are interested in live music, and want to connect with other people with like tastes, then Last.Fm is for you.

Verdict - Pandora now takes slight edge.

Contact me:
Sujan Manandhar
Technology Integration Specialist,
Foreign Language Center
Ohio State University