I think it was my mom who told me about it.
My cousin Casandra told her about it.
And I have no idea who told her.
Regardless, I'm telling you, if you don't already know.
It is awesome.
Free Internet radio where you get to pick the artists and/or the genres.
Go to http://www.pandora.com/ and sign up. It's free, and they don't flood your inbox with any spam.
There are preset stations, but I'm not all about that.
I like to create my own.
If, for instance, you're a huge Miley Cyrus fan (which I'm not), you can create a Miley Cyrus station. They will play Miley songs and songs from similar artists.
But let's say that you like Miley, but really only her country-sounding stuff. So you can create a Miley Cyrus/Carrie Underwood station to get more of that sound.
Get the picture? You can even rename them to your liking.
It is true, however, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. There are some drawbacks.
Namely these, that I found on the FAQ page of Pandora:
Q: Can I hear a specific song right away? Can I create a playlist of certain songs or artists? Can I rewind or replay a song?
Our music licenses do not allow us to play a specific song immediately, or "on demand."
We cannot play more than four songs by an artist in a three-hour period, and each artist may play even less often than that. Also, our music licenses do not permit limiting a Pandora station to only certain songs or artists: we must include other similar songs and artists on each Pandora station.
Finally, you cannot rewind, or immediately replay, any song played by Pandora.
On the plus side, these very restrictions have helped shape what we believe to be one of the finest music discovery and exploration services in existence.
Q: Can I "skip" as many songs as I like?
Due to the terms of our music licenses, we must constrain the number of "skips" -- the number of times you move on to a new song in any of these ways:
* giving a song "Thumbs Down,"
* using the "skip" button, or
* choosing "I'm tired of this song" from the menu between the "Thumbs."
There are two types of skip limits:
* All Pandora listeners are limited to 6 skips per hour, per station.
* Listeners to the free Pandora service are limited to 12 total skips per day, across all stations.
To conserve skips, you may give a song "Thumbs Down" or select "I'm tired of this song" after it has finished playing. You only use up a skip if you use these features on a song that is still currently playing.
Q: Is Pandora free?
Registering for Pandora will provide you with a free, advertising-supported Pandora account. You are never required to pay anything to use Pandora.
However, free Pandora accounts will only play 40 hours of music for free per month, then the music will stop. Once that happens, you will have the option to pay 99 cents for unlimited listening hours for the rest of that month, or else to come back the following month for another free 40 hours. Each month where you hit this limit, you'll have the same choice. We never bill you after the fact, nor do we charge you automatically, or anything sneaky like that. If you're giving us money, you'll know each time-- each payment will be up-front and initiated on your end via credit card.
There are more FAQ here: http://blog.pandora.com/faq/
Anyway, here are my stations. I'm not embarrassed.
Harry Connick, Jr.--This one speaks for itself. I don't need anyone else influencing my songs on this station.
Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston/Boyz II Men--There is an option to choose Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston separately, but I prefer the option where they are already linked together. That way, I'm more likely to get songs from each of these power ballad singers that sound similar. (Basically Mariah Carey until about 1996...)
Billy Joel/Paul McCartney--Strange combo? Perhaps. But it works.
Debbie Gibson/New Kids on the Block--Sigh...what can I say? I love this stuff.
Lisa Loeb/Roxette/The Cranberries--For when I'm feeling a little edgy.
Bette Midler/Linda Ronstadt & The Nelson Riddle Orchestra--The only real Ronstadt I like...big band, standards, kind of swooning music. I always knew I was falling for a guy when I would start listening to a lot of this. I called it "being in a Linda Ronstadt mood."
Bryan White/Collin Raye/John Michael Montgomery-For a little late 90s country love songs. I think I know all the words to all their songs. :)
Richard Marx--I make no excuse for this one. My brother Michael and I love Richard Marx. Our spouses both hate him, and tease us relentlessly. We don't care. We know. You've got to... hold on to the nights...hold on to the memories...
Casting Crowns/Chris Rice/Phillips, Craig, & Dean/Rita Springer/Selah--Pretty much my favorite Christian artists all lumped in together.
*NSYNC/Backstreet Boys/Britney Spears--Because some of us actually admit that we enjoy this music. ;)
Dionne Warwick/Lionel Richie/Stevie Wonder--Oh, yeah, baby. Love me some of this.
Jason Mraz/Maroon 5/Matchbox 20--This is good stuff, too.
Modern Country (I named it)--Artists include: Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley (my personal favorite), Craig Morgan, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts (also a top choice), Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw (my all-time favorite from way back when until now).
Pop Holiday (again, named by me)--Now, for holiday songs, you have to select the option where the artist has the word "holiday" (in parentheses) behind his/her name. My artists for this category are: *NYSNC (Holiday), Mariah Carey (Holiday), Faith Hill (Holiday), Britney Spears (Holiday).
Traditional Holiday (named by me)--Artists include: Andy Williams (Holiday), Bette Midler (Holiday), Harry Connick, Jr. (Holiday), Carpenters (Holiday), Nat King Cole (Holiday)
And there you have it, folks!
Do yourself a favor and go create some Pandora stations!
**As I was listening to my Richard Marx station tonight, I was struck by the awesomeness of the songs that were playing. I thought I would share a sample playlist. (Though Pandora says that no two stations will play the same songs, even if they are built the same, which is kind of cool.)
Sadly, five songs into the station, no Richard Marx song has played yet. But since they can only play four songs by the same artist in a three-hour period, it's okay to space it out. (Plus, Matthew is in here with me, and he's glad that the mullet man has not yet appeared in the playlist.)
But here are the songs we have enjoyed so far:
"Throwing It All Away" by Genesis
"The Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley
"I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love" by Chicago (Matthew and I were rocking OUT to this one!)
"These Dreams" by Heart
"Hands to Heaven" by Breathe (HOW MUCH DO I LOVE THIS SONG? It totally reminds me of a White Water trip on a bus in the 7th grade with the Boy Scouts....don't ask....LOL)
As you can see, there is much variety yet not. I love it.