In case you don't know who or what Pandora is, it's a music Web site that learns about your taste as you tag or rate the songs it plays, so after a while it ends up playing mostly what you like.
Pandora's algorithm is decent but far from perfect and sometimes it tries to please too much by sticking to a tight list of songs, so there are the occasional repeats. But that's fine, since the best thing about Pandora is that it's free.
But we always knew the good times wouldn't last. Last year there were a couple of emails indicating that they were haggling with the music industry on licensing issues, basically over money.
Tonight came the email outlining the results of their negotiations. It was what I had expected. Users now get 40 free hours of listening every month. If they want more, they are charged $0.99 for the remainder of each month. Or they can pay $36/year for unlimited listening.
I guess for now I'll take the 40 hours and maybe go without for the remainder of every month. The $0.99 isn't such a bad deal either, but obviously it won't last either. My feeling is that after a couple of years Pandora will phase that out and just go to a flat-fee subscription service.
No, I don't like this at all, but I try to see it from the other side's perspective. The music industry is evil, but someone must pay all the people that make their living off music, from the artists down to the janitors who shine the studio floors. Pandora deserves to make some money too, as the radio stations do. But their advertising model just doesn't command the same earnings as radio. I guess radio stations have a more targeted and captive audience.
So for now the burden of keeping Pandora alive has fallen on the listeners' shoulders. I sure hope they make it through and don't go belly up. I've grown rather accustomed to listening to it while at work.