Sunday, May 25, 2008

13 things I would work on to make Pandora better

Pandora is a great service, it plays music I like, and I'm often finding new music that I like. It has almost completely replaced my desktop music player when I'm at my computer.

In no particular order, here are some of my suggestions on how to improve Pandora. (Disclaimer: I use Pandora, and due to my affiliation would like to see what's best for the company)

  1. Link to Wikipedia for Artist information. I found a new band I've never heard of and I like this song. Great! I go into the song menu and I click on 'Artist'. I get a a short blurb about the artist if I'm lucky, worst case I get a nearly blank page. Link to the wikipedia content, because your pages suck.

  2. Don't skip songs I like. This new song is awesome! I'm going to create a new station from it (which I prefer to creating stations from artists - you get a more focused station). Wait! You found what I wanted, but you stopped playing what I was listening to and switched to the other station, and I don't get to finish the song I liked.

  3. Dump Flash. It takes a lot of memory on my computer. I've noticed times when I have to reload the whole page, usually when changing stations. I'm not the only one that notices how buggy your implementation in Flash is. Wendy Boswell at Lifehacker writes that she sees a 23% increase in CPU usage when Pandora is in a tab in Firefox, or in it's own window.

  4. Play music videos. Link to YouTube pages, allow artists to upload their own videos, make your own integrated player. I don't really care how you do it, as long as if I want to watch a video you make it easy to find it.

  5. Give me statistics. How do I find out what kind of music I like? I want something better than just what stations I've created. I want to see what song's I thumbed up/down, what genres or musical attributes the song has. I want to see the trends in my music preferences since I started using the service.

  6. Let your users contribute. By providing basically only thumbs up/down, you are missing out on lots of data. I know you have your audiophiles who rate the songs, and they do a great job for the most part, but open up that data to your users, and allow your users to add value to your data. Tell me what the 400 characteristics for songs are, not just 30 or so. This could go well with a plugin architecture.

  7. I'm tired of this song. Give me the option to set how long you don't play a song for, instead of always 30 days.

  8. Make it easier to share radio stations. I don't use the social network built into Pandora at all, and I don't know anyone who does. I know that I can find the link to a station and send that to a friend, but I still want it to be easier, and see more people doing do. Yes, there is a link on the station to "Share This Station With a Friend" but the form only takes email addresses, which is not the easiest way for me to send things to my friends.

  9. Pandora Mobile. I would gladly pay the $36 per year fee to access if I had an AT&T or Sprint phone, but I don't, and I probably wont switch carriers until I can get a web and flash enabled phone.

  10. Song Queue. Provide a list of the next songs to be played on a station. I know this can change dynamically, but that doesn't prevent you from doing this. I should be able to remove a song that I know I don't like before it plays.

  11. Pandora can get too repetitive. The other night I was listening to a station, and heard a familiar song. I looked back and it was played only 21 songs ago, and it wasn't even a song I gave a thumbs up to. That just made me waste one of my "6 per hour, per station, or per QuickMix". [from FAQ] What does skipping a song do? How many skips do I get per hour?

  12. Don't keep playing a song I dislike. I know you have weird regulations that require you to do this, but you need to do more than suggest I switch to another station. Give me a list of stations I can switch to, or even better, this is a good time to recommend a new station to me.

  13. Sleep timer. Pandora times out and stops playing music after 3 hours. Why not let me set a timer for earlier as well, 3 hours is too long for me to listen to when I go to sleep, which is something I occasionally do.

Protip 1: What keyboard shortcuts are available? I personally didn't know there was any, and you have to click on the "tuner"(where you change the volume) before you can use them.

Protip 2: Start a classical station.

My stations are here. Send me some links to your favorite stations in the comments.

UPDATE (11:48pm 5/25/08) Another song repeats itself for me, but this time only 3 songs after it was last played, that is unacceptable.

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