I’ve been listening to DavidByrne’s radio for a while now, with the occasional PerreoRadio thrown into the mix. Usually I don’t want to switch on my computer, so I connect my Squeezebox to the SqueezeNetwork. This way, I have access to the InternetRadio stations via their network. (I’m not quite sure why I need their network in the first place, perhaps the only reason is the aggregation of all the stations for easy retrieval by the box.)
Then I’ve been looking at the PandoraRadio link on the Squeezebox — do I need to spend USD 36 per year for a good radio station? There are choices that make more sense from an ethical point of view: Supporting our local community radio LoRa, for example. Then again, there’s an alternative: LastFM. I hadn’t really understood what it was all about. I have had Audio Scrobbler (the old name for Last.FM) plugins installed for my players again and again, but I never did anything with the data except populate my NowPlaying page. I never installed their player to actually listen to my “recommended station”. If I decide to contribute to Last.FM, by the way, it will cost me EUR 36 per year. What a coincidence.
Anyway, so here’s Pandora, and there’s Last.FM, and they seem to do the same thing. Pandora suggests songs based on features from the Music Genome Project of the tracks you like, where as Last.FM uses information supplied by its users (the music you listened to, your feedback, your friends, tags, and so on) to suggest new music.
Both stream the music like a radio station in order to get a radio license, which means you can’t repeat songs, you can’t pause playback, and it’s a hassle to save it to disk.
Both can play on my stereo equipment via AirFoil (shareware, audio has noise added after a few minutes). I won’t be using that too often. I think the integration of Pandora into the Squeezebox should be good enough for me. And when I listen to music at work, there’s no need for it either. Anyway. What I’m currently listening to has this URL from hell: http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh150911724728541771 — well, in the mean time I have registered a 90 days trial account and recreated the station. It seemed like that I needed to be registered to pick “my” stations for the SqueezeNetwork.
At the moment it seems that Pandora will play for you without requiring a registration. That’s an excellent feature! When you do register, you’re getting the 90 days trial account I mentioned. You need to provide a valid US five digit zip code during registration. No problem, just pick a random number until it works. The foreign scum is using fake zip codes, of course.
So, what else is same same but different?
The Last.FM player is FreeSoftware! Cool. I think I’ll stay with Last.FM for the time being.
While I was writing this post, I heard some interesting music coming from my Squeezebox: Never heard of them: Bloc Party playing So Here We Are (Four Tet remix) from the album Silent Alarm Remixed.
Hah, is it paying off already?
I feel bad for wasting so much electricity running my laptop, my Squeezebox, and the amplifier with the speakers all the time. Somehow these still feel like appliances, where as my stereo does not. Weird.
Regarding useless subscriptions I do pay: I should cancel my Xbox Live membership. That’s USD 10 per month totally wasted.
Some time later: Surprisingly I liked the Pandora user interface better!
Too bad I found out that they did not feature many of the songs & artists I happen to enjoy. I was looking for Estrella Morente (she sings the Flamenco song in Volver (2006)), “Preciosa Puerto Rica” by Marc Anthony, “Duele” by La India and Tito Rojas. And my Aventura radio station seems to like the Gipsy Kings…