I have a written a ton about streaming music over the years because it is so important to me.

In that time there have been quite a few changes in my favorite method of streaming music.  You can read all those articles for details, but let me summarize:

  1. Last.FM started out on top (my nerdy need to track what I listen to was what hooked me)
  2. Pandora took over as my favorite when they added the ability to sync with Last.FM stats
  3. iTunes looked like a world beater but quickly dropped the ball – catalog was good, streaming was spotty and tracking non-existent so Pandora stayed in the lead
  4. Spotify always had a big edge when it came to listening to a specific song or album but couldn’t compete with the ability to create radio stations and didn’t track listens
  5. Spotify added the ability to sync with Last.FM and the expanded catalog just became too powerful.  It began to outweigh Pandora’s ability to create a radio station based on a style or artist.  I jumped ship to Spotify
  6. Pandora is coming back!

Pandora Music Internet RadioHere is how I consume music streaming now.  If I am in the mood for a type of music, I select Pandora and play a station like Yacht Rock Radio, Arctic Monkeys Radio etc.  If I hear something that I know I want to hear again, I pull out SoundHound to detect the song and artist and then click the Spotify button – it is then added to my Spotify account.  Once on Spotify, I can listen to any track or album I want whenever I want,  Spotify is the only service I pay for.

Now  it appears that Pandora is going to add the ability to create on-demand playlists…  that is the only thing keeping me loyal to Spotify. If Pandora pulls it off it will once again be the clear best deal. I am not canceling my Spotify account anytime soon but you can bet I will be watching the changes over at Pandora very closely.

Talk to me.  What streaming music do you use?  How?  Why?  Do you pay?

by Chris Doelle