I was really pleased to hear that one of the many new partners with Facebook Open Graph was Pandora so I went back to take a look for the first time in ages. And got this apology from Pandora. The service wasn’t originally available in the UK, then it was for a time and now it isn’t available again. Licensing issues again, which become complicated because of the difference in licensing laws from one country to another. It’s easy enough to circumvent if you’re that bothered using a US proxy service or VPN.
Personally I much prefer Last.fm for radio style listening and have been an enthusiastic scrobbler for a few years now too. Which means that Last.fm have introduced me to some amazing new bands and artists that I may not have come across any other way.
For on demand listening Spotify has a nice slick interface that also allows users to scrobble to Last.fm. We7 is a very similar service but from a web browser. It doesn’t need any downloads or even a sign up (unless you want to remember what you were listening to or create playlists) and allows users to scrobble to Last.fm now too. Both of those play ad’s occasionally between tracks for their free service and offer a paid service without ad’s. I’m sticking with the ad’s for now. At least until one of them can offer a more varied & comprehensive catalogue.
The service which provides by far the best catalogue, has to be Grooveshark. I’ve seen it’s legality questioned in the past but Grooveshark seem pretty certain that it’s all above board http://help.grooveshark.com/is-grooveshark-legal/. The free service is pretty comprehensive as mentioned but there’s a “VIP” paid service for 3$ per month or 30$ per year which also offers scrobbling to Last.fm, Grooveshark mobile (to some phones) and no ad’s. I use the noscript extension with firefox so I don’t even see the ad’s.
It’s a great time to be a music fan despite all of the licensing issues. Competition between music streaming and on demand services has to be good, despite the dreaded and draconian UK digital economy bill.
I think I can live without Pandora in the meantime too.
Let’s hope that the music industry support online music services though. Then in the long term listeners as well as artists will ultimately benefit.