Pandora for us oldies

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Personal Internet radio isn’t just for the young folk.

Personal Internet radio services seem great for young people with their rock and roll music so it’s been a pleasant surprise to discover it works for all generations.

The idea is simple, you choose an artist or genre and the service streams to you appropriate music with variations. As each song plays you can give it a thumbs up (the system remembers that and plays more songs like it) or thumbs down (the song fades out and the system plays less songs like it in future).

It’s appealing for those of us with music collections that we’re finding a bit stale and boring. These services give us what’s familiar but with enough variation to make it interesting.

The two main players in this area are Spotify and Pandora . Both are promoted as radio for mobile devices but they are more than that.

For starters, while you can stream music to mobile devices like iPhone, iPad and Android phones/tablets you can also play from any web browser or special programs for PC or Mac.

We found the streaming worked very well with never a break in play even on a mobile device.

The music selection is excellent and much more varied than we expected.

Noel Coward and beyond

We started by entering ‘Noel Coward’ and the first song was a standard “Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington” but from there it’s been a pleasant journey into artists and songs we’ve never heard before. Julie London, Sophie Tucker, Kurt Weill among others mixed in with Noel Coward songs both common and rare. Also cover versions of Noel Coward’s song which only prove that the best versions of Noel’s songs were sung by the great man himself.

In other words, a good mix of the expected and unexpected. The mix gets better as you click the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons.


Spotify and Pandora have free services that are enough for most people.

To skip the occasional ads, get long playback and better audio quality costs US$36 a year on Pandora. Spotify has $6.99 or $11.99 per month options. We chose Pandora because it’s considerably cheaper than Spotify.

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