Monday, February 18, 2013

Three Tips to Enjoy Pandora More.

Like many people, we here at Android OS, Apps, and More love music.

One of the most frequently used apps around is Pandora. It is a fantastic site for music fans of all ages. Streaming many different varieties of music genres gives you an almost unlimited music library from which to enjoy. I found only a few occasions where an artist name was inputted into the channel search that Pandora did not find anything. Given the wide range of genres I personally listen, that is saying a lot.

Even with this positive going for Pandora, there are ways to improve your listening experience to get more out of this great app.

3. Remember to Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down songs. There seem to be conflicting strategies when comes to using this feature. I have seen it suggested to use Thumbs Down frequently and Thumbs Up up only occasionally. I find that using that approach might not be the best idea. The theory is if you thumbs down a lot of songs in a specific channel that you will make sure to limit unwanted noise in that specific channel. And at first it may do that. But, if you thumbs down a song that you didn't want to hear at the particular time it will not be played again on that channel even though you might like to hear it at another time. My approach is only to Thumbs Down a song that I really dislike and never expect to want to hear ever. Because Pandora is very good about matching song styles of the station you start, I find I very seldom have to use the Thumbs Down button.

Using the Thumbs Up feature is something that sometimes gets overlooked. If relaxing and enjoying the music you tend to forget about liking songs because you are too busy just, well, relaxing and enjoying the music. Remember to take the time and like a song from time to time. This helps Pandora better tailor your music experience. Which is what the point of the whole thumbs up / thumbs down feature.

2. When listening to a particular station you will see an options menu. This gives you several things to do. Consider using the "People who also like this" selection. This will take you to a page showing other Pandora members who also like listen to the particular artist or genre of the station you have selected. If you click on a member name you will be taken to their page. On the member page you can click on the stations they have created or tracks they like. You may find doing this to be a treasure trove of new songs, artists or genre you might not have known about. After all, the person's page you clicked on already has one channel or artist in common with you. There is probably a good chance that they will know about an artist you may have yet to have come across that you will like as well.

1. Make your own Channels. This may seem to be like common sense to some. But there are people that will just pick a few of the already made genre stations and not consider doing anything else.

To me this really looks over the real power of Pandora. If you are going to just pick a few genre channels and never explore more then you are pretty much treating Pandora as a radio. Pandora was created so you can tailor your listening experience to suit your specific needs.

Now, I am not saying you should ignore genre stations. I have a few set up. Sometimes I am in the mood to listen to Smooth Jazz and am not really worried about any particular artist. On those occasions I will just cue up the Smooth Jazz Station and let it run. The things about the Smooth Jazz Station is that overwhelmingly the music is saxophone related. Don't get my wrong, I love saxophone music. But the Smooth Jazz Station, in my mind, should not just be almost exclusively saxophone music.

I just found that some of the genre specific stations offer too narrow a range of selections.  By creating my own stations I can more easily rotate between them creating a better variety. Say I have a station for Candy Dulfer (she is a saxophone player). I will hear songs by her and similar artists. If I create several other channels for other artists, say Chris Botti (trumpet player), Nestor Torres (Flute Player), etc, I can change stations at my discretion as my mood changes. This is much more flexible a way of doing things. With having the one Genre, smooth jazz in this case, I am less likely hear a broader range of music that still fit in the smooth jazz genre.

The other really useful thing about creating your own channels is the ability to cue up a single artist when you are in the mood to hear a song from them. At least the first song played when cued up is from the artist you name the channel for. At least that is my experience. The 2nd song usually is from an artist with a similar style of music. Just like genre channel. A little trick to use, if you want to hear several songs in a row from one particular artist, is to make several channels that have the same artist. Say you really like Lisa Stansfield. You  can create 3 separate channels with her name. Click on the first and it will usually play a song be here first. When it goes the next song, usually by another similar artist, you can click on one of the other two channels with her name and it will cue up another song by her. You can do it again with a third channel with the same name. You might even able to go back to the first channel and click it again and repeat. Not sure though as I haven't tried beyond 3 channels of the same name.

Bonus Tip: Some people may not be aware but, a subscription to Pandora is only $3.99 a month or 1 year for $36 US. If you really hate commercials that seems like a pretty small price to pay. Plus, if you have a truly unlimited phone data plan you can listen to it while driving (assuming you have bluetooth functionality in your car). If you are not really into talk radio and only use your Satellite Radio provider for music you could probably ditch them in favor of Pandora.

Below is the link for the Pandora app if you have not already downloaded it onto your mobile device.

I hope you enjoy the app. Please take the time to share via Google+, Twitter, and/or Facebook. The option to do so it at the top left of the blog. And, if you are a Google+ member, please take the time to add  Android OS, Apps, and More to your circles so you don't miss any future posts from of us. Feel Free to leave a comment here on the blog as well.

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