July 14 2011
I will be frank, I'm not a fan of Pandora. It is not becuase I work in "old school" radio. Pandora bills itself as music discovery, and to be honest I have never discover anything I liked. Most of my music discovery is from fellow DJs, blogs, friends, etc. And as a designer, I never like Pandora's interface. Recently, Pandora did update their interface, which is a major improvement.
Now Pandora, is getting some competition from sites like Turntable.fm and now Spotify, which officially launched in the US today. Both of these sites are more social than Pandora. Unlike Pandora's algortithm's to tell what songs I might like, these sites have an human element where you can share, and discover music with friends, and total strangers.
One big advantage of Spotify is the offline listening. This means you have the ability to listen to music without a connection. However, you need a premium subscription, which is $9.99 (less than Satellite radio). You also the ablity to create your own playlists or subscribe to other folks playlists. For example, I can create an 88Nine or a Rhythm Lab playlist and anyone can subscribe to it. You can't do that in Pandora. There is even a site called ShareMyPlaylists.com, which hosts 1,000s of playlists, which you can subscribe to or even add your own. Now that is music discovery! Don't forget about Spotify's mobile features. You can access Spotify on both iPhone and Android phones. You can wirelessly sync all your playlists on your phone. You also have offline access (Premium subscription required).
I really think Pandora has some serious competition, and they should have waited on that IPO.
I coud go on about the features of Spotify, but why don't you go sign up. Plus Chevorlet and Mashable are giving away free 6-month subscription to the Spotify Premium. When you get started, just check out this beginner's guide. Be on the look in the future for 88Nine Spotify playlists.