I could have known something bad was coming when Tim Westergren – Founder of Pandora – sent out an email to all Pandora users asking to ‘help save Pandora & internet radio’. It took only 2-3 more weeks before it was finished indeed, well at least for all of us not living in the US. If I try to visit Pandora now, this is what I get:
“Dear Pandora Visitor,
We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for most listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.
We believe that you are in Belgium (your IP address appears to be xx.xxx.xxx.xx). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at email@example.com“
That is really some bad news as I enjoyed Pandora very much. I actually met Tom Conrad – CTO of Pandora – very briefly in Vegas at MIX07 and I told him how many people enjoyed Pandora in Europe. That was 2 days before they shut it down so I feel like he should have told me about it then already.
Time to pick up on Last.fm again I guess, I tried to rememeber my account yesterday without much luck so I think I’ll have to set up a new one :( Good news is that Last.fm has just launched video as well, so it’s a good time to look into the service again anyway. For a moment I thought I would try Sonific.com as well since there’s a widget of Sonific for WordPress.com but it couldn’t find any of the first 3 artists I entered so I already gave up on that.
Yeah… I’m gonna miss Pandora.
Gotta tell you, it absolutely KILLED me not to be able to talk about the issues we are dealing with in the licensing domain outside the US the night we met. Frankly, I was hoping against hope that somehow at the last minute it would have turned out differently. Really say day for Pandora… this is the last thing we wanted to have to do.
Hey Tom – I think I sort of knew that would have been the issue, so I can’t blame you for not telling me. It was just no fun to share the excitement of being an international user with Pandora to hear 2 days later that I can’t access it anymore. But I can understand that to be no fun for you either.
I hope you go international again sometime soon, good luck.
Tom, this is Gerd Leonhard, CEO of Sonific. I totally agree with you on Pandora – a real bummer. I am hit hard as well, since I am in Switzerland, most of the time. Sonific’s SongSpots music widget is not meant to provide anything like Pandora – it’s much more about adding a musical context to your site, your blog post, your profile page, and we are not compulsory licensed like Pandora – we need to get every single track licensed individually; this is the reason that the webcasting rates and international restrictions don’t apply to us BUT in return we don’t have the top 100 tracks and artists, by and large, since we have not gotten the licenses from those major record labels yet…. no surprise there ;)
In the meantime, though, we have almost 150.000 really cool tracks available, from 100s of indie labels and artists (such as The Barenaked Ladies), and there are quite a few well-known tracks and bands, and labels, here as well, so as long as the majors are dragging their heels on this kind of license … do try those. We currenty only allow one song per SongSpot but are looking into beefing that up a bit, as well; but it will never be like Pandora – and I really hope they can come back, worldwide, asap. Gerd Leonhard http://www.sonific.com http://www.gerdleonhard.net (blog) http://www.unlockthemusic.net