I love Pandora, the streaming Internet radio service. It has fundamentally changed the way I listen to music — as much as the iPod. It lets me listen to more of the artists I love, while introducing me to new ones. It's even introduced me to new genres of music based on artists I like.
Moreover, Pandora delivers on any computer device, no matter where you are. We have a Sony Dash Internet appliance in our kitchen, and the Pandora app is almost always on. I have an Android smartphone phone, and the Pandora App is always on during my commute to and from work. Finally, I've long listened to Pandora on my laptop at work.
Given the awesomeness of the core music service, I don't mind the occasional ads, even though they're mostly irrelevant to me. I don't know exactly how the ad system works, though I can tell from experience it probably serves audio and display ads based on user geo-location, actual demographics, and demographic assumptions based on the music genre I happen to be listening to at any given moment.
But I'm challenged when listening to classical music at work through my laptop, specifically my Mozart channel. The growing frequency of ads has become prohibitively disruptive. I'm not sure if I'm being targeted excessively because of time of day, genre or device. Either way, I've had to abandon Pandora at work and divert my attention to other classical music sources — ones which help sustain my peak mental zone.
I'm tempted to pony up and pay for Pandora's ad-free subscription service, though the last thing I need is yet another Internet subscription.
Is the paid version of Pandora worth it?