MacMost Now 110: Pandora and Last.fm iPhone Apps

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at two applications for the iPhone that allow you to create your own radio station with music selected based on your preferences.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Today I'm here to announce that radio is dead.
FM radio has actually been sick for awhile now. They've added more and more commercials, and the selection of music is getting smaller and smaller. Meanwhile, music fans have moved to the Internet and there's two sites that are at the forefront of this. One is called Pandora, and the other is Last.fm.
Both of these sites allow you to basically create your own radio station by entering preferences of what type of music and artist you like and hten they find selections and play them back for you. So you can listen to almost commercial free music non-stop all day and give thumbs up, thumbs down, look up more information about the artist, and really enjoy your music; not a radio station programmer's idea of what they think your music may be.
Now with the release of the iPhone App store something really changed. You see, there're iPhone apps for both of these online radio stations so you can download the Pandora or the Last.fm radio station app and have this on your iPhone. So what does this get you that you couldn't get on the computer before? It'll get you portability. As a matter of fact, both of these have tested and they were great in the car; on both the EDGE and 3G network. That means that you could be driving along, have your iPhone plugged into your radio and listen to the music that you want to listen to on the station that you've created. And you can do this while driving to and from work. So what's the point of listening to music on FM radio anymore?
Let's take a look at Pandora first. Go to Pandora.com and you're going to want to create your own account. Once you create your own account you can enter in the name of an artist or song and it starts to play music that is similar to that artist or song. You can give thumbs up or thumbs down to the music and it will hone in on your exact likes and dislikes and create several radio stations. So if you like jazzy folk music but you also sometimes like hip-hop pop, you can go ahead and create a radio station of each one of those and give thumbs up and thumbs down if you feel the music fits in that station. So you can create different stations for different moods. Once you've gone and created a bunch of radio stations in your account, you'll be ready to move on to use the iPhone app by logging into that account.
Last.fm is basically the same idea. Go to Last.fm and signup. They have a slightly different way of finding the type of music that you like, but you can create various different radio stations and it will play music and you can say that you love a song or you can ban it from your radio station. Once you have your account set up with all of the different stations that you want you can also move on to the Last.fm iPhone app.
So all you need to do to get the Pandora and Last.fm applications is to go to the iTunes music store in iTunes, or the apps store on your iPhone and search for Pandora or Last.fm. The Pandora application launches and this will work whether you are on your WiFi network or the EDGE or the 3G network. Then there's all the different radio stations you want to listen to. You go ahead and select the one that you want and it'll download the first song it needs and start playing that. Now, doing this on the EDGE or 3G network creates quite a gap between songs, but it's not too bad. Likewise, the Last .fm app also takes a little bit of time to initialize and then it will come up with your songs, once of course you've signed into it, and allow you to choose from your radio stations. You get music album covers and you get the ability to actually go and buy the music at itunes or find more information about it using both services.
Now both of these apps are in their very first versions, released just in time for the opening of the iPhone apps store, so they're both a bit buggy, but I'm sure there will be bug fixes and feature improvements as time goes on. Right now they're both pretty much commercial free, but I heard the CEO of Pandora say that eventually they're going to have short sponsorship-type ads mixed in between the songs. I'd gladly have those rather than having the obnoxious monster truck rally type of ads that you have to put up with on FM radio. So try both these apps; they're both free to download and completely free to sign up for both of these sites and get going on them. I highly recommend them.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig at MacMost Now.

Comments: 2 Responses to “MacMost Now 110: Pandora and Last.fm iPhone Apps”

    judicael
    8/10/08 @ 9:53 pm

    Hello,

    Is there anyway of listening to lastfm with an ipodtouch?.

    Thank you.

    8/11/08 @ 7:04 am

    judicael: It should work, as long as you have a WiFi connection. The app is free, so why not just try it?

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