If you are a dedicated music application watcher like me, you spend a lot of time reading articles about what Pandora should do (or what should be done to the service). Every new app is a possible “Pandora-killer.” Take The Motley Fool’s Saturday headline: “Did Amazon Just Kill Sirius and Pandora?” Apparently the author is quite smitten by Amazon Prime’s new Amazon Music rollout, asking: “Can these businesses [Sirius/Pandora] stand up to a player whose market power surpasses theirs combined?”
Well, I’ve got Amazon Prime and based on my perusal of the application the answer is yes. I experience Amazon Music as a player app that tries to get me to buy more .99 cent MP3 files from Amazon. Thanks, but that’s not very high on my list of priorities.
So Pandora is such a dead duck, Apple should purchase it? No, cancel that, Pandora “is a proven market leader and continues to grow its business from every angle,” the second article says. Whew. Back from the brink of death.
Speaking of which, we got quite a few responses to Paul Riismandel’s piece on T-Mobile’s “Music Freedom” initiative, which will allow T-Mobile subscribers to listen ‘data free’ to the big music streams like Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes.
“Not included are college and community stations, thousands of independent internet stations, and independent music and audio services like Bandcamp and Soundcloud,” Paul notes.
Ditto says Soma FM founder Rusty Hodge in a post on RAIN news: “On casual reading this seems fair and great for consumers. But by initially including only a very small percentage of streaming services, it reinforces the major streaming services at the expense of smaller and independent webcasters.”
Given this news, I suddenly want to be fair to the Pandora-Killer bullpen writers. It does increasingly feel like Pandora can be characterized as a Beloved Application Waiting to Be Acquired in some context or other. Clearly as the ISPs assert their corporate God given right to pick winners and losers on the mobile track, Pandora will be classified as a winner. The big question will be the price of victory.
Meanwhile the historical guillotine came down on MySpace the other day over at the Elegant Hack design blog:
“Modern digital designers are out of the habit of looking nonjudgmentally at digital products. To put it more simply: these designers judge designs as bad or good rather than seek to understand why each decision was made. They are most judgmental when those products are not designed by designers, but by execs, engineers or, worse of all, the users themselves. The hall of shame stretches from Geocities through Myspace to the semi-restrained Tumblr. But surely Myspace around 2007 was the Las Vegas of the internet; garish, inexplicably popular and abhorrent to designers. It has, like its sister city, been utterly remade more than once, but its name still stands for what is worst in popular taste.”
Take that MySpace as you try to reinvent yourself! Whew yet again. As I often ask: where is it all going?
We cover social music sharing communities every Monday in our Internet DJ feature.