Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Pandora vs. iHeart: A Writer's Review

I don't know what it is, but I've gotten to the point in my writing life where I need music in the background while I type.  And none of my CDs seems to have just the right flavor - at least not all the way through.  Enter Pandora.  I found it and it was my salvation.  Sure, sharing it with my daughter meant the free 40 hrs went by too fast some months (until I got the kid her own account).  And yeah, the ads can be annoying - especially when they drag.  Still, I loved Pandora.

And then the same day Facebook screwed me with its new format, Pandora did the same damn thing.  All at once, I couldn't be on FB and Pandora at the same time.  And Pandora's new look was weirding me out.  Plus, for some stupid reason, Pandora kept tossing lame-ass songs into my mixes and those stupid bits of cacophony would throw me right the hell out of my groove.

Lucky me, I saw an ad for iHeart (or maybe it was a bit on CNBC about it).  I rushed right over and gave it a whirl.  I tried to love it.  I made a station using the band Bush (the seed for my main Pandora station), flipped my headphones on, and started writing.  Three songs in iHeart threw Creedance Clearwater Revival into the mix.  On a Bush station.  Talk about jarring.  Anyway, I created a Foo Fighters station and all was well again.

The only problem now was that I couldn't add new seeds to my iHeart stations.  Without new seeds, the station started throwing the same songs at me.  Three times in a row, I started the station up to Everlong by The Foo Fighters.  I love that song, but I don't want to hear it first off every friggin' time.

I also can't get a good '80s Dance Music station on the damn thing, so I was switching to Pandora every time I exercised.  And iHeart's P!nk station blew chunks hard enough that I had to start a Sara Bareilles station just to work on UEQ (which is a book that needs Angry Girl Music in the background).

So, I went back to Pandora.  Low and behold, in the time I was away, they fixed the whole 'not friendly to FB' thing.  They also stopped throwing weird bands into my mixes.  For the past couple days, they've played nothing but lovely lovely dark and twisty bands in my Bush mix (the songs Djinnocide craves).

I know iHeart is in its infancy.  I tried to give them feedback so they could make their station more writer friendly, but the feedback area was too confusing.  I may go back to them someday when they've made themselves more like Pandora - without the annoying ads (which also got fixed and don't drag so much).  Plus, it never hurts to have a backup.

For now, though, I'm with Pandora.  It does what I need it to do - which is play the music I need when I need it, with neither songs nor commercials that drag me out of my groove.

Do you use an online radio station of any kind?  Have you tried these?  What do you think?

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