Pandora Radio is back in Australia

pandoraA little piece of joy at Mumbrella House this morning.

Pandora Radio is back.

Overnight, founder Tim Westergren emailed Pandora’s former Australian subscribers with the good news that after five years, it was returning.

Which is going to make the battle of the music streaming services even more interesting.

For me, this was always the service to beat.

You tell it a few tracks you like, and it builds a radio station around your tastes.

I’m delighted (and slightly freaked out by the way that the internet forgets nothing) to see that Whole Of The Moon radio is fully intact and hasn’t even gathered dust.

The Killers, The Smiths and The Beatles were the first three welcome choices it threw at me. Right now, I hear the first few bars of Sympathy For The Devil (happy 50th anniversary for Thursday, boys) rising.

Actually, at first impression, either the catalogue has widened or the algorithm has improved. Last time round – until that painful day in 2007 when they switched off the service in Australia for contractual reasons – I began to get the distinct impression that Pandora thought I only listened to the Ramones.

Since then of course we’ve seen the likes of Rdio, Spotify, Vevo and Telstra’s MOG, with more on the way.

The question of course will be, how many of those will make it.

Pandora’s business model for Australia appears to be mainly around persuading subscribers to upgrade from the free service to the higher streaming quality of Pandora One for $3.99 a month or $36 a year. If there’s no local ad push, then returning to Australia would appear to be a low cost play for Pandora compared to some of its rivals.

pandora letter tim westergren

Once again, Pandora will be the one to beat.

Tim Burrowes



  1. Paul
    10 Jul 12
    10:56 am

  2. Here’s hoping they steer clear of the dreadful audio ads.

    That said, as much as I love Pandora I certainly wouldn’t call it the service to beat – at least not for me. It’s brilliant for when you don’t know what you want to listen to, and for music discovery, but it really falls down when you’ve got a specific album in mind.

    Loving the new interface though, and greatly looking forward to picking up my stations where they left off all those years ago.

  3. Hugh
    10 Jul 12
    11:14 am

  4. and yet has offered this for a number of years (yes, less tracks – but it’s free) internationally. Not sure it’s going to compete that much with the likes or rdio/spotify now that they have become significantly more social (which yes has its ups and downs, but imho it’s a net positive).

  5. Logic
    10 Jul 12
    11:18 am

  6. Pandora is radio though isn’t it? Like basically? whereas the streaming services are on demand (ie you can play the same song a hundred times until you’re sick of it)?

  7. Tim Bennett
    10 Jul 12
    11:26 am

  8. I started using Spotify recently (haven’t tried Rdio yet) and it has a function a lot like Pandora (Spotify Radio) as well as much better support for playlists, syncing and offline music. The latter is especially important to me because I can load up a library of new music on my home wifi and listen to it in the car, bus or train without relying on 3G streaming.

    Now, that Spotify functionality is $12 a month versus Pandora’s $4/$3 yearly but it’s probably worth it for me. But if you just want music discovery without the extra bells, Spotify might fit your niche.

  9. Jackie
    10 Jul 12
    11:47 am

  10. I’m in heaven!

  11. Champ
    10 Jul 12
    11:54 am

  12. And Spotify has integrated into their platform too, so it offers both ‘radio’ and on demand streaming. As a huge music fan Spotify is the first service (I tried 3 or 4 others) that has kept me out of jb-hifi since I joined it – amazing for the consumer, though think the jury is still out on whether it will be of any benefit to the artists. I hear the royalty cheques are very small!

  13. James
    10 Jul 12
    11:56 am

  14. I’ve now tried all the streaming services to see where I will settle. The first thing I’d say is they have completely transformed the way I now access music. I can’t see myself ever buying an album again.
    For me, by a long way, Rdio is the best service. Based on the user experience across all my devices and the social functionality that allows me to follow and subscribe to users and their playlists.

  15. Tim Bennett
    10 Jul 12
    12:08 pm

  16. Champ, the major problems with Spotify for artists are that it sets a mental price on “all you can eat music”, and reduces the marginal cost of tracks to zero. So the damage you do by pirating all your music is “only” $12 per month. And why would you buy an album anywhere else (except if you’re a trufan) if you can get it as part of your music subscription?

    iTunes was the answer to piracy but made less for artists. Spotify is the answer to iTunes and artists make less still.

  17. gavin
    10 Jul 12
    3:10 pm

  18. I’ve never used the service before, but prompted by the above I went to their website, put in the names of a few of my favourite beat combos and, within three songs, was listening to the Ramones (who were not on my list) :-)

  19. Mark
    10 Jul 12
    11:40 pm

  20. I’ve tried Rdio, MOG, Spotify, Vevo, Grooveshark, Last.FM, Bandit.FM, Qricoty and many more – and they are all really great. But Pandora is even better. I’ve never found a service which can better predict music that I will really love. I’ve used it since 2005 and am so happy I can finally use it again without jumping through hoops. Can’t wait for the mobile app to hit the Australian app store, I have iTunes match switched on so can’t log into my US account anymore to grab it.

  21. mobiSAMurai
    11 Jul 12
    12:53 pm

  22. I agree with Mark…Pandora is the best streaming music service I have ever used and it is a shame it was denied to us for so long! Nothing beats its ability to predict the music I will like…just wonder why Apple never bought these guys and just added the functionality to iTunes which is a dud when it comes to Genius Recommends…

  23. PhilGC
    11 Jul 12
    3:21 pm

  24. Sadly, not many Aussie artists.