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Pandora Trying Out Invasive Commercial Breaks

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the knew-it-had-to-be-coming dept.

Music 244

Nathan Halverson writes "The popular online radio service Pandora.com has added brief commercial interruptions to its service. Pandora says this is a trial and is targeted to a subset of listeners at this point. In one case, a brief ad for the Fox TV show 'Lie To Me' interrupted the music stream for about 15 seconds after ten songs had initially played, and the same commercial interrupted 22 songs later. 'But [Pandora's] founder promised the site will never carry as many audio ads as broadcast radio, despite the fact it pays substantially higher royalty fees to the recording industry.'"

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244 comments

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We need a spam filter for radio (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543735)

I'd be willing to pay money for any program that filters out adds (without making too many mistakes).
I've always wondered why this doesn't exist for TV.
And I wondered what you should play during the adds... a random mp3 from your computer perhaps?

Alternatively, you can also switch to another station :D

Whatever, it's a great service (4, Interesting)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543799)

I for one am understanding of their need to generate revenue to maintain the excellent service. Especially they go to some of the background or portable options they've hinted at before, audio ads may be the only way to do that. I heard the McDonald's ad and considered it far less intrusive than the types of ads I get on other "free" Internet radio services. If they can design all their ads like that--NPR style, so to speak--and not make them constant interruptions to them music (start up and/or change of station are good ideas), then I say go for it. If that helps keep Pandora free and improving, I'm all for it.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (2, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543855)

Hmm... of course the station needs to get money from somewhere. I always thought that record companies pay stations to play their songs. Radio is the best add for a song (and music is a product that is advertised on radio). Why advertise anything else when radio is almost 100% advertisement? :D

I immediately admit that I am not aware of the business model of radio in 2009 (both internet or the good ol' fashioned one with photons hitting your antenna).

In the ideal case, the record company should be omitted. Bands who want to be known give their songs to a station which broadcasts it. Band becomes famous, and people pay for the concert. But then again, I also believe in Utopia :D

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (4, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544035)

Bands who want to be known give their songs to a station which broadcasts it. Band becomes famous, and people pay for the concert. But then again, I also believe in Utopia :D

That model does actually exist out there on the net -- the billboard at http://www.themusicwellhome.co.uk/ [themusicwellhome.co.uk] for instance.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (5, Informative)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544081)

> Hmm... of course the station needs to get money from somewhere. I always thought that record companies pay stations to play their songs. Radio is the best add for a song (and music is a product that is advertised on radio). Why advertise anything else when radio is almost 100% advertisement? :D

Um, it's kinda crazy, but this is known as "payola". It's not illegal for the labels to pay stations to play their songs, BUT the station has to disclose that they were paid to play the song.

Evidently, kids (who are the primary consumers of music) tend to tune out things they know are ads. So, the record labels have gone to extraordinary lengths (and have been caught MULTIPLE times) to pay radio stations to play their music WITHOUT saying they were paid to play it (easiest way to know a radio station was paid to play a song, the DJ will say it's the most requested song).

The labels are trying really hard to get radio stations to pay royalties, so they can get some of their payola money back...

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544293)

>Evidently, kids (who are the primary consumers of music) tend to tune out things they know are ads.

Actually, I think pretty much all of us that have grown up with pervasive advertising have an internal trip switch these days. It's a sad fact, but the way to keep sane in the modern (urban) environment is to selectively ignore most of the world around you.

Advertisers look for ever more invasive ways to get our attention, and then wonder why advertising has less and less effect. it's because we hate you and have learned to ignore you to the extent we don't even realise you're there half the time.

The NERVE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544599)

When will these swine learn that we don't need no stinkin interruptions !! Transcoded 256 kbps from 112 kbps mp3 all the way !! And crank it up !! Turn up the Veeeeez !! I hear one commecial and back to Virin radio I go !! The whole point of internet radio is that it is free !! Free !! FREE !!

Re:The NERVE !! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545059)

When will these swine learn that we don't need no stinkin interruptions !! Transcoded 256 kbps from 112 kbps mp3 all the way !! And crank it up !! Turn up the Veeeeez !! I hear one commecial and back to Virin radio I go !! The whole point of internet radio is that it is free !! Free !! FREE !!

Check your medication. Seriously.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545001)

Actually, I think pretty much all of us that have grown up with pervasive advertising have an internal trip switch these days. It's a sad fact, but the way to keep sane in the modern (urban) environment is to selectively ignore most of the world around you.

Advertisers look for ever more invasive ways to get our attention, and then wonder why advertising has less and less effect. it's because we hate you and have learned to ignore you to the extent we don't even realise you're there half the time.


You only believe that because they told you to. Advertisers fill your head with answers to questions you never asked, then when you are called on to make a decision and you're too lazy to do research or too tired to really think about what you want, you use the answers they gave you as your own.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545131)

You only believe that because they told you to. Advertisers fill your head with answers to questions you never asked then when you are called on to make a decision and you're too lazy to do research or too tired to really think about what you want, you use the answers they gave you as your own.

I don't believe that for a second. I'm the kinda guy that reads ingredients lists on everything from kitchen cleaners to pharmaceuticals. I am not under the control of advertisers or marketing fuckheads, thanks. If you are then I pity you.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (1)

SockPuppet_9_5 (645235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544591)

1: The commercials should be music based. "Lie To Me" does have that soundtrack for its commercials they've played on the FOX TV network. So this example fits.

2: The commercials should not repeat. If they do, they should not be identical in content. This is similar to running two different 15 second commercials on TV now.

3: Discretion is required. Commercials for Sham-Wow and their ilk are a deal breaker.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544623)

YOU'RE GONNA LOVE MY NUTS!

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (1)

box4831 (1126771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545233)

I really can't believe they let that one slip into the commercial

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544307)

OK, I have to get this off my chest.

1) It's AD, not ADD. FFS.

2) RADIOS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY! That is to say, they don't use photons for any portion of their operation.

This message brought to you by your local science and english teachers.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544649)

Radio waves are photons! You need to get some better science teachers if they are not aware of wave-particle duality.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545189)

Radio waves are photons! You need to get some better science teachers if they are not aware of wave-particle duality.

No. Radio waves are waves. Wave's aren't photons. When those waves interact with certain types of matter, their energy exists in a discrete distribution. The quantization of that distribution is a proton.

You need a better math teacher, so they can actually teach you wave-particle duality.

Re:Whatever, it's a great service (2, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544719)

Thanks for the correction. It's a silly mistake.

Regarding point 2, the electromagnetic spectrum goes from Gamma rays, through X-rays, UV, visible light, IR, to radio waves. Those are all photons. And they're also all waves.

It's just that we like to think of radio as waves, and X-ray and gamma as particles. In the end, all of them are both: both wave and particle.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (3, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543803)

I'd be willing to pay money for any program that filters out adds (without making too many mistakes). I've always wondered why this doesn't exist for TV.

Isn't that what TiVo is for?

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543835)

I just mute the TV sound when the adverts come on, you'd be amazed at the difference it makes.

(Obviously this doesn't work too well with radio...)

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (5, Interesting)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543861)

What I don't understand is why TVs don't yet have a function that not only mutes it, but also makes the screen almost dark. So that you can just spot when your program is back on.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543975)

My grandfather used to turn off the tv when the commercials came on, and we would sit there in awkward silence until he turned it back on. He became surprisingly good at turning it back on at the right time. We convinced him into something with a mute button in the early 90's

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544633)

We used to have a VCR that would auto-FF through commercials during recorded shows.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545281)

There was a bunch of TVs in the early to mid 90s that sold with a feature called "Smart Sound". My grandmother (rest her soul) got one. The difference was amazing - what it did was normalize the sound so that it was all level.

What this mostly neutered was all the TV ads that crank the volume up. With the smart sound enabled TV, you could barely hear them, because the TV quieted them down to match the show, and so the poor mixing to make the commercial sound loud made it so it didn't "stand out" so much.

Unfortunately from what I remember, there were lawsuits from what I remember, and the feature disappeared from those brand of TVs.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544025)

No, that's what BBC Radio/TV is for. Don't put the ads in in the first place = almost an hour's worth of content per hour, and no need to filter them back out again.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544061)

Yup, and for which you pay a hefty fee every year for, otherwise the detector vans come round and scan your ass (do they still have those, haven't been in Blighty for nigh on 8 years ?).

It's a similar situation with the cable TV here. While they don't run "traditional" commercials as such, they still manage to interrupt the show every 15 minutes with pointless trailers for other shows which will be airing during the week.

SO I don't think you EVER get a full 60 minutes of programming in each hour ... which is perhaps just as well, otherwise when would you run to the toilet, or make a cuppa ?

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544113)

From what I've heard the detector vans were an urban myth. They do now us a database to work out who hasn't bought a license, and then knock on the door now and again to check up on you.

Quite honestly though, I don't mind the license fee. If it wasn't there I'd be paying for cable anyway, so it's not like I'm losing any money, and it's far better value for money.

Also, they don't "interrupt" anything for trailers for other shows. The trailers go in a 2-3 minute slot between shows. And if you're using iPlayer, which is almost exclusively my source of TV now, you don't even have to put up with that.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (3, Informative)

xelah (176252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544539)

From what I've heard the detector vans were an urban myth. They do now us a database to work out who hasn't bought a license, and then knock on the door now and again to check up on you.

I don't have a TV, so I know how TV licensing behave. Enforcement is mostly based on fear. If you aren't on the licence database they will write to you every three-ish months with one of a rotating set of letters. These say things like 'WARNING AGAINST UNLAWFUL ACTION', or look like fake bills, or tell you you've been added to their enforcement list and that 'Enforcement Officers' will visit in compliance with PACE (and, presumably, the Geneva conventions and the nuclear test ban treaty....). They give you a phone number they want you to ring to get yourself on a database of people declaring they have no TV. Then they write to you and say they're going to visit you anyway (and then don't) and start the letters again six months later. Meanwhile they're running (billboard) adverts saying things like 'last year we caught 157,000 licence dodgers' and 'seven people in Ebscombe Close don't have a licence'.

In eight years I've met exactly one Enforcement Officer (they're private sector contractors with no special powers). Conversation with them go like this: Him: Do you have a television. You: No. Him: Can I come in? You: No. Him: That's all I need to know [goes away].

It appears they only catch people by knocking on the door and hearing a television. They have no power of entry, and need some shred of evidence of a crime to get a warrant from a magistrate. Besides, I get the impression they can't be bothered and are quite keen on getting through their list ASAP.

BTW, you need a licence for watching television services at or nearly at the same time as it's being broadcast. This applies to using computers for that, too. But you can watch them later with no licence at all. (I don't do either, ICYWW, if I wanted to watch TV I'd have a TV).

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544199)

Yup, and for which you pay a hefty fee every year for
And advertisement agencies are charities that offer their services for free?
You have already paid for the advertisment through the inflated product price.
Why should you pay a second time in the form of wasted time?

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544445)

Yup, and for which you pay a hefty fee every year for, otherwise the detector vans come round and scan your ass (do they still have those, haven't been in Blighty for nigh on 8 years ?).

£140 a year. The alternative seems to be that the money comes out of general taxation.

It's a similar situation with the cable TV here. While they don't run "traditional" commercials as such, they still manage to interrupt the show every 15 minutes with pointless trailers for other shows which will be airing during the week.

The BBC never interrupt a show. Any trailers are shown between programmes.

SO I don't think you EVER get a full 60 minutes of programming in each hour.

You get about 58 minutes though.
08:00.00 trailer for a program
08:01.00 screen saying what's on now/next on a few channels
08:01.39 programme starts
08:59.30 programme ends
08:59.31 now/next again

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

redxxx (1194349) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545301)

Tivo doesn't do any filtering though. They need to teach it to do two things.

1) Add a skip forward backward feature that looks for abrupt changes in the image. If 100% of the broadcast image changes from one frame to the next, that's obviously either a gap between commercials or scenes. Now, they hang all sorts of logos and letter boxes around the signal, so it would need to have a variable threshold and probably look at a few different factors(actual pixels, aggregated measurements colour and brightness, totally black frames, etc). That's actually pretty easy to manage. You can flash the firmware of most cannon camaras and install software that will take photos automatically off similar info.

2) Allow people to subscribe to a free service that tracks what parts of a given show people skip over and what parts they watch. Which means unless you are watching the show very close to live, the crowd would have found where most of the ads are, with pretty good accuracy if the above was implemented and enough people used it, and your player could skip them automatically(if it was too inaccurate you could always rewind a bit, because you'd have recorded the whole show like normal).

Ok, yeah, I don't trust TiVo track my behavior like that, and it could be hard to get a large company with a lot of corporate ties to do it, but I don't see too big a reason it could be strapped on to myth TV or what have you.

They will be replaced... (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543811)

The Internet shaped them, the Internet can break them. Look at what happened to Napster.

Pandora will be why (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543973)

last.fm flourishes

Re:They will be replaced... (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544767)

What, so internet only media companies shouldn't be allowed to make a profit? Seriously?

You need to revise your ideas I think. If all you want is good quality free services that don't advertise, you're going to have to do them yourself, because no-one else will.
Companies that don't make a profit become one of two things, dead companies, or slowly degrading services that then get bought by larger companies.
If the latter its rare that the original appeal survives the process.
Twitter is a good example. They have no advertising, make no profits from their customers, and have millions of users. How long do you think Twitters going to last in its current form? I'd give it less than a year.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543823)

or go for the premium service. I dont know how pandora works exactly (im in the uk), but lastfm has a premium service, i assume if last fm were to ever resort to adverts, they would offer a premium service without them, and if more people were to take up the premium service before such a time, they are less likely to need to add ads to the free service

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (4, Informative)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543921)

I'd be willing to pay money for any program that filters out adds (without making too many mistakes). I've always wondered why this doesn't exist for TV.

Sorry to disappoint you, but you don't need to pay for MythTV [mythtv.org] . From the features list:

  • Completely automatic commercial detection/skipping, with manual correction via an intuitive cutlist editor.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545173)

MythTV needs constant maintenance and it's much less user-friendly than other TV products out there.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544103)

I guess you could just buffer the radio/TV for 2 minutes in advance (depending on how long the show is you want to see/listen to). The program would then stop buffering the show for the duration of the advert and continue recording as soon as the adverts finish, enabling you to watch/listen to the show in one interruption-less stream.

...that would be...
- Buffer estimated ad time (pre-record the beginning of the show)
- Start playing the stream
- If an ad appears, pause the recording
- Continue recording after the add
= Interruption-less viewing/listening pleasure xD

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544447)

I'd be willing to pay money for any program that filters out adds (without making too many mistakes).
I've always wondered why this doesn't exist for TV.

I've heard that people still watch TV on TV. Quaint!
Just use BitTorrent. One person edits out the ads, and thousands save the time wasted watching them.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544661)

You don't play anything during the ads. You stream the music to your hard drive, and start listening a couple of minutes later. This gives the filter time to snip out the bits. Then, if you run out, you can stop listening for a half hour and do something else, etc. If anybody asks, just say you liked the ads :)

If you're using mplayer to listen to a stream (not just audio, video can work too), look up the -dumpstream option. Then open a second instance later and just play the dump while the first instance continues to download.

Theoretically, it shouldn't be too difficult to filter out the ads programmatically. By definition, they have to be sufficiently different from the background music to be noticeable to the listener, so standard signal processing methods should have a field day. Moreover, if they're prerecorded, they'll probably get reused several times, so it would be possible to learn the ads over time.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544775)

So you're willing to pay money to take money away from this company, but you're not willing to listen to a 15 s ad. Broadcasters make money from ad revenue. Without it, they shut down. Then there's no broadcast for anyone.

If you don't like their service, don't use it. Don't try to hack the matrix to save 15 seconds.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

AgentSmith (69695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545051)

Don't try to hack the matrix to save 15 seconds.

Uh. Yeah. Like what he said. Friends don't let friends hack the Matrix.

Actually, I was just listening to Pandora while reading this article and reading the comments.
About halfway through the Lie to Me ad turned on. A minor interruption that sounds like
ads you see in and hear at movie theaters.

Pandora. It's a nice radio service with customization. The fact that I can pick and choose my music style
is miles better than conventional radio. With normal radio I find myself having to change the station
every few minutes to dodge the commercials. Yes, radio is also free and stations still need to make money,
but ads have gone way over the limit in order to make it profitable. Even my local PBS radio station has
ads promoting itself. Way too much signal to ad noise ratio.

Like the parent poster said you don't like it then don't use it. But if Pandora is so bad
what other services are people using and why? Even without the ads are they really better?

Until the recording industry's back is finally broken this is what we have to deal with people.
Be you a king or a lowly street sweeper everyone eventually dances with the RIAA reaper.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544875)

How do you expect them to pay for their cost of operation, and yes, this includes reasonable salaries for their owners and employees, preferably at market rates not poverty level livings.

Do you object? Is one 15-second advert after 10-12 songs too much? Of course not.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545153)

Pandora already offers this. A $36/yr subscription eliminates the ads.

Re:We need a spam filter for radio (1)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545245)

Id be willing to pay for Pandora, but frankly there just isn't enough music at this point. If you have a broad selection of music on your station, you probably won't get repeats. In my situation, I've created a station for NY style hip hop, but have yet to hear anything I haven't heard before since I started listening. In fact, it seems like Pandora is just using a series of playlists and including them into a bigger playlists based on your tastes. If they added a bigger variety of music, and perhaps stuff that was only released on vinyl, I would definitely pay a subscription fee.

Can't be accessed outside of US (-1, Flamebait)

PontifexPrimus (576159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543769)

Well, they cannot be accessed outside of the US, anyway, so fuck 'em.
Really, I get so annoyed about services like web-radio or web-tv (Hulu comes to mind) that only work for the USA and give a big "fuck you" to the rest of the world...

Re:Can't be accessed outside of US (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543825)

The rest of the world has been giving a big "fuck you" to america for more than a decade.

Until you want something.

Re:Can't be accessed outside of US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544011)

The rest of the world has been giving a big "fuck you" to america for more than a decade.

America has been giving a big 'fuck you' to the rest of the world for over a century.

Re:Can't be accessed outside of US (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544989)

And that's the only reason I still pay my taxes.

Re:Can't be accessed outside of US (4, Informative)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543841)

Its not really pandoras fault in this case, if you go to their home page.

"We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative."

plus there are plenty of alternatives that do work, i use lastfm in the uk, works ace

Re:Can't be accessed outside of US (1)

sunami88 (1074925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543877)

So They're still US-only eh?. I thought Pandora died a slow and painful death around third quarter last year some time after they decided to ignore the rest of the world...

Guess not, though them being US-only, they might as well be. Too bad, I remember enjoying it.

Re:Can't be accessed outside of US (1)

MoOsEb0y (2177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544971)

  1. ssh -D 8080 host.in.the.us
  2. set ff proxy to localhost:8080
  3. ????
  4. profit!

Be kind, rewind... (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543773)

... to 8 years ago when everything was free and there was no oversight on anything. Please? Pretty please?

better than the alternative (4, Insightful)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543801)

isnt that invasive, on seeing 'invasive' i imagined comming in in the middle of a song, the title is poorly worded. Plus id much rather hear a few adverts than pay money, ideally neither, but if high royalties means one advert per ten songs (15s advert per 10 2.5min songs is only one 1% advert time) then id rather that than have it disapear.

However, If its the same advert over and over, that will get tedious, ive played a few free versions of games that have been ad sponsored, and to have the same advert over and over is just annoying.

Re:better than the alternative (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543863)

You're in the supermarket, holding a packet of sugar, behind a little old lady
Old Lady: Is that all you've got, love?
You: *nods*
Old lady lets you through
You: ...and I've got a whole fucking trolley here!

Re:better than the alternative (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543911)

ey

if they let through enough adds to be comparable to commercial radio, then they will lose one of their attractions, and people will move onto competition, or back to commercial radio

being realistic, would you honestly rather loose pandora/lastfm/yourinternetradioofchoice rather than hear some adverts, if they are in a scenario that they arnt making enough money, and the choices are ads, fees, or closing, id choose ads every time

Re:better than the alternative (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543933)

that 'ey' was meant to have a strikethrough

Re:better than the alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544335)

"Ads", it's "ads" ffs - short for advertisments.

Re:better than the alternative (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544811)

I wouldn't move back to radio even if Pandora had ads as frequently as them. Normal radio doesn't offer me personalized stations of music that aren't dreck. With radio I end up listening to 3-5 songs I don't like before hearing one I do, and that is if I find a good station.

History repeats itself (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543821)

'But [Pandora's] founder promised the site will never carry as many audio ads as broadcast radio, despite the fact it pays substantially higher royalty fees to the recording industry.'

Same old half-truth. 1 second less is still "never as much as".

I'd settle for commercials... (1)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543827)

if that's what it takes to finally come up with the funding to appease European rights holders. I loved Pandora in the States, but I've had to cut back since there is no legal way to get Pandora in Germany (I'm assuming proxies to mask country of origin for the purpose of accessing region-restricted media is a legal grey area I shouldn't get into at work).

Re:I'd settle for commercials... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544533)

Many people run Tor, which has many exit nodes in the US, and I haven't heard of any legal troubles.

*Sigh* I hate advertising (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543843)

Another service to stop using. I'd rather pay/subscribe than listen to ads (not that the same promise didn't stop ads on cable tv). Not even regular radio interrupts songs in the middle, although a lot of obnoxiously talk into the beginning or cut off the end with their chatter. And replacing Satellite Radio with an iPhone/data_contract + Pandora seemed like a decent idea a while back.

What is it with advertising becoming so pervasive the last 50+ years that it actually ruins the medium it trojan horses itself in to the audience? On TV, the channels seem to enjoy ruining their shows with invasive in-show advertising for other crappy shows on the same channel. I cancelled my premium subscription when those sets of channels insisted on ruining all their shows, like a subtitled movie by covering the subtitles at the worst points with in-show ads. I know this is a reaction to TIVOing, but really, even with a DVR I usually just recorded something and forgot to skip ads half the time. I'd buy the DVD of that subtitled movie mentioned, but then I am forced to watch previews to "coming soon" movies that are long since gone from the theaters. Pirates are better off.

Since I was a teenager, I stopped buying branded shirts, as I refused to pay to be a walking billboard for some corp. It's weird how that became popular. And it's strange that the internet is one of the few mostly ad-free places left if the user chooses (adblock, noscript, etc) yet I bought more based on word-of-mouth there than any actual advertisement in the real world. Just seems like a giant waste of $$$ to be honest.

Hell, look at Geico commercials, at least they at least try to be entertaining. Maybe more advertising to follow the same route, becoming patrons of specific songs/etc (like in the middle ages) and actually add to the mediums rather than sabotaging them.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544019)

The fundamental problem with all of this is that Pandora is advertising. The Music Labels get a service which is not super-trivial for you to download music from (by no means impossible) so that you can sample their music - since Pandora won't just let you listen to it how you want when you want, you may be compelled to buy it. Now they want to add commercials for shit I'm not listening to as well? If companies want to advertise to me on Pandora they can pay to have their songs ranked up, so that I hear them more. Instead, I have to say goodbye to Pandora at a time when I'm considering actually having enough bandwidth to use it. But since there are many non-commercial internet radio options, I guess I'll use one of those instead. Station ID bumpers are annoying enough when I'm in a groove, commercials are simply unacceptable to me. (I'm one of those annoying "I don't watch TV" fucks, but even when I did, I muted all commercials.)

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544389)

You're absolutely correct. This actually applies to lesser degrees to terrestial radio and satellite radio. Except that terrestial radio plays only the top 10/40 at any given time, which for pop is fine since it's always new crap every so often, but for anythng remotely older or niche - it becomes a repetitive cycle to an audience who has heard it for years already and since they will undoubtedly hear it again have little incentive to go and buy it anyway. Sattelite is a bit better as far as exposing the audience to something new, however it can't beat the Buy it now option of Pandora (Itunes, Amazon).

Again, it's the industry greed that drove up the royalty fees, but it always seems the advertiser ends up ruining medium they try to convey their message in.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544477)

If companies want to advertise to me on Pandora they can pay to have their songs ranked up, so that I hear them more.

I really hope this never happens. I listen to pandora to find music that I like, not what the record execs want me to like.

(And yes, I use it as a music discovery service. I've bought about two albums a month from pandora's amazon affiliate link.

Have you done your part to help keep them alive?)

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544761)

How do you know the record execs don't already do this? The fact that you are listening to music you like doesn't mean that the labels aren't paying Pandora to have their tunes played with a higher probability within a certain niche/genre.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544895)

Because that's called payola, and the station is legally required to disclose when they're being paid to play a song.

What I'm wondering is why Pandora hasn't set up a market research account so that record companies can gather pretty lucrative information on demographics for their music. Information that's more in-depth than radio listener counts. Information that could be anonymous: "Last month you had 602 listeners in the New York Metro area listening to Band X. This month you have 800, but Band Y has dropped in popularity.

Put in some awesome google analytics style output, and you've got a pretty useful app that companies would pay hand over fist for.

I'd think record companies would pay good money for this kind of market research, so they could help bands plan tours that would draw higher attendance - and possibly choose a venue: sometimes the anticipated attendance from market research is much lower than the actual attendance - so they book a large venue, but only fill it with a medium amount of people. This has the result of — no matter how good the band was — giving an appearance of being lackluster.

Example from another industry:

You have a restaurant. Your food is great. Everyone who eats there loves it. Unfortunately, because of the town you live in, not many people go out to eat. The business is still profitable, but the restaurant looks empty. People passing by and glancing in the windows might notice this, and come away with the impression that your restaurant has lousy food or service - and then they put it off their list of things to try. Often this is subconscious, but it's there.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544285)

Radio and TV are more about delivering you to the advertisers (i.e. making money to keep going) than delivering content to you. It's a balancing act, so you'll likely end up at the point of diminishing returns, i.e. the point where the monetary benefit of more advertising divided by the number of listeners stops rising and starts falling.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544303)

Another service to stop using. I'd rather pay/subscribe than listen to ads (not that the same promise didn't stop ads on cable tv).

That explains why you're a slashdot subscriber, as denoted by the asterisk by your username. You've posted about 150 comments, you obviously don't hate the place.

Oh wait, there's no asterisk by your username. I guess you'd rather have ads than fork over $5 for 1,000 ad-free pages. Or perhaps you run an ad blocker, just to make sure Slashdot don't make one thin dime from having you as a member.

Don't get me wrong, it pisses me off too when I buy a '24' DVD box set to avoid adverts on TV, but I still have to see their ham-fisted Cisco product placement. But I put it to you that the reason that so much media is ad-supported, is that people like you and me, time and time again, have chosen zero-cost ad-supported media in preference to non-zero-cost ad-free media.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544509)

That explains why you're a slashdot subscriber, as denoted by the asterisk by your username. You've posted about 150 comments, you obviously don't hate the place.

Oh wait, there's no asterisk by your username.

Google indicates my post count is about 1,700 comments although it's probably be higher. I think signed up before subscriptions (~1999) but am not entirely sure. Alway's been using no scipt and adblock since they've been available, not specifically for this site. I'm just not up-to-date on the site's features/developments actually, so I don't know what the subscription is supposed to buy me, sorry. Looking at the subscriptions page, it has a page count rather than a time length....

Conversely, I do buy flash games or donate to certain flash projects and support a few websites.

It's not that I harbor an illusion that people are altruistic and projects will get as much funding as with advertising (PBS's constant pleading is testament to this and little better than intrusive adverts), but there is a correct way and an incorrect way to do things. Modern mainstream advertising stopped riding the coattails of the content that brings the audience and just actively subverts it - Television's new intrusive techniques was an example although I'm not entirely sure if that is also some type of way to prevent people from recording a perfect example of a movie they want rather than getting it on DVD. Another example would be those magazines that were once useful but then became so overrun by ads they easily outnumbered the content - and a magazine is bought and paid for. It's also brings to mind the law of declining returns - all those ads are fighting among themselves to be noticed - which is probably why Geico does the shtick it does.

As for Internet advertising - if the website stuck to a simple advert jpeg/gif or even flash file coming from its own servers and inserted them as static content to the page, along with a link to the sponsor - it would be less of a problem and hard to block anyway coming in.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544785)

becoming patrons of specific songs/etc

You don't remember the Pepsi "Monk" song (Artist was Sev)? I am pretty sure there was a similar ad out at that time (several years ago). I remember reading a story that perhaps a new future was for products to support up and coming artist in exchange for them in the ads, making quasi-jingles, and what not.

But I haven't really seen much "product support of up and coming artist" (aside from soundtracks). Guess it didn't work out too well.

Re:*Sigh* I hate advertising (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544787)

Another service to stop using. I'd rather pay/subscribe than listen to ads (not that the same promise didn't stop ads on cable tv).

Did this "promise" ever exist? I don't remember any cable company making such a promise, nor have I found evidence that they did. I think it's one of those urban legends that belongs on Snopes.

Hulu does this and everybody doesn't mind that... (4, Informative)

Vertana (1094987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543847)

Seriously, this is no big deal. According to the article, "On average, people will hear a 15-second commercial about every two hours, Westergren said, adding that it is a targeted ad campaign and not everyone is hearing the commercials." Other 'free' services have been doing it for ages, most notably Hulu.com. Plus I agree with the above comments... fuck country-specific services on the Internet and fuck those royalty fees. And yes... I'm looking at you the most RIAA...

Re:Hulu does this and everybody doesn't mind that. (4, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543971)

Other 'free' services have been doing it for ages, most notably Hulu.com

I know this is the internet we're talking about, but Hulu went live ~1.5 years ago and has only been accessible to the general public for less than a year (March 12, 2008). They haven't been doing anything "for ages".

Re:Hulu does this and everybody doesn't mind that. (1)

Vertana (1094987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544043)

I know this is the internet we're talking about, but Hulu went live ~1.5 years ago and has only been accessible to the general public for less than a year (March 12, 2008). They haven't been doing anything "for ages".

Fair enough, I just chose a website that does this and is widely used by the general public.

Re:Hulu does this and everybody doesn't mind that. (1)

TuaAmin13 (1359435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544193)

Still, I would like to have a variety of advertisers.
You watch a show on a network streaming station and you get 1 ad over and over (whoever the sponsor of the day is). I've watched stuff on Hulu and had an identical commercial for 4 breaks during a show. No I don't want to see how Best Buy made someone's Christmas. Give me a mix so I can't memorize the commercial's lines.

Pandora is a great service. I've only recently jumped on the wagon, but I would definitely not mind a few ads to support it.

Re:Hulu does this and everybody doesn't mind that. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544475)

On average, people will hear a 15-second commercial about every two hours

If you believe that then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Sure, it'll start that way so they're not, technically, lying but then they'll boil the frog [wikipedia.org] .

Music is being advertised on radio (2, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543875)

Why advertise anything else?
People hear music, like it, buy the CD or visit the concert.

Truly the American dream (0, Troll)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543915)

Truly the American dream. Yet another service that includes propaganda to convince you to buy more stuff that you don't need.

Re:Truly the American dream (2, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543979)

So don't buy it.

Re:Truly the American dream (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544405)

That would be taking responsibility. Instead blame the corporations and the government black helicopters for forcing you to buy things you might actually want and derive pleasure from.

Once upon a time, children.... (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543961)

Let me tell you a fictional bedtime story, kids. Once upon a time there were these cable TV services that were popular because they had no commercials! Then, like an evil virus, commercials started slowly creeping in, so slowly people didn't notice the prick of the blade at first....

Re:Once upon a time, children.... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545147)

And the people who subscribed to cable because it was ad-free did not immediately call the cable company and cancel their service because of the ads.

Headline over the top (4, Insightful)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543963)

These commercial breaks are not 'invasive'. Somebody groping you on the street on your way to work is invasive. You can still choose not to listen to web radio.

Re:Headline over the top (4, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544033)

I agree, but that means the real question is, can I get ad-free radio just for letting somebody grope me? If so, sign me up, it sounds like a win-win.

Spotify does this too. (3, Insightful)

Skrynkelberg (910137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544189)

It plays an add every ten songs or so. For me, it is no big deal, but in case you should think so, there is also an add-free subscription option for 99 SEK ($12) a month.

Re:Spotify does this too. (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544429)

Spotify is the dog's bollox, even in its free version. I've been sending out invites to all my friends and family. Unfortunately, the licensing conditions means it won't work in the States. I don't find the occasional ad too annoying given that every track I request is one that I WANT to hear and not some radio station's concept of what I should be listening to.

Oh, and I'm happy to pay the BBC license fee for ad-free OTA broadcasting.

That's OK (2, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544315)

They get their ad revenue for sending them, not for you listening.
Filtering them out can't be too hard and won't cost them. Just like AdBlock downloads the ads but doesn't display them.

Re:That's OK (1)

xorsyst (1279232) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544387)

AdBlock downloads the ads? Gah, what a huge waste of bandwidth that is when you're on dialup and paying per minute. Surely this should be configurable?

Re:That's OK (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544573)

AdBlock downloads the ads? Gah, what a huge waste of bandwidth that is when you're on dialup and paying per minute. Surely this should be configurable?

It is.

Re:That's OK (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544593)

Adblock Plus: Save your time and traffic

Nop, they really block it from the HTML source, so the browser doesn't even try to download it. Maybe they could modify it so the browser asks for the file (marking it as a "view" for the advertiser) but stops the connection before the download begins?

On the other hand, I don't use AdBlock, so I don't really care. Blocking flash ads is enough for me.

Pandora Still Worth Your TIme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544703)

I hate ads as much as the next guy, but I think being able to actively choose what is on my radio, is pretty much worth a 15 seconds ad. Especially if it is 15 seconds over a 2 hour period of music I love.

And, as stated above, it's intrusive in a minimal sense.

Pandora: What's that? (1)

GuerreroDelInterfaz (922857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544731)

A US-only thingy it seems. I wanted to suscribe but that's not allowed to us who live outside the frontiers of the Empire. So I had to "choose" LastFM.

Thus I don't think advertisement would be a bad thing if it allowed access to all of us non-USAmericans. And if it doesn't, it's an US-only issue.

--
El Guerrero del Interfaz

Radio (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544777)

It wouldn't be radio if it didn't have stupid adverts. I'm sure there'll be some dick spouting off shit next, competitions etc.

Blame The Major Labels... (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544899)

Blame the major recording labels and their bought-and-paid-for congress-critters. This is purely the result of the major content producers'/distributors' attempts to kill off internet radio because they don't control it. This isn't about copyright, royalties, or any of that noise. It's about controlling distribution and what people see/hear. If they can't control it, they'll try everything they can to kill it.

Also, expect many countries outside the US to eventually follow along as treaties are signed to "harmonize" IP laws.

I'm afraid this whole thing (the attempts by the major content distributors to outlaw/regulate/legislate the way the internet works) is going to get really ugly before it's over.

Cheers!

Strat

Balls in a vice (1)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544901)

They have no choice. The industry put them into such a wringer that they have no choice but to find some way to generate revenue. It sucks, but the only way to get rid of ads is to put so much pressure on the board that decides the royalties that they almost have no choice but to drop the fees, but that's not going to happen; if this ensures Pandora's survival, I'm sure they'll find another way to try to kill Pandora.

The RIAA wants nothing less than 100% control over every distribution outlet for their controlled music, and the destruction of anything they don't control, be it artists or distribution outlets. It's as simple as that. To fight that kind of junta... I'll listen to a few ads.

Letter to Tim Westergren (1)

KurtisKiesel (905982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544981)

Dear Tim Westergren and Pandora Staff, I have been listening to Pandora for well almost 2 years now. I have introduced all my friends to it, and many use it. Sometimes I have had to defend your product as the superior way to listen to music and introduce new artists and music into your life. I have generally been very happy with Pandora and the experience of being a 10 hour a day listener of Pandora at my office. Last night however I experienced something that I will say was an absolute shame. When I arrived at home from work my wife was listening to her Pandora âquick mixâ(TM), I could tell because of the diversity of the station she was listening too, when an advertisement played over the digital air ways. I asked out loud. âoeIs that an advertisement on Pandora?â to which my wife responded, âoePandora has been playing those for a while now.â I feel robbed! I have several times checked out the visual advertisements on your pages, I listen to Pandora in Google Chrome just so I can see and click on the advertisements that are otherwise blocked in my Firefox browser. I have bought music through / because of Pandora. Right now I am seriously re-thinking that. You have to have competitors out there who donâ(TM)t play advertisements. Some of my friends have mentioned them before, maybe it is time I do some new research on them. From what I understand you only have chosen to homogenize a certain set of users, I donâ(TM)t know why you have not chosen to attack me with audio pollution in between songs. But when you do I will stop listening to Pandora Radio. Right now introducing anyone else to Pandora is on hold in my book. Frankly if my wife keeps getting advertisements I am going to try to convince her to stop listening as well. I need to go apologize to many of my friends who I told them Pandora was the listeners dream. -Kurtis Kiesel Pandora User since 02/09/07 http://www.pandora.com/people/kieselk [pandora.com]

And they still wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545087)

why people prefer to pirate songs. Sheesh.

]ma8e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545103)

Sorry Pandora, it's been fun (2, Insightful)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545187)

I have been using Pandora for years and have found a few new artists by using it, and I know they have struggled to make a profit, but this is the end for me. Besides the ads they have also shortened the time you can just listen tremendously now stopping the music and popping up the "Are you still listening?" dialog every 5 minutes.

Pandora is a company/project that could be profitable in so many creative ways but the asshats behind it seem to only know intrusive ads in one way or another. It is a classic case of tunnel vision and a complete lack of creativity and effort.

I plan on emailing them my thoughts before just disappearing, and I'd urge anyone who uses it to do the same.

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