Pandora Radio Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about Pandora Radio

New Pandora Radio
New Pandora Radio. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to, Inc.

What is The Idea Behind Pandora Radio and How Did it Begin?

Pandora Radio originates from the Music Genome Project which was first realized in 1999 by Tim Westergren and Will Glazer. The initial idea was to create a complex mathematical-based system that could classify and group similar music using an array of 'virtual genes'. The system today is reported to use around 400 different genes in its genome in order to accurately identify music tracks and organize them in a relational way.

What Type of Music Service is Pandora Radio and How Does it Work?

Pandora Radio is classified as a personalized music service. Rather than simply listening to radio stations (Web radio) that broadcast pre-compiled playlists over the Internet, Pandora's music library uses the patented Music Genome Project to recommend songs based on your input. It gets this from your feedback when you either click the like or dislike button for a song.

Can I Get Pandora Radio in My Country?

Compared to other digital music services that stream, Pandora Radio has a very small foot print on the global stage. Currently, the service is only available to sign up to in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United States

The reason for this restricted number of countries is mainly due to licensing.

Can I Access Pandora Radio From my Mobile Device?

Pandora Radio currently offers good support for streaming content to several mobile platforms.

This includes: iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and WebOS.

Does Pandora Radio Offer a Free Account?

Yes, you can listen for free without having to pay a subscription for Pandora One. However, there are limitations to be aware of if choosing this route. The first one is that you'll notice songs come with short advertisements.

This is so Pandora Radio can afford to keep this free option going by slipstreaming ads that generate some revenue every time they are played. The other limitation in using the free Pandora Radio account is song skip limits. Currently there is a maximum number of times you can use the skip feature in order to go to the next song. For the free account you can only skip 6 times per hour in any one station -- with a total skip limit of 12 for the day. If you hit this limit you'll need to wait for this to be reset. This is done after midnight so you'll need to wait until then before you can use the service again.

If you're a light user, you may find that these limitations are quite tolerable. However, to really use Pandora Radio to its fullest you might want to consider paying $36 a year for Pandora One which will give you a lot more functionality and better quality streams.

What Audio Format and Bitrate Does Pandora Radio Use to Stream Songs?

Audio streams are compressed using the AACPlus format. If you are using Pandora Radio for free then the bitrate is set at 128 kbps. However, if subscribing to Pandora One, high quality streams will be available that deliver the music at 192 kbps.

For a full look at this personalized Internet radio service, read our in-depth review of Pandora Radio that gives you the low-down on all its features.

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