in Opinions

Dear Pandora: stop playing the same songs all the time

Lifehacker did a great write-up on why streaming music services have a long way to go before they can replace good ‘ol fashioned mp3 music libraries.

But I’d like to add one more feature that’s lacking: Smart Playlists. Right now, my biggest gripe with streaming music services is that I hear the same 100 or so songs all the time. This problem is especially prevalent on Pandora.

But I never have that problem with my iPod. I have an iTunes Smart Playlist that contains my entire music library—except those songs that have played within the last 3 months. This is extremely simple to set up. The result is an always-updated playlist of fresh music. If Rdio or Spotify included this feature, I’d take streaming music services more seriously.

But I know why they don’t have this. Streaming is expensive and choices are limited. Netflix is the worst offender of this. They used to remove rated titles from its “Recommended for You” section. But since their selection is somewhat lacking, Netflix bloats their suggestions with movies and TV I’ve already watched and rated. I hate this, as it requires me to wade through a bunch of titles to find actual recommendations.

I don’t think this will be a problem in 5 years. But it’s a problem now and I can’t wait for it to get fixed.