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What's with Pandora's "skip limitation"?

by GotoDengo / August 10, 2008 2:39 PM PDT

I finally checked out Pandora recently, after using Hype Machine for several months. Despite Hypem's advantage of MP3's, I'm finding I like Pandora better.

One thing I do think is odd is their max-skips-per-hour rule, like 10 per hour. What's up with that? It seems like most legit streaming options (amazon, etc) limit you to a few seconds per song. But at Pandora it seems the opposite... no sampling just a few seconds of related artists, but streaming all of the songs in their entirety is just fine.

What's the intent here? It would seem like skipping would be fine, since you're exposed to more artists and stand a better chance of finding something to purchase. Plus, the paranoid RIAA types can be pretty sure you're not copying small snippets of a boatload of songs.

It's not too hard to bounce over to another station... curious if anyone has any idea why this limitation would exist. TIA.

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The solution I found was to use Last FM instead
by minimalist / August 10, 2008 10:28 PM PDT

They don't have this ridiculous skip limitation (or at least they didn't the last time I used it). No matter how good the algorithm, its really hard for a computer to understand the intricacies of musical taste. Skipping is a necessity on a service like this.

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This is not new.
by zkam / August 12, 2008 9:22 AM PDT

As I recall, Pandora has always had a skip limitation. I know I've run into it before (fairly early on, and I have used it on and off for a few years now). And I haven't used it in at least 3 months now, so I know for sure that it's not new.

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RIAA
by KatoKatonian / August 11, 2008 1:19 AM PDT

I imagine it's a limitation put in place by the RIAA. Their reasoning is that if you could skip all you want, you could eventually get to a specific song you are looking for. If you can do that, then it's like being able to dial up any song and listen to it. If you can do that, then why would you ever buy a song from them (their logic, not mine). As far as I know, streaming radio stations and the like rarely allow you the opportunity to request a specific song to listen to.

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but LastFM does exactly this.
by minimalist / August 11, 2008 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: RIAA

I don't know how they are monetizing it but you can request to listen to an entire album and it seems you can skip forward as much as you like. Its basically on demand streaming radio. Lost of major label stuff, not complete catalogs but pretty darn close.

This is definitely all about licensing but it seems to me Pandora is just not making the kinds of deals that LastFM is able to make.

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last.fm is owned by CBS
by ktreb / August 11, 2008 4:30 AM PDT

maybe MAJOR media company can make better deals

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licensing agreements
by ktreb / August 11, 2008 1:56 AM PDT

I suppose that by extension the RIAA is involved.

This is from the FAQ on Pandora:

Why can't I skip more than six songs per hour on a particular station?

This limit is part of our music licenses, which are what allow us to play such a wide range of great music for free. We recommend making a lot of stations, and just changing stations when you reach this limit. (Note that this is a rolling limit-- as soon as one hour passes from the first "Thumbs Down" or skip, you'll get another skip on that station, etc.)

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Switch between stations
by PuT6hpcu2Xh3f / August 11, 2008 12:52 PM PDT
In reply to: licensing agreements

I have a couple stations with different names but all the same artist seeds. I just pop between them if I get too many songs I'm not interested in.

But remember that Pandora learns, which is why I prefer it over Last.fm. The more feedback you give them the better they get. I've been using the service for about a year and I rarely skip any songs anymore unless I've just heard them too often.

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DMCA Stipulation
by cbucey / August 12, 2008 11:45 PM PDT
In reply to: licensing agreements

Correct - It is a result of their licenses, but as I recall from a Net@Nite (previously Inside the Net) interview with Tim Westergren (Pandora's CEO), I believe it is more specifically a stipulation of the DMCA.

http://thisweekintech.com/itn6

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skip limitation?
by Natronx / August 11, 2008 2:32 PM PDT

Yahoo Radio has a similar skip limitation too, so it's not that unique.

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