June 19, 2008 -- As quietly as it launched on Microsoft's
site two years ago, internet radio service Pandora
was discontinued from MSN around
midnight Wednesday. Pandora remains on its own web site, and user settings
Pandora, which was the home page for radio.msn.com, was replaced by a message
reading: "MSN Music has discontinued its radio service. Search for radio stations
and related services."
Speculation on the decision ranges from a lack of Pandora revenue relative
to RIAA royalties, to personal bias among Microsoft management. It is not
believed to be Pandora's decision, however the online radio provider may have
been too cautious about monetizing the audience with advertising.
Recently, more sites have been using interstitials, or rich media such as ZeroKlix
Pandora's service is considered legendary by some. A Seattle DJ and Pandora
fan Aaron Walters said, "I don't know what it means for Pandora to lose Microsoft,
but I guess I'll just change my bookmark."
In 2006, the Wall
reported, "Pandora's team of music analysts take songs
apart, assigning values to as many as 400 musical nuances per song; the service
then uses that information to compare songs and make recommendations."
Users can create multiple channels, skip songs, and vote them up or down.
Royalties for allowing users to select exactly what songs to listen to would
be cost prohibitive. For most broadcasters, bandwidth and royalty costs are
already too high for profitability. But when one service turns off, another
is likely to take its place.
In Spring 2008, it was reported
Pandora had more than eight million registered listeners with 2.75 million
unique visitors monthly and a database of over 400,000 songs.