When going into business, it is important to find a business model that works well for both you and your customers.

I have been listening to Pandora Internet Radio for a long time. Usually, I turn the radio on in the morning as I am getting ready for work. Sometimes at work or in the car when I am driving, but mostly in the morning. So why am I sharing this with you?

Well here’s why… Pandora has a flawed business model. Pandora’s goal is not to help the world listen to music, their true goal is making money. Now granted, we all have to make money, heck Sound Convictions is looking to add a revenue engine to the site, but only so we can fund doing more for the musicians and music lovers, not just to line our pockets.

Pandora’s #1 Google web listing says a few things I find misleading to the consumer. See the screen shot image of their listing below.

Pandora internet radio sucks

The first thing they say is “Listen to Free Music You’ll Love” then it goes on to say Pandora is Free and Listen to Free Internet Radio and Pandora-One offers unlimited-free listening. Are you seeing a pattern here? Yes, they keep pushing that their service is free and it is if you like bad ads. I’m an advertising guy who hates interruption based ads (ads that do not pertain to my life and interrupt what I am doing, like listening to music). Anyhow, this is great, but I got tired of the ads so I upgraded to Pandora One which removes all the ads.

Here’s the problem and why I’m writing this article. Pandora overall is a good app, where they drop the ball is not playing music continually once you start playing it. Because some people do not listen to Pandora at a computer, and may not be sitting next to the radio as it is playing. Some people are filling their life with music as the soundtrack of their life. As an example, I do everyday things like clean the house, take a shower, cook, take out the trash, etc. You get the picture.

Pandora has to pay for each song it plays so there is some sort of royalties or something for each song played. Ok, I get this, the artist should get paid. However what I do NOT get is why Pandora feels the need to turn off my radio. I guess they send out a little message saying are you still listening? And they expect you to say “yes, keep playing” or say nothing in which case they turn the radio off.

Here’s the deal I understand Pandora is trying to stay profitable. This is extremely important in business, I know it all too well. BUT… if I’m on the other side of the room and do not catch this, Pandora just shuts me down. The point here is Pandora is not a music lifestyle company, their focus is on profits only in my opinion. Of course, if they removed this feature, they would lose some money for people who waste the ongoing radio play with no one around. But for the people like me frustrated because my music is turned off, it might be ok to take a hit on long hours of music play in order to keep me paying for this service. Especially when I’m in the zone and loving life. Being shut down makes some of us pissed that we paid money to this type of racket.

Pandora, if you want to keep your paying customers happy, make sure your business is set up to service them (probably very passionate music lovers). Also, service them… how they want to be serviced, not how you think they should be serviced. This is the #1 rule of business and in today’s marketplace finding a replacement is very easy to do.

Quick questions for you:

  • What are your thoughts on this?
  • Have you used Pandora?
  • Have you paid for Pandora One and had them shut you down?
  • How do you feel about this?
  • What do you see as a better alternative to help Pandora solve this?

Share your thoughts below in the comments.