Monday, May 14, 2007

Pandora Shuns Canadians

I just got an e-mail from Pandora, the Internet radio site, indicating that I can no longer use their site. Why? Because I'm Canadian.

Apparently, this has something to do with "international licensing constraints".

They say: "In the U.S. there is a federal statute that provides this license for all the music streamed on Pandora. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent license outside the U.S. and there is no global licensing organization to enable any webcaster to legitimately offer its service around the world. The volume of listening on Pandora makes it a very expensive service to run. Streaming costs are very high, and since our inception, we have been making publishing and performance royalty payments for every song we play."

Then they continue to say that: "Until last week, we have not been able to tell where a listener is based, relying only on zip code information provided upon registration. We are now able to recognize a listener's country of origin based on the IP address from which they are accessing the service. Consequently, on May 16th, we will begin blocking access to Pandora to listeners from Canada. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative."

Within the e-mail, they mentioned that they've detected that my ip address (not my home ip) has been determined to be Canadian, and therefore is banned. Sounds like we are entering a Canadian Bacon-esque cold war. Well, apparently their detection functionality isn't so great, because I just logged on to Pandora from home and it works fine. And my home ISP is decidedly Canadian. So, perhaps now the FCC (or whoever else is the Big Brother of the day) should be investigating the way Pandora is aiding and abetting the flow of Yani tracks into Canada. Is that what we get in exchange for Neil Young and Garth Hundson? Yikes! Bad Deal!

In the final analysis, this isn't such a big loss. is much better, in my opinion, anyways. There are only one or two areas in which Pandora is better than So, there are a couple things about Pandora that I will miss. However, those advantages pale in comparison annoyances of Pandora (such as limited skipping). I've already, generally speaking, been using instead of Pandora for some time now. I don't suppose Pandora is enticing enough to make me spoof my IP :)

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