I have not looked at Pandora Radio ever since the service closed down its international access. Before that, I published two guides on saving Pandora music. That was back in 2006; Five years later and the situation has not changed a lot. Pandora is still only available for US Internet users and those who use virtual private networks (vpns) or web proxies to bypass the country IP limitation.
The two guides published in 2006 are obsolete now. They are both about software programs that are no longer available. This guide takes a look at a new and at the time of writing working method of downloading Pandora Radio to the PC. Even better, it uses a freeware application for that.
Head over to the Nirsoft website and download Video Cache View. Don't let the name irritate you, it supports audio as well. The program basically scans web browser caches for media files and displays all files it finds in its interface.
The portable software scans for all media file formats in all browser caches. That may be a bit much and the first thing that we need to do after starting Video Cache View is to restrict the listing to audio. Click on Options in the menu and remove the checkmark next to show video files.
Now head over to the Pandora website and tune into a radio station there. I suggest you pick one of the top streams that are listed on the start page while testing. Make sure the radio streams music to your computer. When it does, switch back to Video Cache View and either wait until the program refreshes the listing automatically, or click on the refresh button manually to see the song that is now playing in the listing.
Chance is, you see multiple audio files in the listing. Use the following indicators to locate the correct one that Pandora sent to your computer. You can first sort by browser to limit the display. The file size should be more than 1 Megabyte and less than 5 Megabytes. The Pandora Radio music files usually show up as .tmp files without content type and download url. A right-click on a file and the selection of Play opens the file in the default media player on the system.
Once you have identified the song that is playing right now right-click it again and select the Copy selected files to option from the context menu.
Please note that cached music files are removed from the cache automatically when the song stops. This means that you need to save the Pandora song while it is playing. You will always download the full song though no matter when you start the downloading.
Is there an easier way to download Pandora Radio music to the computer? Probably. It would for instance be nice if the identification and download could be automated, or if the cached files would not be deleted right away after the music stops playing.
Know of a different way to rip Pandora streams? Let me know in the comments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.