When Pandora Radio first appeared on the Internet back in 2006 it was free to use for all users regardless of country of origin. This soon changed when the country restrictions kicked in which effectively shut out users from outside the United States. While there are ways to bypass that, for instance by using the Media Hint extension for Google Chrome, it is limiting the service's exposure significantly.
Jango Radio has been around since 2007, a year after Pandora first emerged on the scene. The service offers pretty much the same as Pandora: enter the name of an artist into the search form to create a new radio station that is customized based on that artist, or tune into one of the existing stations instead which are popular currently.
What makes Jango special is that it is not country-restricted. While I cannot guarantee that it works from every country, it appears to work just fine from many at the very least.
According to Jango's help section, the service has access to more than 30 million songs that users can listen to. A couple of quick tests revealed that popular artists are usually found without issues while you may not be as lucky in regards to lesser known artists. That's however only really a problem if you like to listen to niche music and even here, the selection is usually quite ok.
Once you have created your own radio station or tuned into one, you are taken to a page full of information and the music player itself. Here you get biographic information, links to pictures and videos, options to buy music, a selection of stations that cover the band and links to similar stations that you can all tune in.
You can add songs to your favorites or ban them right from the player interface. Banning them makes sure that they are no longer included your rotation which makes it an effective tool in blocking songs from ever playing again on Jango.
You can click on the edit station link on the same page, even if you are not logged in, to add other artists to the station and to change how similar songs need to be to be played on the station.
If you add more than one artist you mix music so that you may get a selection of fine tuned songs in the end. You can tweak the matching algorithm to limit the variety of music or increase it instead.
While you can run Jango Radio in the background at all times once you have started to play a station, you can also make use of the various features that it makes available to you.
This includes the artist's biography,options to load the lyrics of the song currently playing, as well as access to pictures and videos featuring that artist.
There are no limitations in regards to the stations that you can create, or the artists that you can add to individual stations. What may be even more interesting is the ability to skip as many songs as you want, as there does not seem to be a limit imposed on you either in this regard.
Advertisement appears to the main revenue source of the website. That in itself is not problematic even though you may find several ads scattered around on the page. The service will in addition to that interrupt music once a day to display an overlay ad to you.
After several songs, you will also receive an overlay to register an account, which is displayed to you whenever a new song gets played. Creating an account is free on the other hand and you are free to sign up by email or Facebook, or skip the overlay registration form each time.
If you like Pandora Radio but cannot really use it because of its restrictions, you may find a more than suitable alternative in Jango Radio. The site is not a 1:1 copy of Pandora Radio, and that is definitely a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
While you may need to create an account to reduce some of the sites - few - nuisances, it is done in a matter of seconds and provides you with access to additional features that you would not have otherwise have access to.
If you like music, this is definitely a site that deserves a place in your bookmarks.
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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.