Pandora, denied!

Nooooooooooooooo!

Pandora have finally clamped down their ‘you can only listen from the US’ rule – previously they’d, ahem, ‘enforced’ it by asking you to enter a US Zip code, a field ‘creatively’ used by pretty much everybody outside the US who loved their service. I’m sure the population of the 90210 zip code is about 1000 times what it should be according to Pandora’s records :) However, now they’ve finally started using the technology at their disposal to filter more aggressively, via geolocation software.

Pandora.com now says:

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

We believe that you are in United Kingdom (your IP address appears to be xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx). If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at pandora-support@pandora.com

They go on to say:

We will be notifying listeners as licensing agreements are established in individual countries. If you would like to be notified by email when Pandora is available in your country, please enter your email address below. The pace of global licensing is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our service everywhere.

I guess I’ll have to put up with the inferior services of Last.FM until they get UK licensing sorted out.  :(

  • http://www.rastullahs-lockenpracht.de/index.php Haffax

    I was about to propose http://globalpandora.com/ as an alternative access method, but right now they are in maintenance, whatever this means specifically. Hope this is only short and they are not shut down.

  • syedhs

    I believe you can get around it by using publi proxy server located in USA – but I never test it myself.

  • Raven

    You could always use a proxy server based in the US.

  • Falagard

    Canada has been shut out of Pandora, by IP address, for 8 months now.

    @Haffax: I didn’t know about globalpandora.com – I’m going to check that out.

  • Grey

    Being a Canadian who Loooves Pandora, I set up Tor on my openbsd router, you can force it to use only US exit nodes which should allow you to access pandora (I had to use Squid and say “Anything that’s Pandora.com send through Tor, everything else goes through the caching proxy”), It was… yeah a bit of a pain to set up, but worth it to enjoy music for the last while,

  • Dan

    Try http://www.hidemyass.com/
    Appears to work with Pandora.com for me.

    @Steve: This blog post displays fine in firefox, but IE 7, for me anyway, is having a problem displaying it. It cuts off after “If you believe we have made a mistake, we apologize and ask that you please contact us at “. This little script just before the mailto might be the culprit:

    <!– Begin
    user = “pandora-support”;
    site = “pandora.com”;
    document.write(\’‘);
    document.write(user + ‘@’ + site + ”);
    // End –>

  • http://www.stevestreeting.com Steve

    @Dan: Ugh, that’ll teach me to copy & paste into FCKEditor without looking at the source :) Should be gone now.

    I’m giving Last.FM another chance since I haven’t tried it for ages, before reverting to proxy systems – it was missing way too many artists last time I tried it but that was ages ago – we’ll see. Thanks for the suggestions though.

    It’s odd that other countries lost access to Pandora earlier, it was working fine for me as recently as last week.

  • Dan

    @Steve: That did the trick, thanks. Brittle IE really should have handled it better. Kudos to firefox. :)

  • http://www.kieransenior.co.uk Kezzer

    I’ve always been using Last.FM. It’s “okay”, but it does come up with some entirely random music sometimes which has nothing to do with the tags you entered. I remembered briefly seeing Pandora and remembering how good it was.

  • pandora-killer

    DONT DESPAIR guys salvation is here:
    use OpenPandora player + Tor proxies

    http://openpandora.googlepages.com/ – the player
    msgtowin – only the syntax stuff and edit properties – i still have to settle some things – the guide
    http://www.torproject.org/download.html.en – get Tor

    Enjoy

  • http://www.spannerworx.com Paul

    Yeah Im definately feeling the Pandora pain here too. Ever since you mentioned the site on this blog Ive been hooked and acting like their top PR man, flogging it to everyone.

    I got a similar email last week, but because there is a FaceBook addon for Pandora (which I use) I got a follow-up email saying that the FaceBook plugin will continue to work (but not actually play any music!) so I keep my stations, my favourite song and artist bookmarks etc. presumably for when the UK gets more agreeable laws and prices. Which will probably never happen.
    They also mentioned the online petition on the UK government pages which we should probably force people to sign here: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveNetRadioUK

  • http://www.stevestreeting.com Steve

    @Paul: I’ve signed it now!

  • PeterNewman

    After getting hooked on Pandora from your blog, Australia got blocked quite a while ago now, approximately a year by my vague estimate. I’d guess your little islands IP address block possibly wasn’t properly recognised as being part of the UK.

    I could have gone through a US proxy, but I figure if they are getting leaned on enough to do IP based blocking, the next lean they’ll get is proxy blocking, which will be even more intrusive. Maybe they’ll be required to ask for a US Social Security Number as well as just a postcode.

  • Tau

    I have a spare bedroom, Steve ;)
    You can enjoy Pandora over here if u move :D

  • http://www.stevestreeting.com Steve

    @Peter: I think they only blocked out the UK at the end of last week, I’m not sure why it took so long compared to other places. Last.fm is a bit better than I remember, still not Pandora though.

  • http://www.spannerworx.com Paul

    Your email appears to be different from mine, so just for interest here is the one I received (he explains why the UK was the last bastion of hope outside the US):


    This is an email I hoped I would never have to send.

    As you probably know, in July of 2007 we had to block usage of Pandora outside the U.S. because of the lack of a viable license structure for Internet radio streaming in other countries. It was a terrible day. We did however hold out some hope that a solution might exist for the UK, so we left it unblocked as we worked diligently with the rights organizations to negotiate an economically workable license fee. After over a year of trying, this has proved impossible. Both the PPL (which represents the record labels) and the MCPS/PRS Alliance (which represents music publishers) have demanded per track performance minima rates which are far too high to allow ad supported radio to operate and so, hugely disappointing and depressing to us as it is, we have to block the last territory outside of the US.
    Based upon the IP address from which you recently visited Pandora, it appears that you are listening from the UK. If you are, in fact, listening from the US, please contact Pandora Support: pandora-support@pandora.com.
    It continues to astound me and the rest of the team here that the industry is not working more constructively to support the growth of services that introduce listeners to new music and that are totally supportive of paying fair royalties to the creators of music. I don’t often say such things, but the course being charted by the labels and publishers and their representative organizations is nothing short of disastrous for artists whom they purport to represent – and by that I mean both well known and indie artists. The only consequence of failing to support companies like Pandora that are attempting to build a sustainable radio business for the future will be the continued explosion of piracy, the continued constriction of opportunities for working musicians, and a worsening drought of new music for fans. As a former working musician myself, I find it very troubling.
    We have been told to sign these totally unworkable license rates or switch off, non-negotiable…so that is what we are doing. Streaming illegally is just not in our DNA, and we have to take the threats of legal action seriously. Lest you think this is solely an international problem, you should know that we are also fighting for our survival here in the US, in the face of a crushing increase in web radio royalty rates, which if left unchanged, would mean the end of Pandora.
    We know what an epicenter of musical creativity and fan support the UK has always been, which makes the prospect of not being able to launch there and having to block our first listeners all the more upsetting for us.
    We know there is a lot of support from listeners and artists in the UK for Pandora and remain hopeful that at some point we’ll get beyond this. We’re going to keep fighting for a fair and workable rate structure that will allow us to bring Pandora back to you. We’ll be sure to let you know if Pandora becomes available in the UK. There may well come a day when we need to make a direct appeal for your support to move for governmental intervention as we have in the US. In the meantime, we have no choice but to turn off service to the UK.
    Pandora will stop streaming to the UK as of January 15th, 2008.
    Again, on behalf of all of us at Pandora, I’m very, very sorry.

    -Tim Westergren
    (Pandora founder)

  • http://www.rastullahs-lockenpracht.de/index.php Haffax

    http://globalpandora.com/ is working again, yay. :D

  • http://www.grall.freejoomlas.com nikki

    You can also try out http://www.deezer.com.

  • Fra

    Um. I am in the U.S.

    What is the deal?