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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Jango review

Update: I no longer use Jango because of the amount of advertising and feature crippling. I rather use Grooveshark. You should give it a try if you like to listen to streaming music.

jango_logo Disclaimer: I have no relation with the company, its owners or employees, other than being a user of their site. I receive no benefit (financial or otherwise) for writing this review.

After went to their 3 EUR/month model, I started looking around for alternatives. Not that I’m too cheap to pay that modest sum, but at the moment I don’t have a PayPal account (I’m in the process of setting it up, but being in Romania it can take some time). Of course most of the sites were USA only :-(, but then I found Jango.

What I liked:

  • It works outside of the USA (imagine that, people outside of the USA like music too – sarcasm off) and it is free
  • You have access to a large selection of artists
  • A very big plus: you can play almost any song at any time! There is some weird concept of “tuning into other people’s stations which are listening to the given song”, but I think that this is more to please the record companies than an actual fact (because if you leave your browser window open, you can click on the same link the next day and still listen to the song – it is improbable that someone is listening to the same song at all times). You don’t get access to all of the songs of a particular artist/band (only in very rare cases), but if they have many songs and you generally like the style of the band (otherwise why would you listen to it), you can play a few songs instantly. Compare this with where you don’t have any assurance that you will hear a particular artist, even though you created a station based on the given artist.

What I disliked:

  • Very basic “done by programmers” interface (I guess this is why they are looking for a front-end dev) which sometimes fails to work (for example at one moment adding a song from an other station to your stations didn’t do anything – it seems to be fixed now)
  • Their algorithm for “similar artists” is quite weak. Then again this seems to be the case with The last algorithm for “similar artists” which impressed me was the one from Pandora, which unfortunately I can’t use :(
  • They tend to push lesser known artists quite hard (I assume that this is an important part of their business model), but this combined with the previous point (weak similarity algorithm) makes it annoying
  • They tend to include a lot of aggressive advertising (which may stop the playback until the ad ends playing). This seems to come in waves (ie. sometimes a week goes by without any adverts, and then every 2-3 song I get an ad), but in the end you get what you pay for (you can’t complain too much)
  • They have some weird “social networking” features (like sending a “thanks” to somebody after you’ve listened to a song which they also listened to???), which seem completely superfluous and distracting
  • There are no widgets which I could use to display my played song on my blog for example

In the end I might stick with it (unless it too starts imposing some hard limits), at which moment I hopefully will have my PayPal account and more options available (like, the Zune store – even though I’m not sure that it works in Romania, etc)


  1. Anonymous11:00 AM

    Jango is great (though not as intuitive as Pandora used to be before they banned non Americans)

    But since the introduction of very aggressive advertising I must say that my enjoyment of the site has been tainted.

    What a shame that they have to throw advertising at you in this way and seriously spoil an otherwise great experience.

    Life is too freaking short of propaganda like this!

  2. It is free after all, and they need to sustain themselves somehow. It would be nice if they had a for-pay premium account without advertising though...

  3. Anonymous5:06 PM

    yeah it used to be good without too many ads, and the thing about new artists i find it is ok, but the problem is that most of the time have nothing in common with the style / genre of the station they play on. i think this is a good idea badly implemented that ends up hurting those new-coming bands. will try that grooveshark u've mentioned

  4. Well the artists pay to be on their, everytime you get an automatic play they have paid for that, thats how some artists are pushed.

    Also the similar artists are decided by the bands or artists that submit their music and has nothing to do with the site or programmers.

    It's a good site, you could have done a little more research before reviewing it though

  5. I have been using Jango and hardly see any ads on my own station. There are the sponsored artists, but that is not too bad at all!

  6. Anonymous12:36 AM

    aggressive ads on jango? not seeing it. the only thing that interrupts the music stream is the occasional indie artist tunes mixed in, if you can call that an interruption at all.

  7. Anonymous5:17 AM

    Jango removed the social community without notice. A lot of people had friends they lost. It is also how we shared our music. They care more about posting their ads. I would of been willing to pay a membership to keep everything I had. The ads, my IT Tech said most of them were malicous. Jango does not care about their consumer of their site. They are ignoring everyone that writes them. Most likely getting a ton of hate mail and requests to close accounts. To see they still have their website as social is a joke. I don't trust them if they brought back the community. They changed the layout several times without notice and everyone said nothing would line up or work when they tried to use it. If it's not broken don't fix it is not their policy. Jango will be Bankrupt in a week....Looks like I'm stuck with Pandora. I am hoping someone from Jango leaves & creates a new radio site for us to find our old friends. If I left Jango alone while I worked it did not interupt with ads like pandora does. Due to consumer pressure I hope Jango is forced to restore the community we were very use to for several years. A lot of smut & filth had taken over as of late. We are hoping this will be temporary. After all the site was about creating your own music stations and sharing music with friends! Jango kinda sucks right now.