From the lab: Pandora Desktop Beta

Update: The Beta version of the desktop application described in this blog was pretty much a failed experiment for us. We learned a lot though and just today launched a totally new desktop player that is part of our Pandora One subscription offering. Learn all about Pandora One here: Pandora One, the new destkop app here: Pandora One Desktop and share your comments with us here: Blog Post announcing Pandora One
And for posterity, here’s the original post on the “old style” desktop app:

We’ve always wanted to find a simple way to deliver Pandora as a desktop application — it’s probably been on our to do list longer than any single feature. Today we’re dipping our toe into those waters for the first time with the release of a Beta version of Pandora Desktop.
Truth is, this little guy is pretty simple. It’s just a way to pull Pandora out of a browser window and make it accessible with a single click from the Windows tray or Mac dock. We’ve built in quick access to common Pandora features from the tray/dock menu (pause, change stations, etc). If nothing else it ensures that you’ll never accidentally browse away from Pandora and lose your stream.
One big caveat: it’s important to understand that at Pandora we have big licensing and streaming bills to pay and from the beginning we’ve been working hard to figure out that piece of the puzzle. That means that advertising is an integral part of the Pandora experience and in an effort to keep the advertising as unobtrusive as possible we’ve focused on graphical ads rather than audio ads. The one downside to that is that we need lots of pixels to run the ads, so one thing you’ll find with the desktop app is it’s not some tiny little widget. As nice as that would be, it would make it basically impossible for us to cover our costs with advertising. So, at least for now, the main window of Pandora Desktop (which you can minimize) looks pretty much exactly like the home page.
One little caveat: this is a Beta and we’re asking you to take a look and send us your thoughts and feedback to We’re interested in everything from bug reports, to feature requests, to commentary about the general utility of the application.
The application is built using Adobe AIR, which should automatically install if you don’t already have it. If you have trouble with that step, there are links for a two-step manual install too.
Known issues: performance of the Mac version is more CPU intesive than we’d like it to be. This seems to be an Adobe AIR issue and we’re working with Adobe to understand what we might be able to do to improve the situation.
To get started, visit this page: and don’t forget to send us your feedback.


The Pandora Team

129 thoughts on “From the lab: Pandora Desktop Beta

  1. UGH! Has this project been abandoned? Why can’t the pop-up issue be fixed?
    It’d be a semi-decent alternative to using Pandora through a browser if pop-ups would just freaking work.
    Also… WHY ARE THERE NO ADS? Isn’t that the whole freaking point of it being this big and sacrificing usability? Don’t you want money?
    Also, if you’d make a small, mini-player without ads available I’d happily become a subscriber… as I’m sure lots others would too. Once again: DON’T YOU WANT MONEY!?
    I love Pandora but this is really confusing for me.

  2. I really like the release of this new Pandora desktop. I appreciate all the work that went into making an application for multiple OS support, to stream random music selections.
    My one question or maybe suggestion is, here at our business we have XM playing to our internal speaker systems throughout our building, and we hate it. It is choppy and the system for it is bulky, and has a single point of configuration for changing stations.
    Does Pandora have a road map for building a Pandora for Business Desktop application, that would be a larger fee, yet have a better pause timeout? It would be nice if you had an application you could set to only stream for business hours (7-7), and then the stream would turn off. This would then allow our CEO / Execs the control of what music we have playing, lets be honest that is the highlight of their day, but also allows for Pandora to put in a type of Parental controls on which type of songs would be played and a larger fee to charge (XM $135 a year). We don’t really care about bandwidth utilization.
    Suggestion: Pandora Box… A small Asic with a network interface, a management app and a 3.5 headset jack, that just does Pandora radio.
    Thanks again for this desktop app, it is a step in the right direction.

  3. I wish that the new Pandora|One app could be hidden by closing the window. The previous version of Pandora desktop allowed me to close the window but keep Pandora playing. I am wishing I wouldn’t have downloaded this new version as I find it annoying to have it up in my taskbar the whole day. Just a suggestion for the next version – perhaps you could work that functionality back into the app.

  4. Hilary you actually can play the new player “closed.” Just use the close button to close the player, it will still be running in your notification area in your taskbar, but will be paused. All you have to do is right click on the Pandora icon and hit play. Kind of an bass ackwards way of doing it, but it can be done. The guys at Pandora just need to make it so it does not pause on “close”. Also make sure you have the “Always display in taskbar tray” option seleted in the preferences of the desktop app.

  5. I’ve used this for months without a problem. Starting this week though I’ve had problems. Anytime I click play, skip or pause in the Player it opens a web browser and opens Pandora there. Its ends up on the right station, but it plays two songs: one on the app and the other on the browser. What’s up?

  6. this sucks this used to be free i want the free one why should i have to upgrade a free service just to get a desktop app

  7. Just like Justin – I thought this app was great until recently where now clicking to learn more about the artist, it tells me that my pop ups are blocked (they are not) or if I click to vote on a song it opens another instance of Pandora through the web browser. I wonder if this was this a function of the Safari update to version 4? I’m also disappointed that we have to subscribe for the new app.
    I tried Pandoraboy, but it didn’t provide the artist info (or not that I saw) and you could not resize the window.

  8. Is the Pause on Close (minimize to tray) a feature or a Bug? I don’t want to have to go to the tray icon, right click and click play every time I close the window.

  9. I’d add to the cacophony of requests for a Linux version. I am a paying Pandora One customer who uses Linux exclusively. Thanks!

  10. 1. Hotkeys that work anywhere (not just when the app has focus).
    2. Integration with keyboard media keys.
    3. Volume control that works with one click instead of three! (#2 would answer the need.)
    4. Vote for Linux version.
    5. Vote for Pandora support of G1 Android phone.
    Thank you.

  11. Still waiting on media keyboard shortcuts. If this is a limitation of AIR, then perhaps using AIR as a platform for the premium desktop client is a mistake. OpenPandora (Windows) supports media keys, and PandoraBoy (Mac) supports customizable global keyboard shortcuts and the Apple remote. Both are free apps.

  12. This application isn’t SUPPOSED to give you more features than what you’d get running Pandora in a web browser; it’s merely supposed to provide a means of running the player in a standalone fashion.

  13. i’ve installed the pandora desktop app on my teaching computer (so I have access to nothing), it’s installed, but I can’t open it since I can’t find it. I need a way to open it without being able to get to it. I can’t uninstall it and reinstall in a location where I can get to.
    I should have installed in my docs instead of c drive where I can’t get to.
    Any ideas?

  14. @ben james
    It sounds like you’ll need your network administrator to uninstall the application for you, before you can reinstall it in a more suitable location.

  15. One very cool feature for Pandora Desktop would be if you could control it from the iPhone ala Apple remote with iTunes. I’ve got a Dell Zino with speakers as my MP3 jukebox. With Pandora Desktop installed and an iPhone remote it would blow my mind.

  16. Salute everybody, I am new to this website, I have just subscribed and the webpage looks awesome. I am quite tech savy so I will be more then happy to help if any person has any tech-related issues. Anyway, I am a first time visitor who hopes to become a everyday visitor :)
    Much obliged

  17. I’ve been using Pandora for a while and have put work into my “favorite” station. Is there a limit on the number of thumbs-up (or down) songs one can have for a particular station? When I look at the list of thumbs up music it is limited to 500 songs, when sorted by date the oldest one is only July of this year, what has happened to the songs which were thumbs-up’ed before then?

  18. I too am having the web browser open up every time I click on anything on the page. So I end up having pandora desktop and web at the same time. Kinda annoying to keep closing the browser. But I love pandora so I just use the web player instead.

  19. Just an FYI for all you linux fans. Adobe AIR is available for linux on the Adobe website. Download AIR, download the desktop app from pandora (ignore the windows/MAC only) and you now have the Pandora Desktop client. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
    Feature wish list: Intigration with Media Keys. Have ya’ll thought of making this an opensource application? I bet media key support would be done withing a few weeks. I’d take a shot at developing it.

  20. In pandora one: If you vote down a song and switch to a new channel, the album art for the down voted song is the album art for the new song, a bug.

  21. Would love integration with the media keys on my keyboard – Pause/Play obviously, Fwd for next track and Rwd to open a menu to thumb up/down?

  22. I used to run Windows. I Hate Windows due to the unnecessary stupidity in the operations of it. I now run Linux (More specifically Zorin Os Ultimate) And it has all the capabilities as windows, but the Desktop App is not compatible with it. Please put out a version for Linux, Or you risk losing a customer.

  23. Can’t we have a desktop app that will give me a full screen experience similar to what you get with Boxee? If you come out with that, then you will have me as a paying customer. A Windows Media Center plugin would be fantastic as well.
    Take a look at the boxee integration and do something similar for WMC and a native windows/mac full screen app.