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 Pandora.com 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 beta-feedback@pandora.com. 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: http://www.pandora.com/desktop and don’t forget to send us your feedback.


  1. Jeremy GIllick
    June 03, 2008 at 5:22pm
    This is great, I'm downloading it now. I've been waiting for an official desktop Pandora app for awhile. Thanks!
  2. Ramin
    June 03, 2008 at 5:41pm
    Downloaded and installed. A few quick thoughts... - Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see much of a difference between this version and the Web site. Perhaps, some differentiation would provide a good reason for people to download and install the app. - A good differentiator would be integration with other desktop apps (like IM or iTunes), third-party web-services (like Last.FM), maybe a scheduler/alarm-clock that plays music, or even keeping a playlist on the local disk. Things that would not be so easy to do in the browser. - If you want to go more social with it, then integrated IM in the desktop client might be one way to take it. - It's not clear from your post whether ads will be included in the desktop app if one has paid up for a subscription. I'm guessing not, but it's worth clearing up. - On my MacBook Pro C2D, both CPU cores are pegged at 95%. Boy, you weren't kidding! Looking forward to subsequent revisions.
  3. Matthew
    June 03, 2008 at 5:58pm
    Woha this is awesome! just trying it out now (first comment yah)
  4. Tom Conrad
    June 03, 2008 at 6:39pm
    Hi Ramin, Absolutely this is just a start for us -- just a baby step. The benefits over the website are in fact pretty modest right now to be sure but we wanted to get it out there both to start getting feedback and to gauge demand. Tom CTO @ Pandora PS: Totally right that subscribers won't see ads on the desktop or on the web.
  5. Chris Messina
    June 03, 2008 at 6:40pm
    Why not just point to PandoraBoy, which is free and open source? Relying on Air seems unnecessary, even though it gets you the PC platform for free. http://code.google.com/p/pandoraboy/
  6. drew olanoff
    June 03, 2008 at 6:42pm
    This is a great start and this is honestly what i've been waiting for from you guys!!! Browser free Pandora goodness. w00t w00t w00t!
  7. Chris
    June 03, 2008 at 7:17pm
    Pandora for Chumby please :-)
  8. Nathan Gimpel
    June 03, 2008 at 7:18pm
    Some controls (at least the "thumbs up/thumbs down") would be terrific on the Mac menubar. The UI could use a revamping, something you guys are probably already working on. I know this is probably an issue for farther down the road but some Growl or QS integration would be much appreciated.
  9. Renee
    June 03, 2008 at 7:20pm
    This would be VERY useful to me if it cuts down on the bandwidth being used for Pandora. If it does, I can make a case for installing it on my workplace Mac.
  10. Joe Lazarus
    June 03, 2008 at 7:33pm
    Congrats on the launch. I agree that it could use some more desktop-specific functionality (maybe scan my iTunes library and recommend new Pandora stations based on my most played artists), but it's a great start. If nothing else, it helps reduce the chance that I'll accidentally close the window mid stream.

Comments are closed.