When I’m coding I usually like to have some music playing, but often I get bored with my own MP3 collection so I usually use a internet radio station. The great thing about the ratings based stations is that you pick what sound you are looking for and say if you like or dislike it and the station adjusts. Here is my own comparison of Pandora vs Last.fm.
When I setup a Chuck Berry station on Last.fm, it was playing stuff not only from the 50′s but also Metallica, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam. I think it was too broad in finding similar music and on a whole Last.fm is much more broad in finding other songs to play than Pandora. I’ve also noticed that the volume of the songs being played on Last.fm are sometimes quiet, too loud or sometimes just right. Pandora has all their music at the same volume which is nice, because that means I don’t have to fiddle with the volume. The “social networking” aspects of Last.fm outweigh Pandora by a long shot but Pandora did add some new features lately. The only other thing Last.fm beats Pandora in is their wider collection of music. If I look for the band Justifide or Reform the Resistance in Pandora, I get nothing but Last.fm seems to have even the obscure and lesser known bands. I think Pandora outdoes Last.fm in many ways right now, since its radio stations are more finely tuned to what you like and are the same volume. The one thing that bugs me about Pandora is that sometimes they play the same songs too much, although u can click on a button to tell them not to play a song for another month. I cant say I used Last.fm as many hours as Pandora so I don’t know if they do the same thing or not, the volume changes were just too irritating to deal with, for me to use if for very long.