From the category archives:


How To Get Ad Free Pandora For Free (Well, Sort of)

by Ryan on January 13, 2010

I didn’t know you could get ad free Pandora without paying $36 per year until I decided to BUY A SONOS. If you haven’t heard of Sonos, you’re not the only one.  I didn’t know about it until I read Jason Calacanis‘ blog and I just happened to be in the market for a home stereo at the time so I thought I would give it a shot.

Sonos Zoneplayer
-Photo: Sonos Zoneplayer

There are pro’s and con’s to my experience with Sonos to say the least, but over all it’s good…very good.  I’m a happy owner.   The biggest upside is AD-FREE PANDORA streaming throughout the house anytime we want it, and we can control it all wireless from any computer and my wife’s iPhone.  I’m not sure if the lack of ads is on purpose, or if it’s just a glitch in my household, but it’s been one whole week of music streaming in my house and I have not been served one single advertisement from Pandora (fingers crossed).  The biggest downside to the Sonos is its COMPLICATED SETUP PROCESS (I won’t bore you with it but it’s a total pain if you do not have the right router / networking hardware).

In short, Sonos is an easy way to wirelessly stream audio throughout your home and to stream music wireless to your stereo from any computer, an iPhone, and best of all, you stream the music from pretty much any music service the web – like Pandora (my personal favorite), (not bad), Napter, Rhapsody, AM / FM Radio and even International Radio.

Here’s why I really like it…it’s affordable ($399) and the sound quality is great considering the size of the speakers (it’s as small in size and about equal in quality to a Bose wave radio).

With a Sonos, you do not need to have your own local .mp3 collection to have access to tons of streaming music (particularly Ad Free Pandora).  This is huge.  You can easily stream cloud based music services and control them in a pretty slick interface (the Sonos Desktop controller and iPhone app) and pump the music through your home.  You can wirelessly add additional Sonos speakers (called Zoneplayers) and stream audio through any numbers of rooms or even outside, wherever you have power.

At first I was skeptical because I’ve experimented with the wireless iTunes streaming capabilities of Apple’s Airtunes hooked into a home stereo.  However, there is one main problem with this approach – the need for the following items / abilities:

1.  Local set of music (i.e. huge local library of content on your computer’s hard drive or an external hard drive, which are prone to failure over time), and

2.  The inability for AirTunes to stream music services (other than your local .mp3/CD collection) though AirTunes. This issue may one day be solved with LaLa Airtunes integration, but for now, it remains an outstanding issue and Sonos solves this problem by enabling streaming of pretty much every web / cloud based music service out there.


Given my experience with Sonos, the company seems ripe for an acquisition by Apple one day. If Apples want to gain market position in home entertainment and compete with Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation, then this acquisition makes a lof of sense.  The only issue being that I am not sure Apple has ever acquired another hardware manufacturer before; there’s always a first time for everything right?.   The Sonos product line is already designed to look just like Apple’s products – white and minimalist.  Perhaps it was designed this way intentionally by the folks at Sonos to set themselves up for a potential Apple partnership one day?  I think Apple should acquire them, work out the networking bugs, and push the Sonos to Apple fans as a home entertainment/ streaming music solution.  Sonos would fit well into Apple’s present product offering.

A Lot Can Happen In Just A Few Short Years

by Ryan on December 24, 2009

So it’s been 22 months since I last wrote a personal blog post.  From time to time over the past 22 months, I’ve done some blogging on the music industry over at the AudioMicro royalty free music blog, but for the most part, I have had my nose to the grindstone growing the business at AudioMicro and not blogging for personal pleasure.  Now it’s the holiday season and while my email inbox is slow, it seems like a good time to get back into the swing of things.  I”ll try and make a weekly post from this point hereafter.  Of course, we’ll see how it goes.  If I can post monthly, let’s consider that an accomplishment.  To ease my way back into this, why not recap what’s been happened in the last 22 months since my last post?

A quick look at my old posts reveals a lot about how quickly things can change…

-In September 2007, Windows Mobile teamed with Palm to release the TREO 700wx on Verizon.  This phone was supposed to be a game changer.   iPhones weren’t even around.  Palm has since struggled to survive.

-The Dow reached an all time high of 14,100 in late 2007 and in early 2008 Jim Kramer was even talking about the possibility of a rally that would break through that all time high.  Breaking through 14,000 seems light years away today, though I would not be surprised to see it happen by the end of 2012 (just 3 years from today).

-In Feb 2008 the Tennessee Vols were the #2 ranked men’s bball team in the country.  They ended up losing in the first round of the NCAA tourney.

-Cloud Computing and browser based software solutions were just beginning to come to market.  Fast forward less than 2 years and nearly every software on the market has browser based capabilities and many of these applications can be accessed via mobile phone.

-Just 3 years ago, I dreamed of building my own business in the licensing space, and out of this desire grew the stock music library, which now possesses over 200,000 individual tracks which are routinely licensed into new media applications including hilarious web videos, popular video blogs, iPhone apps, and even cable TV shows.

Looking back on the past 3 years is humbling.  It’s amazing to see what has been accomplished.  At the same time that I am amazed, I am troubled by the state of the economy and the impact that recession can have on people.  The good news is that I truly feel that the worst is behind us.  I have felt this way for quite some time now.  There really cannot be any more bad economic news to be announced that would have a negative impact on the market.  What I mean is that all the bad news is already out there and expected.  Any additional news that could be negatively interpreted will have little downside pressure on the market because it’s already been beaten up so badly and we are used to hearing bad news.  It’s like playing roulette and hitting red 10 times in a row.  There will ultimately be a run of black sooner or later, regardless of what the statisticians say about the future odds being 50/50.  The market can only go up from here.  Once the numbers show consecutive months of positive GDP growth, housing, and employment numbers, I expect the market to bounce back with extreme resilience.  If it took just one year to fall from 14,100 to 6,550 I think it we can get back to 14,000 within 3 years – i.e. by the end of 2012.  Time will tell but it would certainly be nice to see.

To close this post, I’d like to set out a but of groundwork for this blog going forward.  There is no central theme other than that it will be a place to air my thoughts.  From time to time I plan to post a few photos, and I certainly intend to share some ideas and insights on business, entrepreneurship, technology, people, and life.   Each blog post automatically syndicates to my Twitter and Facebook stream, so if we are connected online, you’ll be notified about each new post.   I tend to ramble a lot in my writing and take a bit of a stream of consciousness approach.  I think a lot faster than I write, so I hope that the idea comes across to you as well as it does to me.   I do not tend to proofread and my grammar skills are average at best, so please don’t mind the typos and run on sentences.

Looking forward to a great 2010.  In the words of my friend Bob Rice, “I hope that 2010 is your best year ever”.