Experimenting with Pandora since the non-US shutdown

As an avid Pandora.com listener I was quite miffed by the news that pandora would be shutting out non-us users of their service. I was also a bit pissed earlier when I found out that my squeezebox only included 90 days of free pandora and I couln’t get a non-free account because I was living on the wrong side of the big pond (so much for that major selling-point).

But being the computer geek that I am, I wasn’t going to let simple IP-geolocation stop me from listerning to my favorite tunes… First I played around a bit with Pandora to see what filtering happened, and when I would be blocked. Then I tried some publicly available proxy-servers, and some of them would allow access. Most of these proxy servers however are too unreliable, and way to slow for audio-streaming.

The next attempt meant re-enabling Tor, something I’ve used before but didn’t really have a serious need for before. It’s an onion-routing system meant to anonymize/obscure your traffic. This would still block my access to pandora most of the time, as it seems most exit-nodes are germany- and france-based.

I decided to work through the tor nodeslist my server had collected, filtering on nodes in the US by looking at IP-adresses, hostnames and whois info. I came up with a list of .us nodes and fed this list to my tor server.

This allowed me again to load up pandora.com and get music going… but very slowly, too slow for listening. While googling some more for options and alternatives I disabled tor again (proxyswitch plugin for firefox), and clicked a new station in Pandora. Surely enough it started playing, without hickups and delays… It seems audio-data isn’t filtered by the geo-ip filter, only the flash applet and metadata requests.

Hmm… seems I was wrong, as I can’t reproduce it… but it seems I’ve just been getting some better tor exit-nodes… the quest continues…


I just stumbled upon Pandora. Pandora's BoxIt’s linked with the Music Genome Project, and lets you pick music and then rate it (thumbs up, thumbs down). Based on these ratings it playes more music. The entire thing is programmed as a flash-application and streams all music right off the internet. It’s free to use (ad-supported) or payware($36/year) and allows 100 ‘channels’. So far I’ve created 2 channels. One that started out with various Depeche Mode songs, the other that I primed with songs/groups from the current Outlaw 41 chart on KinkFM. If you’re using it too, and have a interesting ‘channel’, send it to me 🙂