When Will the Madness End?

October 26, 2009

Recently I’ve started listening to Pandora on my laptop.  I actually began listening to the “Personal Internet Radio Service” about two years ago.  I never was a big fan because it was rare when two songs I really liked played back to back.  They seemed to recycle the music.  If I “marked” that I liked a particular song, it seemed to replay after every eight or so songs.  Or, I’d get a great tune from Stan Getz & Astrid Gilberto and then the next two or three would be titles like “Bosa Nova for Lovers” or “Tito Puente Plays the Music from Cats.” 

It certainly wasn’t as good as my iTunes, but thanks to Pandora, I could save the iTunes for when I really needed them, like when I was flying or lying outside by Jorg’s pool.  However, one thing I did like about Pandora was that it was a free service and totally unencumbered by any annoying ads.  That was then –

Have you used Pandora lately?  Man, oh man.  Now, after every third or fourth song you get a commercial.  Granted they’re only five seconds or so in length, but I can see the handwriting on the wall.  I’m totally convinced that Pandora will be just like any commercial radio station within a year.  Another “too good to be true” situation.  But certainly not the last one!

As I was reading one of my daily “digital briefing” newsletters, Cynthia Turner’s Column, I came across this rather disturbing piece of news:  Hulu may begin charging for its content as early as next year, according to comments made at B&C’s OnScreen Summit.

Hulu charging for its service!!!   The next thing you know you’re going to have to pay per text message.  What’ s going on here?  It looks like I’m going to have to keep cable TV and you all know how ridiculously expensive that is.

We all know that nothing is really free in life, but if you end up having to pay for a great FREE service like Hulu, a service that can, in my opinion, make a ton of dough just from its advertisers, you might just as well pay for satellite or cable now and get a better deal by committing to them for two years.

Stay tuned for more on this.  I’m sure Hulu is not alone in its strategy.  We’re sure to see more “free” sites begin charging as more people learn how to use a mouse.