When Pandora announced a 40 hour cap on free listening, I decided to investigate some alternatives to Pandora. (I probably had been listening to 40 hours of music on Pandora in a week!) I quickly found Slacker. Slacker provides web-based music streaming in a similar manner to Pandora. I have found that they provide a tighter selection of music and that their music discovery has not been quite as good. This is probably because it is not based on the Music Genome Project. However, much like Pandora, after listening for a while, the selection has improved. Slacker’s commercials are a bit more radio-like and therefore more intrusive; however, they don’t have a cap so it’s hard to complain. Since I don’t always have my music on the machine I am on, I have also been taking advantage of my installation of Subsonic to listen to music.
Both Pandora and Slacker have mobile clients available for the BlackBerry. I have both installed, and both work well on 3G and WiFi. I don’t use the mobile clients very often, but when I want some music, and I am not at my computer, it’s convenient to have the option to play music right from my BlackBerry. Subsonic is supposed to stream to mobile devices, but I have yet to get that working.
Edit: Recently, I have started listening to my “library” on Last.fm. This feature plays songs that I have already listened to. I am not sure how Last.fm select songs, but I would assume it is based on what I have listened to most often. Since I have “scrobbled” a large number of songs, Last.fm does a decent job of playing songs for me. It’s still not as good as Pandora, and I imagine it would do much worse on smaller sets of “scrobbled” songs.