When we first reviewed Jango two years ago, we praised the streaming music service for its social features and indie artist support, but dinged it for clunky lyrics implementation and intrusive display ads. Jango has listened and remedied the problems—somewhat. Jango now delivers one audio/video ad per day, which is significantly less than the commercial assault listeners endured in the past, but the service unfortunately drops the ball with its related music selections and intrusive artist promotion ads.
Crowded Interface and Music Ills
Jango’s mostly blue-and-white interface has less visual pizzazz than Slacker Radio’s more vibrant home page, but the service’s color scheme isn’t the true design ill: Jango’s layout is far too top-heavy. Lyrics, Similar Stations/Recent Stations, artist Twitter updates, album art, like/ban/skip/volume icons, buy/share/video links, and a display ad area all live within a rectangular box above the fold. The result is a cluttered interface that begs for a redesign, especially when there’s plenty of white space available when you scroll down.
That, however, isn’t Jango’s only problem—the service frequently inserted songs into channels where they didn’t belong. For example, Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgetting,” a monster 1982 song, somehow crept into the “Hits from the 70s” station. That’s a huge no-no. Even worse, after I skipped an Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” Jango fired up Karen Sokolof Javitch’s “Forever and Always” into the mix—a 1999 ska song—so that I could vote on it to help determine the band’s exposure. Jango, you see, also has a business model that lets up and coming artists promote their songs alongside tracks from similar artists. This promotion, in its current form, is awful. Although the song was not at all bad, its placement in my ’70s channel irritated me no end.
Selection and Sound Quality
Internet music boils down to song selection and sound quality. On the song catalog front, Jango offers over two dozen different genre stations per music genre (Rock/Pop, Country, Reggae/Ska, World/Latin, Electronica & Dance, Rap/Hip Hop, Easy Listening, Blues, Gospel & Christian, Film/TV, R&B/Soul, Jazz, New Age, Vocal, Independent, and more). Jango delivers the expected, traditional stations.
That said, one of my favorite songs wasn’t in Jango’s catalog: King Khan and The Shrines’ “Torture.” Although Jango delivers on mainstream content, this tells me its catalog may not be as complete as it should be. I am certainly able to listen to the track on Slacker Radio. In addition, I didn’t like the manner in which Jango displayed classical music information. Jango displays the piece’s name and composer, but not the performer.
Jango, like Slacker Radio, streamed clear, hiccup-free music from my home and office connections. You can skip an unlimited number of tracks with a free account—something not offered by Pandora or Slacker Radio, unless you purchase a subscription ($36 per year, and $4.99 per month, respectively)—but I would’ve liked to drop some coins on Jango to remove the ads. You can, of course, make playlists as you would with other streaming music services, and view accompanying Vevo music videos when available.
Should You Tune Into Jango?
At this point in time? No. Jango’s music quality is on par with other services like the Editors’ Choice award-winning Slacker, but its interface and annoying artist ads sully the experience. Jango needs to either seriously revamp this artist promotion model or offer a premium service for those who want to skip such intrusive ads. Pass, for now.
|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux, Mac OS, Windows 7|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc