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A desktop Pandora client, without the Pandora One subscription fees.
Over the last week, my work experience has been a much happier place. I’ve listened to my favorite artists and discovered new favorites. The secret to this happiness is Muse, a fantastic little $5 app that does one job — stream Pandora radio stations — extremely well.
When running, Muse sits up in your menu bar. Opening the app lets you choose or create a Pandora station based on artist or genre. As each song is played you get a little pop-up that tells you the artist and album of the song. If it did just this one thing, Muse would be a good app. However, the keyboard shortcuts really make Muse stand out.
By default Muse uses the play, pause, and skip controls on your Mac keyboard to control what is playing. What I found extremely handy was also being able to assign shortcuts for liking and disliking songs. These keyboard shortcuts work in the background. So as you’re working away you can skip songs and give them the Ebert treatment. Downvoting a song also immediately stops its playback and moves onto the next selection.
Muse lets you control Pandora from your menu bar.
Even with a more limited free Pandora subscription I found Muse very enjoyable. Thankfully, Pandora’s ads aren’t completely intrusive. While Muse essentially replicates the controls from Pandora's web interface, having a dedicated app means not losing your stream if you need to quit your browser. While Pandora does have its Pandora One desktop app, it requires a subscription ($3.99/mo, or $36/year) in order to use it. Muse brings that desktop experience to your free Pandora account — although you'll still have to listen to ads, unlike paid subscribers.
Another neat feature of Muse is it will stream to any AirPlay-enabled device. If your AppleTV is hooked into your home entertainment system, you can use Muse to play Pandora through your fantastic speakers.
My only minor complaint with Muse is that it won’t tell me how far through a song I am from the menu applet. I have to open the main app to see that. Other than that, even if you casually listen to Pandora on your Mac, Muse is a fantastic way to listen to music.
The bottom line. Muse is a great lightweight application that lets all Pandora users enjoy a Mac-native experience.
OS X 10.6 or later
Fantastic way to listen to Pandora. Keyboard shortcuts make it easy to like or unlike songs.
Doesn’t show time remaining on a song on the applet.