Pianobar not playing songs - Pandora account issue? #348

StavroMueller opened this Issue Jan 31, 2013 · 37 comments


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I registered this account to respond to @chrisfong 's issue, only to find that it had been closed. Pianobar, for me, is not playing a song; rather, it sits on the title and does nothing. This is the same for the website. I switched to my other account, and the songs play fine. I bring this up again because it is another data point with exactly what Chris was saying, and I think the ticket may have been wrongfully closed with him thinking it was an anomaly with his account. Maybe Pandora is somehow altering the accounts that use Pianobar? That sounds a bit ridiculous to me, but this problem just started today and is similar to Chris'.

twong0 commented Jan 31, 2013

Also happening to me.


Here is what happened to me:

I got at different periods of time the same problem as @StavroMueller and @chrisfong. I tried pandora in firefox and it sat on the splash screen for a while without going anywhere. I tried it in chromium and it crashed my X session. I rebooted since I haven't in a while. I tried Pandora in chromium again and it worked, as does firefox, and now pianobar works. I don't know if what solved it, or if it was just time, but it works now for me.


The service seems to be working now again for me - not sure whether this counts as "solved", however. When my account wasn't working on pandora, I got to the song GUI where nothing happened. Again, when I switched to another account it worked.


My service also started working again after some time. When it wasn't working, the flash player on Pandora.com would just freeze with my list of stations on the left with a blank album art on the cover flow.

nlowe commented Feb 1, 2013

I believe it is service issues with Pandora, not pianobar or similar, because I am expierencing similar issues with the pandora web client. I can fetch playlists but media stops playing after a few songs. Upon restarting pianobar, playlists still reslove, but media refuses to play


Ack, it's happening again! Second time today.


This is what I see on Pandora.com after it times out:

"We've encountered an error. Sorry, it's our fault. Please click 'reload' to continue listening. Reload"


Ok, Pandora's listener advocate had this to say:

Hi Chris,

Sorry about any inconvenience. That could mean there were indications that the Pandora service was being used in ways that don't fit our Terms of Use: http://www.pandora.com/legal/

You had about 15 devices logged in to Pandora.

When this happens, we automatically "lock out" access to Pandora for a period of time.

Usually, this happens after you listened to Pandora on one or more other computers that other people use, and forgot to sign out of your account afterwards.

You can access your Pandora account on as many different computers or devices as you like. However, we expect that you will only listen (stream) from one of those devices or computers at a time. If you're playing in two locations simultaneously, it's costing us twice as much in royalty fees.

Some other possible causes of this issue would be using unauthorized software to access your account (generally, anything other than our Pandora One Desktop Application), or in extremely rare cases, certain types of problems with your ISP (internet provider).

To try to resolve the most likely causes of this issue, I've temporarily reset your password to: XXXXX

This is the fastest way to interrupt any open sessions that may exist for your account on other computers. I've also removed all device associations for your account.

Moving forward, I suggest two things:

  1. Change your Pandora password again as soon as possible. Sign in to your Pandora account using the temporary password, click on your email address in the upper right hand corner of the page and select Settings. Enter your new password (case sensitive), and click Save changes.

  2. Make sure you always sign out of your Pandora account when you are done listening to Pandora on a computer anyone else uses (such as a work, school, library or friend's) computer. Similarly, sign out of Pandora on any mobile device before you hand it off to anyone else for any reason.

Let me know if I can help you with anything else.
Listener Advocate
PANDORA® internet radio

nlowe commented Feb 1, 2013

Well then, is it possible that pianobar is creating multiple sessions? I don't have enough time to look into it now but I might try my hand at it this weekend.


Thanks for posting the response from Pandora's customer service. I'll look into it.


I am not able to reproduce this by opening multiple (more than 15)
pianobar sessions. Are you using the Pandora One “device” credentials?

As for Pandora’s response: pianobar uses the user/password-based login
interface. It does not link a device to your account and I am not aware
of any method that closes a session without attaching a device to your
account explicitly. The Android app I have (1.5.14) calls
device.disassociateDevice when using the sign-out button, so it might be
necessary to call user.associateDevice when logging in. Is there anyone
who has access to the most recent Android app?


I saw this on Saturday (Feb. 2) for just one song - Pianobar presented the song title, then seemed to pause for ~60 seconds and then skipped to the next song and played the next song without issue. Have not seen the issue since. We have a paid account, if that makes a difference (Pandora One).

mjk1 commented Feb 6, 2013

@rlneumiller: no, this problem is skipping of all songs, because pandora temporarily blocks your account.

For me this started in the middle of January.
Has any users from states, not using proxy or tor had their account blocked? Mby pandora is actively seeking accounts from non-US countries over known proxys and tor nodes.
Or is it that pianobar always re-authenticates after the break ... and thus multiple connections are logged and account disables ... although i haven't counted as many as 15 re-authentications for the account to be disabled :/
Really hope someone finds the solution for this ... i want my radio :)

arturhoo commented Feb 6, 2013

I am facing the same problem and I connect to pandora using a proxy.


I can confirm that this happens occasionally (daily?) with me, but I am also using a proxy out of country. Free pandora. It will just show 4 song titles, fetch new playlist, 4 song titles go by boop boop boop, fetching another playlist, etc etc.


I don’t see how reauthentication could be a problem. It’s the standard
login procedure.

How long does it take to get banned? Immediately after starting
pianobar? Can someone post (or send me an email: lars@6xq.net) a proxy
address that he’s been using and experienced the problem with?


I would just like to add that I experienced the issue without using a proxy, and inside the US. I can access the most recent android app, but from there you'll have to tell me what to do! :)


I can access the most recent android app, but from there you'll have
to tell me what to do! :)
I need a copy to decompile/disassemble it and look for protocol changes.

Coaxial commented Feb 12, 2013

It played fine for a few hours today and then some more. After 4 or 5 hours it happened.
I am using a proxy too, I will send you which one.

Panikos commented Feb 14, 2013

I am facing the same problem. I am using a self-hosted squid proxy.

It plays on occasion but for the last few days it has not been working except intermittently. When it does start it plays for a while then starts skipping songs one after another finally ending with an error of "(i) Receiving new playlist... Error: No error message available for code 2063."


Thanks for the responses so far. I tried reproducing the issue with
tunlr.net, played a few hours and nothing happened so far, so this is
not getting me closer to the issue unfortunately :(

Coaxial commented Feb 15, 2013

I don't understand either. Pianobar has been playing non stop without a problem for the last 28 hours. Yet sometimes it fails after a few hours, other times like now it's fine.
It's very confusing.


Right now it looks like Pandora somehow flags your account as
“suspicious”. An account that got flagged is directed to different
HTTP mediaservers, which reject your request if you’re not based in the
US (with geoip)[1]. I believe they can’t do it for all users, as the
geoip lookup is rather expensive. That means if you proxy everything
(not just the API requests with control_proxy) Pandora should work fine.

The next question is: How do accounts get flagged?

[1] The URL’s work with IP addresses from within the US and return 403

Coaxial commented Feb 15, 2013

I see. Could you please give me the URL? I am using selective routing with tunlr.net because they slow down the requests on purpose to keep people from hammering their servers by using it as a main DNS.
I am routing only *.pandora.com through tunlr.com so I would like to add this secondary mediaserver's IP to see if it fixes it.
I'm sorry I can't help further regarding how they flag your account as suspicious…

Coaxial commented Feb 16, 2013

I just had a ban again after about 2 or 3 days playing non stop.

I am using a DNS redirection service that does all the magic for select websites.

A few minutes after I got banned, I connected using a US VPN and launched pianobar again. It played alright. I quit pianobar, disconnected the VPN and went back to using this DNS redirection service, launched pianobar again and it's now playing fine.

I suspect the DNS service I am using doesn't route the queries properly, there is some eavesdropping to some pandora server and that's how pandora could find out I am not in the US (allegedly).

I'm going to contact the admins of this DNS service and try and fond out more.

--edit: Yes, they are only routing traffic to pandora.com, anything else (*.pandora.com) is going through the normal route. When resolving mediaserver-sv5-rt-1.pandora.com from my non-US internet connection, it resolves to
When resolving through a US VPN, it resolves to
Same goes for tuner.pandora.com US VPN:, on my non-US connection:

I tried to force mediaserver-sv5-rt-1.pandora.com to resolve to tuner.pandora.com to using my dnsmasq.conf file but it didn't work. It sees I am not really from the US.

It seems to be an attempt at banning non-US clients rather than people not using the official player. Because when I reconnect to pandora with pianobar using a US VPN and then launch it again without the VPN, I'm not banned anymore.

And it also seems the problem is not with pianobar but rather how we connect to Pandora. Routing all *.pandora.com traffic through a US VPN seems to do the trick.

I have limited knowledge though so anyone is welcome to elaborate further on my findings because I am unable to.

--edit2: I Misread and it seems after all that this DNS service takes care of pandora.com, tuner.pandora.com and mediaserver-sv5-rt-1.pandora.com
My dnsmasq was misconfigured and was only routing pandora.com not *.pandora.com through the DNS service. I changed my setup and will report back if it stops playing again.

mjk1 commented Feb 17, 2013

I am routing through TOR servers with exit nodes in US. I have my HTTP proxy set to forward traffic through TOR service and a PROXY settings in pianobar through that HTTP proxy ... Am I missing something here? Is there more than one proxy setting in pianobar?

(more likely it is, that TOR uses marked exit nodes, that don't show as US based). But i must confess, that i am using TOR without problems on my android device.

Will also try through a US based proxy or VPN service.


tl;dr of @Coaxial’s probes: Use a proxy/VPN to hide your real location
if you are outside the US.

@mjk1: Yes, there are two settings: proxy (or the http_proxy
environment variable) routes all queries through a proxy while
control_proxy retrieves the audio files directly and proxies only API
requests. The latter won’t work properly anymore if you’re

Panikos commented Feb 18, 2013

@PromyLOPh, thank you for pointing out the "proxy = http://host:port/". I had not realised that control_proxy in the example file only proxied the API requests.


@PromyLOPh thanks for pointing out proxy, I never knew we had that. I always used the control_proxy variable, so I am guessing that was the root cause of the problem

mjk1 commented Feb 19, 2013

Sorry @arturhoo to disappoint. I have set proxy and not control_proxy.
So this is not the case of wrong config file.


@mjk1 I should have said that was the root cause for me

Panikos commented Feb 20, 2013

I haven't had an issue for the past 2 days using proxy so in my case this has been resolved. From the point of view of the developer though what proxy method you use and if its effective or not should be upto the user, as long as proxy and control_proxy work correctly.

Since we realise that these errors are due to pandora identifying and flagging non-US originating requests then its upto the user to sort it out.

@Coaxial That is the same behavior I was observing. I would say its the same issue.

Valodim commented Feb 25, 2013

Actually, @StavroMueller said he had the issue without using a proxy from inside the US.

We also have observations that people who are not using tor but their own squid proxy on a vm are getting this problem, so it's not tor switching exit nodes either. The support answer said there were a lot of connections open, that seems more likely to be the problem - or at least /a/ problem.

Maybe some connections are not closed cleanly, for example if pianobar is exited by closing the terminal, or ^C, is this handled gracefully?

emcek commented Feb 27, 2013

had the same problem after one day I can listen pandora (outside) US again

Valodim commented Mar 8, 2013

reporting that at this point, pianobar has become all but unusable for me. Bans sometimes happen after 15 songs, and during a session not only after a login. :(

@PromyLOPh PromyLOPh closed this Sep 15, 2013

Guys, I think I realized what's the problem. I had only one route before for Pandora:
push "route"
But in the mean time, Pandora has expanded it's IP range so it's now:
push "route"
push "route"

It worked to me.

Valodim commented Jan 3, 2014

Just for reference: I spent a few bucks on Pandora One, and have have had no problems whatsoever, using the high quality stream settings.

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