You’ve in all probability heard that there are two varieties of individuals on the market: individuals who hearken to their music on Spotify and individuals who use Pandora. Whereas Pandora has been round for many years and many individuals credit score the streaming service for revolutionizing the music trade, there’s additionally a cause Spotify has turn out to be so well-liked previously few years.
For those who’re a music lover, each companies are definitely price utilizing. Nonetheless, in the event you’re contemplating upgrading to paid tiers like Spotify Limitless or Pandora Premium, it would be best to know what you’re getting on your hard-earned money. We pit Spotify and Pandora towards one another that will help you resolve which is best for you, and after evaluating these two music companies intently, Spotify comes out on high.
For higher or worse, Pandora’s Music Genome Challenge helped revolutionize the music trade when it debuted in 2000, creating a brand new commonplace for on-line music streaming. Since then, quite a few opponents have sprung up, with iHeartRadio, Final.fm, TuneIn, and extra borrowing Pandora’s “radio station” mannequin with various levels of success. In truth, Pandora has been so profitable at radio-style programming that SiriusXM lately agreed to buy it.
In the meantime, Spotify was conceived by two Swedish businessmen who needed a solution to hearken to all their favourite music in the identical place. The service debuted in 2008 and has since gone gangbusters, rising into one of the vital profitable on-demand music platforms globally, with greater than 320 million energetic day by day customers and greater than 144 million paying month-to-month subscribers. Whereas Apple Music is the one on-demand service that comes near matching Spotify’s would possibly, Pandora’s on-demand service gives a number of compelling causes to provide it a shot.
For years, Spotify loved a large lead on this class, touting tens of thousands and thousands of songs in an ever-growing library. Contrarily, Pandora’s once-meager catalog included roughly 1 to 2 million songs — nothing to scoff at, however hardly a quantity able to competing with Spotify or Apple Music. Following the acquisition of Rdio, nevertheless, Pandora inked offers with a number of main report labels and ultimately launched the on-demand Pandora Premium and expanded its choices.
Spotify’s 60-million monitor rely nonetheless trumps Pandora. Nevertheless, it owes that feat principally to remixes, covers, authentic content material, and newbie artists — however the libraries are very comparable, and there aren’t any notable artists who seem on one service and never the opposite. Some artists have unique offers with different platforms, whereas others desire to maintain their work away from streaming companies totally. All informed, Spotify holds a slim lead in sheer numbers, however there may be basically no distinction between the 2 right here.
There isn’t any denying music’s unimaginable energy to attach individuals. Realizing the worth of friendship, Pandora and Spotify afford their customers the flexibility to attach with pals, share their favourite songs, or advocate artists and playlists. Nevertheless, these streaming shoppers differ vastly with regards to evaluating the social elements of every service. Pandora’s somewhat lackluster try at social options basically gives little to fulfill social media junkies — for instance, they didn’t supply sharing on Instagram till September of 2019, a full 15 months after Spotify. Customers can share their favourite stations throughout Fb and Twitter, however as a result of on-demand playback is locked behind a paywall, it feels pretty empty.
Spotify simply will get the nod on this class, offering customers with a slew of choices to share music and join with pals. Spotify customers can share particular person songs, total playlists, and even particular artists with any of their pals and followers on Fb, Twitter, Telegram, Skype, Tumblr, or every other app you may ship a daily outdated textual content hyperlink to. Spotify’s Snapchat-esque barcodes make it straightforward to take a look at the tracks featured in these Monday vibe screenshots everybody posts. The service simply added the flexibility to create and share collaborative playlists, and future updates promise much more alternatives to take pleasure in music with pals.
Everyone desires to search out musical diamonds within the tough, and an enormous a part of a streaming platform’s worth comes from its potential to assist customers discover new tunes. Music discovery is the spine of Pandora. The Music Genome Challenge we talked about above is the engine that drives Pandora, providing the uncanny potential to supply listeners with songs they like based mostly on over 450 attributes, right down to the distinctive cocktail of devices, vocals, and pacing that make the music what it’s. Along with creating radio stations, the Music Genome Challenge helps curate playlists (in case you have Pandora Premium) by routinely including music after you have chosen just a few songs.
Spotify isn’t any slouch on this class both, and the corporate has made acquisitions to get higher at it over time. The extraordinarily well-liked “Discover Weekly” playlist, a 30-song listing that magically exhibits up every Monday, blends music you like with music you’re more likely to love. Spotify is consistently including related options so you may maintain discovering. Spotify’s residence interface can be brimming with themed playlists, and also you’re only one click on away from the “Discover” tab, which options personalised suggestions based mostly in your listening historical past.
We’re nonetheless inclined to provide Pandora the nod right here, nevertheless. In any case, music discovery is its main perform, and its radio stations far outshine Spotify’s, which too usually appears to mix genres and repeat tracks.
This streaming recreation started with music, however ultimately, each Spotify and Pandora thought it smart to include one other audio-only format into their platforms: podcasts. Hottest podcasts will be discovered on both platform, they usually each have their share of distinctive exclusives to safe the sting. Nonetheless, Spotify’s standing because the dominant market chief has predictably shifted the early numbers of this comparatively childish market in its path. This has led to extra ubiquity for Spotify, whose brand is persistently noticed among the many high exhibits’ listing of official locations. Add in an enormous sports activities push set to return due to its acquisition of The Ringer, and Spotify will get the nod.
Free versus paid variations
Each companies supply free — albeit restricted — entry to streaming music supported by occasional advert breaks. The adverts aren’t overwhelming, and the free choices present an effective way to test-drive these companies earlier than splurging on a premium account, however these companies differ significantly.
With a free Pandora account, subscribers are restricted to radio performance — choose a music (or an artist, or an album, or any mixture), and it builds you a station. Hit the “thumbs up” button to inform Pandora to play related music sooner or later, and hit the “thumbs down” button to be sure to by no means hear that music (or songs prefer it) once more. Furthermore, customers of free choices solely have entry to a lower-quality audio stream (restricted to 64k AAC+ at finest) and aren’t afforded the posh of downloading a desktop consumer like customers of Pandora Plus or Pandora Premium. Each cellular and net customers have entry to related options — the identical quantity of skipped songs, the identical accessible stations, and the identical occasional commercial.
For Spotify customers, the free expertise is way extra sturdy. The adverts are right here, too — as is the loss in audio high quality — however with a free Spotify account, you may hearken to music on-demand through the desktop and net apps (cellular customers are restricted to on-demand listening from 15 playlists that Spotify generates based mostly on their style each 24 hours).
You too can attempt the ad-free variations of every service totally free. Standardly, Pandora gives a 60-day free trial of its $10 per thirty days Pandora Premium service (which incorporates ad-free radio and on-demand streaming), 30 free days of its $5 per thirty days Pandora Plus service (ad-free radio stations, however no on-demand streaming). In distinction, Spotify gives a free 30-day trial of its $10 per thirty days Spotify Premium service (on-demand listening and radio stations). Each companies additionally supply a reduction for a yearly membership.
Whereas Spotify could supply higher decisions for freebie chasers, Pandora’s $5 per thirty days tier is a killer choice for individuals who wish to rock out to high quality tunes freed from adverts however don’t have the scratch to shell out the total $10 per thirty days. Households as much as six can join $15 per thirty days on both service, whereas sizable half-off reductions await college students and, in Pandora’s case, navy veterans.
Each Spotify and Pandora have common promotions for 3 months’ entry for not more than $1, supplying you with greater than sufficient wiggle room to see all they’ve to supply. You’ll recurrently see promotions tied to system purchases and different firms, too, such because the six months of free Spotify you get for being an AT&T subscriber. Pandora doesn’t do practically as a lot in that regard, however you’ll see respectable offers once in a while.
With little or no deviance from the music streaming pricing playbook that everybody else appears to observe, this must be a wash. That mentioned, if you wish to go ad-free with Spotify, you’ll should pay not less than $10 per thirty days, which supplies Pandora an computerized win.
Consumer interface and expertise
Although each platforms look nice on smartphones, tablets, and desktop, it’s price stating how the person expertise differs between companies. Pandora gives three completely different strategies for enjoying music: A cellular utility for Android or iOS, and in-browser participant, or a downloadable desktop program (Pandora Plus or Premium solely). With an easy-to-use interface and intuitive controls, every model offers largely the identical expertise. Customers even have the flexibility to kind radio stations both alphabetically or by date for fast entry.
Irrespective of which method you hear, you’ll have entry to background data on the artist at the moment taking part in, lyrics, listings of comparable artists, and hyperlinks for customers to shortly purchase any music that strikes their fancy, to not point out how cool it’s to see all the monitor’s traits as outlined by the Music Genome Challenge. “Browse” and “My stations” sections mean you can change between listening and discovering shortly.
You too can use your voice to regulate Pandora in your cellphone, even from throughout the room — no Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, or palms required (Notice that Pandora additionally helps Alexa). Instructions akin to “Hey, Pandora, play something awesome,” “Hey, Pandora, thumbs up this song,” and “Hey, Pandora, pause,” all work when you allow Pandora’s voice assistant function on iOS or Android.
Spotify likewise gives three major apps — net, desktop, and cellular for Android or iOS — they usually every function an extremely polished person interface. The desktop model capabilities like iTunes (however is much less cluttered), which means most individuals ought to discover navigating it simple and intuitive. Trying to find music through this system’s search bar produces Google-like outcomes, auto-generating artists, songs, or albums as you kind. On each the cellular variations, the underside navigation bar options three tabs — House, Search, and Your Library — inside which all the things lives. Whether or not it’s new music or the stuff you jam each day, you’re solely ever a few faucets away from discovering it.
Informal looking principally occurs inside the House tab, and it’s there that customers have entry to newly launched music, day by day curated music playlists, and podcasts. In distinction, the Uncover tab has been retired to place all of the personalised suggestions inside the search interface. The corporate has additionally continued to develop its radio-style algorithm, including a function referred to as Limitless Artist Radio, that are personalised playlists based mostly in your listening historical past.
There’s no denying that Spotify gives customers a extra well-rounded person expertise, and its stable platform and slick interface make it an much more engaging choice. Pandora’s no slouch — and its hands-free voice management is fairly slick — however Spotify reigns supreme right here.
We talked about cellular and desktop apps above, however what about different platforms? Each Spotify and Pandora take pleasure in widespread integration as a part of automobiles, TVs, sensible audio system, gaming consoles, wearables, and different computing programs and linked gadgets, in addition to inside a number of third-party GPS and exercise apps. Nevertheless, Spotify earns the sting as its attain stretches only a bit additional. As an illustration, solely Spotify can allow you to match on Tinder by contemplating musical style as a criterion. Spotify’s Join function makes these integrations much more nice to make use of, besides. You can begin listening on desktop and seamlessly transition to cellular everytime you hit the highway, protecting your house within the tracks and playlists all the identical.
Location: For those who reside exterior the US, we advocate ignoring Pandora totally. The service is just accessible stateside after the elimination of assist in Oceania territories. Spotify is extra available in an unlimited quantity of nations.
Compatibility: As Wi-Fi-enabled audio system attain their newest peak in reputation, it might be finest to examine whether or not your favourite speaker helps Spotify or Pandora. For instance, in-demand sensible audio system just like the Sonos One and the Amazon Echo line are suitable with each Spotify Join and Pandora In all places by way of Wi-Fi. Take into account trying out our full listing of Spotify gadgets and the full listing of Pandora gadgets. It’s essential to keep in mind that incorporation with sensible audio system usually requires a paid account— double-check if that’s the case whereas procuring.
Though their firm and repair have been round for practically twice as lengthy, Pandora can’t appear to maintain up with Spotify’s general efficiency and attain. It’s doable that may very well be attributed to the corporate’s ongoing improvement of the Music Genome Challenge. Pandora Premium’s launch ushered in a brand new period for the service and made it aggressive amongst standouts of the music streamers. Even with that, Pandora remains to be taking part in catch-up. Spotify is extremely versatile, has more-involved social options, user-friendly apps, and an even bigger bang for the person’s buck. For those who’re the kind of music listener who is consistently trying to find your newest favourite artist or music, Pandora is an inexpensive funding, however it’s not overpowering Spotify.
General winner: Spotify