Best Music Streaming Services: Spotify vs. Pandora

People always say that music can heal souls, that’s why it takes s a huge part of a lot of people’s lives. The popular music streaming services Pandora and Spotify function very differently. Spotify listeners can choose the songs they want to play when they want to play them. Meanwhile, Pandora is a radio service that does not let users choose the specific songs they want to listen to, whenever they want. Instead, users create a “radio station” based on artists, songs, or genres they already like; Pandora then finds songs that are “musically similar” by way of their Music Genome Project. Pandora is a way for users to discover new music that matches their tastes, while Spotify—even though it offers radio stations, too—is better suited to stream and share music that users already know and love.

Spotify vs Pandora Music Apps are both popular music streaming services, built to help users find their favorite jams and to discover tons of new music without having to put in much work, but which one is the best music streaming service overall? After considering a wide variety of factors, we think Spotify is a better choice for most people. To see how we chose, here’s the full analysis.

We’ve checked out the leading on-demand music streaming options — Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and Tidal — as well as Google Play Music and Amazon Music Unlimited to see how they all stack up for your subscription buck. While most leading services boast music catalogs of over 40 million songs, each has its own unique pros and cons for a potential subscriber to consider. We’ve purposefully left out services that only play music in a radio format. All offer some type of family plan, allowing you to share your service with others for a fee, and mobile device offline listening, though not all are available on your desktop.

Podcast

The podcast that a service provides is a critical element when you consider which platforms you will choose. It may not be ready to switch over from a dedicated app just yet, but it’s a nice feature for anyone looking to trim down the number of apps they use daily. Spotify seizes the initiative and heavily invests to provide listeners high-quality podcasts with different topics. It seems that Pandora has not lagged behind at all. In 2018, Pandora announced that it has hundreds of podcasts with over 100,000 episodes across genres like true crime, technology, music, and more. Users can discover podcasts throughout the app of Spotify and Pandora, in this round, the draw is a good result.

Premium Membership Benefits

Both Pandora and Spotify put restrictions on non-paying users. The restrictions have changed numerous times over the years as both companies have tried out different pricing models and been affected by changing licensing fees or laws.

Pandora

  • No ads.
  • The higher audio quality of 192 kbps.
  • Downloadable desktop application.
  • Users are no longer limited to using Pandora on their mobile devices or in the browser.
  • Custom skins for the web application.
  • Fewer timeouts, allowing users to listen for longer periods of time without having to interact with the player.

Spotify

  • No ads.
  • Ability to download music for offline listening.
  • The higher audio quality of 320 kbps for some songs.
  • Use of Spotify Connect, which allows users to hook up other hardware to Spotify’s mobile app.

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