- Pandora is one of the oldest music streaming services, having been launched in 2000 before this type of platform received mass popularity.
- There are nearly 80 million active Pandora users in the United States, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
- Spotify’s free version has 280 million users with access to playlist and other options.
- Spotify’s premium version has 130 million regular users.
- The music streaming quality on Spotify is the highest for users on all plans, including trial users.
- Pandora and Spotify allow for easy exploration, although Spotify has more flexibility.
- Spotify uses custom daily or weekly playlists to find more content.
- Pandora uses stations that locate artists based on criteria like genres and instruments.
- Both music streaming services integrate with social media but Spotify has more sharing option.
In the music platform debate, it may seem like Spotify and Pandora are equally matched, but there are some differences. One of the key differences is that Pandora generates a “station” for you based on your preferred playlists, songs, or artists instead of allowing you to pick individual songs. Spotify’s algorithm, on the other hand, selects songs based on behavior or attributes that have been tracked by their system. If you want to learn about these music streaming services and decide which one is best, keep reading on.
Spotify vs. Pandora: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Cost:||$9.99/$14.99 (family)/$4.99 (student)||$9.99/$14.99 (family)/$4.99 (student)|
|Trial:||30 days||90 days|
|# of users:||one per account||six per account|
|OS support:||Android, Desktop (Premium), iOS||Android, Desktop, iOS|
|Sound quality:||192 kbps||320 kbps|
|Library size:||1 million+||40 million|
|Interface:||Easy to use||Some features unavailable on the app|
|Social features:||Facebook, Instagram, Tinder|
|Discovery features:||Customizable stations||Full music platform beyond stations|
Spotify vs. Pandora: Our Opinion
For a subscription price that is virtually the same, Spotify offers a lot more bang for your buck. While Pandora only allows one user for the cost, Spotify offers up to six people the use of its services for the same subscription price. When you compare the amount of users per platform, its obvious that Spotify wins, with 280 million users enjoying their free version and 130 million its premium version, compared to 80 million Pandora free subscribers and 6.3 million premium subscribers.
Why such a jarring difference in the volume of users? The features of Spotify are elevated, such as more social media sharing options, better streaming quality, more flexibility for exploration, and the ability to create more specialized playlists. They also house a catalogue of 80 million+ files. Compare that to Pandora’s 30 million, and it’s almost sad. But Pandora was a pioneer in free streaming channels, and deserves respect. Pandora is very useful as a channel to help listeners discover new music, as it operates more like a radio station. There’s a thumbs up/down feature to control what gets played, and you can save playlists or stations to “My Collection.”
Spotify uses algorithms that zero in on what the listener wants. It has multiple playlists such as: Discover Weekly playlist, Release Radar playlist, Daily Mix playlist. The latter combines music that you’ve chosen to listen to with similar music Spotify thinks you’ll enjoy. In this way, Spotify almost comes across as a mind-reader, whereas Pandora lets you personalize your listening experience in a more manual fashion.
Spotify and Pandora in the News
On May 5, 2023, Eurovision’s “Cha Cha Cha” became the first Finnish song to top Spotify’s chart. The song by Finnish rapper and singer Käärijä came in second in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. As of the date of this news report, the song had been streamed over three million times on Spotify’s streaming platform.
On April 18, 2023, Pandora announced that listeners will be able to download songs from the streaming music app via the new TuneFab Pandora Music Converter. Listeners with both paid and free Pandora accounts will be able to download songs, albums, playlists, and podcasts without restrictions to play back forever from any device. You can try the TuneFab Pandora Music Converter for 30 days free; however, be aware that you can only download the first three minutes of any content with the free trial. The TuneFab Pandora Music Converter offers three pricing tiers and it can be used on any Windows or Mac device.