Spotify vs. Pandora: Full Comparison

Spotify vs Pandora

Spotify vs. Pandora: Full Comparison

Key Points

  • 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

spotify icon on dark smartphone screen
Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming platforms in the world.
Cost:$9.99/$14.99 (family)/$4.99 (student)$9.99/$14.99 (family)/$4.99 (student)
Trial:30 days90 days
# of users:one per accountsix per account
OS support:Android, Desktop (Premium), iOSAndroid, Desktop, iOS
Sound quality:192 kbps320 kbps
Library size:1 million+40 million
Interface: Easy to useSome features unavailable on the app
Curated content:YesYes
Artist exclusives:YesYes
Social features:Facebook Facebook, Instagram, Tinder
Discovery features:Customizable stationsFull music platform beyond stations

Spotify vs. Pandora: History

Today Spotify is one of the leading music streaming platforms in the world. It was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in Stockholm, Sweden. It was initially developed with the intention of creating a platform to allow users to legally stream music and to help to combat piracy. It was initially launched in 2008 as an invitation-only service in Sweden but it quickly gained popularity and was expanded and rolled out more countries.

Pandora was founded in 2000 by Tim Westergren, Jon Kraft, and Will Glaser under the name of “Savage Beast Technologies”. It initially focused on the Music Genome Project but was launched as Pandora in 2005 as a music streaming service. Pandora was initially only available on a computer and offered personalised radio stations based on users favorite songs. However, it was eventually rolled out as a mobile app which allowed users much more flexibility to stream songs on the go.

Spotify’s catalog contains 80 million+ files.

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.

Pandora music streaming service
Pandora allows users to personalize their “stations” by manually indicating thumbs up or thumbs down for individual songs.

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.

Spotify vs Pandora

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, Pandora or Spotify?

Although both services are very popular and Pandora is one of the oldest music platform options, Spotify has better social sharing options. Pandora also relies on a system focused on customized radio stations, while Spotify has additional features comparable to other music platforms.

How many users are on Pandora vs Spotify?

Pandora has 80 million users, including users in Australia and New Zealand as well as the United States. Spotify has over 400 million users with the free and paid versions taken into account.

How much data does Pandora use vs Spotify?

Spotify uses more data than Pandora, regardless of the monthly cost option selected. As much as 1.76GB of data will be used assuming the service is in use for an hour a day.

Which is better for the artist, Pandora or Spotify?

Pandora pays $0.0013 per stream, requiring 769,231 streams to make $1,000 while Spotify pays $0.0033 per stream requiring 303,030 streams for a $1,000 payout. Spotify is the better option for artists because they can earn more money at a faster rate.

Is Pandora cheaper than Spotify?

No, because Spotify discounts its annual Premium plan, allowing users to save $20. Pandora’s premium plan costs an extra $10.

Which platform has more music, Pandora or Spotify?

Spotify has more music, with a library of over 40 million songs. The user-friendly features more typical of other streaming services allow more options to discover new music.

Which one is more user-friendly, Pandora or Spotify?

Pandora has a user interface with a user-friendly design that has a resemblance to a jukebox, with personal collections that are easy to search. One drawback Spotify has in its user interface is that the service has fewer features available through its app.

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