Spotify vs Pandora. A honest comparison

comparison between Spotify and Pandora

You can’t imagine life without music streaming, but accessing most favorite artists and soundtracks has never been as easy as before. A hand full of music streaming platform offers their exquisite services to music lovers. Spotify and Pandora have been popular music streaming platforms for the last couple of years. In this writing masterclass, I will be comparing Spotify Vs Pandora, its characteristics, and amazing features.

After going through this article Spotify Vs Pandora, you will be able to choose a better music streaming platform for your listening habits. Checkout these comparisons: Spotify vs Apple Music and Spotify vs Pandora.

Spotify Vs Pandora

Spotify is a freemium digital music streaming application developed in 2006. It has a massive music collection of 80 million soundtracks and 4 million podcasts. Pandora is available in almost 180 Countries with more than 400 million active users, of which 180 million are paid subscribers. It was designed to address music piracy issues and provide easy access to music to the users.

Spotify logo

Pandora is one of the oldest music streaming platforms developed in 2000 by Will Glaser, Jon Kraft, and Tim Westergren. The main idea beyond launching this platform was based on a music recommendation engine called Music Genome Project. Pandora is a combination of on-demand music streaming and personalized internet radio stations.

Pandora logo

A brief and comprehensive comparison of Spotify Vs Pandora exquisite features will help you choose a better music streaming platform according to your music listening habits.

Also See: Spotify vs Tidal

Pricing and Plans                   

The premium plan of Spotify and Pandora and their subscription cost are almost similar. They only differ slightly in terms of additional subscriptions offered on the premium plan. A breakdown of the premium plan of Spotify and Pandora is as under

Free PlanYesYes
Basic Premium$9.99$9.99/month
Family Plan$14.99/month$14.99/month
Student Plan$4.99/month$4.99/month
OthersPremium Duo at $12.99/monthPandora Plus at $4.99/month
Premium Military at $7.99/month

In the premium plan, both platforms offer full and unrestricted access to a massive music collection. Moreover, high-quality streaming and on-demand playlist are exquisite features of premium plans.

Winner: Pandora is slightly ahead of Spotify due to the budget-friendly premium plan.

Free Subscription

Spotify and Pandora offer freemium services to music lovers. The freemium plans may have some limitations, like the popping of Free Ads, limited skips for choosing the favorite song, and no online streaming. If you are willing to face these limitations, the freemium plan of both platforms is amazing. A brief comparison of services offered in freemium plans of Spotify and Pandora are:

FeaturesPandora Free PlanSpotify Free Plan
Ad skipsAfter 15 secondsNo
Song skipsYes (2 or 3 Skips)Yes (6 Skips Per Hour)
On-demand playbackLimited (Specific Stations)Yes (Desktop and Web Player)
Offline streamingNoNo
Number of audio quality settings for desktop app1 Setting:
Standard (64 Kbps)
4 Settings:
Automatic (Depends on internet speed)
Low (24 Kbps)
Normal (96 Kbps)
High (160 Kbps)
Number of audio quality settings for mobile app2 Settings:
Standard (64 Kbps)
High (128 Kbps)
4 Settings:
Automatic (Depends on internet speed)
Low (24 Kbps)
Normal (96 Kbps)
High (160 Kbps)
Highest audio streaming quality128 Kbps160 Kbps

Winner: Spotify seems to be far ahead of pandora in a freemium plan, as it offers more skips as well as the streaming quality. Moreover, Spotify offers more options in terms of Audio quality settings.

Music Library

Spotify has a massive collection of 82 million soundtracks with an addition of 60,000 new tracks per day. If you are a music fan, there is no shortage of popular hits on Spotify. Apart from soundtracks, Spotify also had a massive collection of podcasts and exclusive esports content for users. Strategic deals with Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music Group enables Spotify to cover every genre. Spotify also offers good indie music selection thanks to the partnership with Merlin, which has 20,000 indie labels and 44 playlists curated by Spotify.

Spotify music library

Pandora’s music collection lies between 1 to 2 million, which is far less than Spotify’s, but licensing agreements with different firms make it substantial. Pandora Browse section has 29 categories that cover all the music genres from Pop to Music World. It offers massive music stations in every genre; for example, Pandora’s Hip Hop category contains 84 stations and covers over 54million listeners. Pandora deals with Merlin and offers an extensive Indie Collection.

Winner: Spotify seems to be slightly ahead due to massive collection of amazing music tracks.

More: Spotify vs Apple Music

Sound Quality

Spotify offers five audio quality settings on Mobile and Desktop. The music streaming rate ranges from 24Kbps for free plans up to 320Kbps. The streaming rates of 160Kbps and 320Kbps are considered to be very good quality audio streaming.

Pandora premium offers two quality audio settings on the web player and three quality audio settings on the Mobile App with a maximum streaming rate of 192Kbps.

Spotify and Pandora use the lossy AAC file format, while Spotify also uses the Lossy Ogg Vorbis format. Lack of high-resolution streaming may not be necessary to opt for another platform as lossy and low-bitrate streaming seems fine for many people.

Winner: Spotify seems to be slightly ahead due to high-quality music streaming.

User Interface

The Spotify platform offers an incredible user interface for music lovers. The desktop version works like iTunes. The music search bar generates google like results; thus, you are just a tap away from accessing your most exquisite music tracks. The slick interface of Spotify makes it a very attractive option. It does not have a resemblance to vintage music listening devices, but it’s dark-themed interface is very nice and easy to navigate.

Pandora’s platform is intuitive and easy to navigate. The interface allows you to switch between listening to your favorite soundtracks and discovering music from search sections. Pandora, my collection tab is organized like Jukebox.

Users can sort out radio stations alphabetically or by date for quick access. You can use Pandora in three ways: mobile, web, and desktop. It also offers voice control and the use of Alexa support. Pandora’s no slouch and hand-free voice control are pretty amazing.

Winner: Spotify seems to be slightly ahead of Pandora due exquisite user interface.

Social Media

Spotify facilitates sharing your content with your friends through social media platforms. You can share your collection with your friends through Spotify, connect with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat or create links to share music and playlists. The flexibility has led many third-party websites to use Spotify links to share their music.

Social Media on Spotify

Pandora also offers you access to sharing your tracks with friends. You can follow your friends, look at their stations, and like songs, but you can’t view their active listening history. On Pandora, users can share links to the station via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Winner: Spotify seems to be way ahead of Pandora due to more widespread social media interactions and general sharing capabilities.

Additional Features

Spotify and Pandora can be played on multiple devices. Still, the seamless playback that Spotify Connect provides when you tend to switch between devices would be a fabulous addition to Pandora’s platform.

Currently, Pandora only allows users to access their accounts on a single device simultaneously, which means switching from one device to another disrupts the listening experience.

Additional features of Spotify

Behind the Song feature of Spotify offers users more insight into their favorite tracks. Pandora Stories feature, in which artists talk about the story behind a certain song in 30 to 50 seconds, is very engaging. Artist Takeover, another amazing feature of Pandora, offers insight into the musical taste of your favorite artists.

Winner: Pandora seems to be ahead of Spotify in terms of additional features which give music lovers insight, joy, and pleasure by knowing the themes of their favorite tracks. Due to more widespread social media interactions and general sharing capabilities.

More: Spotify vs Amazon Music

Which One is Better, Spotify or Pandora

Spotify and Pandora are two popular platforms that allow music streaming to the listeners. In comparison, Spotify has a massive collection of diverse music genres. It offers better quality audio streaming than Pandora. The premium plan of Spotify offers more subscription perks like Hulu and Spotify Kids. Moreover, Spotify has faster and smoother playbacks and possesses intuitive controls and sleeker aesthetics in its interface.

Pricing and Plans✔️
Free Subscription✔️
Music Library✔️
Sound Quality✔️
User Interface✔️
Social Media✔️
Additional Features✔️

Pandora relies on user input to create a personalized station. It offers more perks on Pandora Plus and Premium Military plans. Pandora has a unique approach to music discovery called Music Genome Project. Pandora offers a well-developed selection of stations as well as more engaging additional features like Pandora stories and Artist Takeovers.

Final Verdicts

Spotify and Pandora offer elegant features to listen to your favorite music tracks. Spotify provides a massive collection, better audio streaming quality, subscription perks on a premium plan, and a very elegant interface. On the other hand, Pandora offers better premium plans, a unique approach to music, a well-developed section of stations, and more engaging additional features. In a breakdown of Spotify Vs Pandora, you will be able to have a clearer picture of the best platform for you. If you are still confused, you can opt for a free trial of both platforms and see which platform seems to be closer to your music listening habits.

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