Which Music Service Do You Like Better?

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The world of streaming media has grown extensively over the years. This is especially the case with music. Today people can get online and stream music through Spotify and Pandora, two of the hottest names in the industry. But which option is better?

Background

Spotify

Spotify was founded in Stockholm in 2006.  It is designed as a freemium service where basic services are available for free with ad support. Added features are available through subscriptions. The company works with small and large music labels alike. It has a mobile app to go with its regular website.

Pandora

Pandora has been around since 2000 when it was formed in Oakland. It works both online and through a mobile app. It offers freemium services and in 2013 got rid of the 40-hour free listening limit that it had every month.

Advantage:

This is a push as the two are practically the same. The only real difference is that Pandora is a little older.

Coverage Area

Spotify

Spotify is available for use in more than twenty countries. It is available throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Japan as well as much of the European Union and South America.

Pandora

Pandora only works in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Advantage:

This is no contest as Spotify covers the three places Pandora works in and much more.

Music Selection

Spotify

Spotify has more than 30 million songs for people to listen to. The site works with major and indie labels alike and in a variety of genres. However, there has been criticism from many artists over how they aren’t making much money off of Spotify. This has led many artists, particularly Taylor Swift and Radiohead, to pull their music off of Spotify. Some artists like Coldplay and Adele have intentionally kept their records off of it within a certain time period after they are released primarily as a means of drumming up regular record sales.

Pandora

There are around a million songs on Pandora. These are organized between large and small labels alike as well. The site also uses machine learning to identify knockoff versions of songs to ensure that only the original songs as they were intended are available.

Advantage:

Spotify gets a lot of flak from different groups but it still has a larger selection and therefore is the better choice. Of course, some artists won’t have their music on either platform including Bob Seger, Tool, De La Soul and Def Leppard. This is due to a combination of factors like concerns over royalties and a general distrust in streaming.

How to Choose Music

Spotify

With Spotify, you can choose individual songs that you want to hear. You can search for music based on certain artists or albums.

Pandora

With Pandora, you can choose to hear a stream of music based on a genre you like or an artist you like. This is designed to help you discover new music. You can also place a thumbs up or down rating on songs so you can tailor whatever Pandora finds for you in the future.

Advantage:

Although it is great to see that Pandora helps people find music and offers new music recommendations, Spotify has the advantage for how you can actually choose whatever music it is you want to hear. You also have the freedom to choose the new music you want to hear through Spotify.

Audio Quality

Spotify

Spotify’s music is streamed at 160kbps for free users and 320kbps for premium users. The availability of 320kbps quality songs varies though.

Pandora

Pandora offers music at 64kbps for free users and 192kbps for premium users. This is consistent among all songs.

Advantage:

Spotify has better-sounding music and holds the advantage here.

Mobile Use

Spotify

The Spotify mobile app uses a setup where you can sort through music files that you save by artist, album or song. It also lets you find playlists. You can also download a limited number of files to listen to online if you are a paid member.

Pandora

You can search through different playlists on the Pandora mobile app. You can search for individual artists and albums and rate playlists online too. Individual artists have their own pages on the site as well. There are no offline features on this though.

Advantage:

This is a push in that both apps are designed to be easy to use. They have their own different search functionalities but they are both easy to start using right away.

Desktop Use

The desktop versions of the two services are practically in same in terms of how you can use them. The only real difference is that Pandora offers its desktop version only to paid customers.

Free Version Features

Both options both work with the same lower-quality streams and the same number of advertisements in between songs. There isn’t really much of a difference between each other in this category.

Paid Version Features

Spotify

Spotify charges $/£/€9.99 per month in the US, UK, Canada and the European Union and $11.99 in Australia. People can also listen to it offline and can even skip songs if they desire.

Pandora

It costs $4.99 around the world to get access to Pandora every month. You can skip songs but there are limits to this. You can only skip songs six times in an hour and up of 30 times in a 24-hour span.

Advantage:

Pandora is a better choice for being cheaper. Considering how Pandora reviews your interests based on what you like and what you skip, the odds of you running in the skipping limit may be minimal.

Parental Controls

Spotify

Spotify has no parental control features.

Pandora

Pandora has a parental control feature where music that contains explicit or suggestive content can be blocked from streams.

Advantage:

Pandora is better for parents who don’t want their kids listening to questionable content.

Conclusion

Although both streaming services have their own special qualities, Spotify is the better choice for how it offers more songs and better music quality. It gives users more freedom to search for and play the particular songs that they want as well. Let us know what you think by voting on what you feel the better option of the two is and leave a note on why you think a certain option is better. Make sure you vote in the Spotify vs. Pandora poll above.