Pandora has joined the ranks of Apple, Spotify, Google, and Tidal by finally announcing a similar on-demand streaming service on Monday, March 13, which Pandora fans have been anticipating for a very long time.
A few key details: Pandora's premium subscription tier will offer an on-demand, choose-what-you-want-to-listen-to service, unlike its popular Radio-esque setup; it costs $9.99 a month, the same as others; it integrates Pandora's highly acclaimed Music Genome Project, or MGP, for discovering new music, and it will also offer an offline mode for those who can't connect to the internet while out and about.
It sounds simple enough at first glance, and any major differences actually run few. But in an age of multiple on-demand streaming services available, it's often hard to determine which one suits you. So here's how Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music compare.
Pandora vs Spotify vs Apple Music
• Spotify - The current undisputed king of the music streaming sphere, Spotify has over 50 million subscribers paying for its premium tier, and it's difficult not to see why: it offers a colossal selection of music, and not just — podcasts, spoken word, and even poetry, also populate its library. It only costs $9.99 a month, comes with unlimited skips, offline play, and is available in nearly all platforms.
• Apple Music - Though still a ways to go before it could compete with Spotify in terms of subscriber count, Apple Music stands as one of the best music streaming services available today. Like Spotify and Pandora, users shell out $9.99 monthly for the service, and it comes with pretty much the usual suspects: a huge library of music, offline play, and a free three-month trial for beginning users.
• Pandora - Now to the new kid on the on-demand streaming block, Pandora. Costs $9.99 a month, too, as previously mentioned, offers offline play, a free trial, and, according to Tom's Guide, the same music library as Spotify's minus the other content, such as podcasts.
But where Pandora shines is with its music algorithm, the aforementioned MGP.
With Pandora Premium, users can dish out smarter playlists extrapolated from songs. Pandora spews similar tracks based on its complex music algorithm, resulting in a cohesive, diverse set of tracks — the primary reason many people still stick with Pandora. The Premium tier also offers thumbing up songs in a playlist, which essentially means that the Pandora people know well and love is still faithfully entrenched in the service.
Which Streaming Service Should You Subscribe To?
More importantly, the same algorithm used to generate smart playlists will also be used to filter search results, which just means users will see less irrelevant results. By contrast, often when searching in Spotify, irrelevant items get pushed up the results, a slight annoyance, for sure.
Anyhow, choosing one music streaming service shouldn't be difficult — they're all practically the same, except for Tidal, which offers a high-fidelity tier that streams FLAC-quality songs. But Spotify is also making inroads in that department, making the assumption others following suit afterward easy.
In a nutshell, these streaming services are almost virtually the same. But for the musically inclined who desires smarter playlists powered by a complex and effective music algorithm, Pandora is the service to beat.
Pandora launches March 15, but the service is still fairly incipient, so it's going to rely on a by-invitation only system initially just to hype up the new subscription tier. It does, however, come with a free trial, which Pandora Plus subscribers — its traditional ad-free tier — can take advantage of for a whopping six months; it's 30 days or 60 days for everyone else.