Spotify vs Pandora: Which is Better in 2021?

Spotify music discovery

Spotify and Pandora are two of the best music streaming services that go on different ways. Pandora focuses mainly on radio stations. But Spotify offers radio features too. Spotify is the most popular music streaming service with the highest number of subscribers. Pandora has made a name for radio features. Let’s compare the essential features of Spotify Premium and Pandora Premium and choose the best streaming service for you from Spotify vs Pandora.

Spotify vs Pandora: Pricing

Spotify and Pandora have different pricing options. Both of these have free plans that allow users to listen with so many restrictions. There are some noticeable things in Spotify pricing. Spotify has a subscription option called Spotify Premium Duo for two users who live at the same address. It costs US $12.99. If you are a student, the Spotify student plan is the better option for you. Because Spotify student plan comes with the Hulu ad-supported plan and SHOWTIME. On other hand, Pandora Plus is a subscription option that saves your money. It costs US $4.99 while Pandora Premium costs US $9.99. The only difference between Pandora Premium and Pandora Plus is you can’t make and share playlists in Pandora Plus. But people don’t like it that much because there isn’t any benefit of using music streaming app without your playlists. Also, Pandora offers military plans. Let’s see other subscription options of Pandora and Spotify.

Spotify Pricing

  • Spotify Free – Free
  • Spotify Premium Individual – US $9.99/mo
  • Spotify Premium Duo – US 12.99/mo
  • Spotify Premium Family – US $14.99
  • Spotify Premium Student – US $4.99/mo

Pandora Pricing

  • Pandora Free – Free
  • Pandora Plus – US $4.99/mo
  • Pandora Premium Individual – US $9.99/mo
  • Pandora Premium Student – US $4.99/mo
  • Pandora Premium Military – US $7.99/mo
  • Pandora Premium Family – US $14.99/mo

Spotify vs Pandora: Streaming Quality

I experienced Pandora buffers more than Spotify and it isn’t good for a premium music listening experience.

Spotify and Pandora haven’t any high-quality streaming options like Deezer or Tidal. When it comes to talking about Spotify vs Pandora’s sound quality, Spotify is leading than Pandora. The maximum bitrate of Pandora Premium is 192kbps.

For Spotify Premium, the maximum bitrate of it is 320kbps. Usually, people don’t stream music in higher quality because of the higher data usage from the data plan and higher storage usage when downloading songs. But if you care a lot about streaming quality, Spotify is better in this comparison. If you are looking for a high-quality listening experience, check out Deezer HiFi or Tidal HiFi.

Spotify vs Pandora: Music Discovery

Both Spotify and Pandora create personalized playlists based on your listening history. Discover Weekly, Daily Mix are some playlists made for each user by Spotify. Spotify creates a playlist named Release Radar customized for each user. New releases from your following artists are appearing in there. Spotify algorithms are always studying your music taste and recommend songs to you. You can see your recommended songs, albums, and Playlists in the Home tab and Make For You category that can be found in the Search tab. Compared to Pandora, Spotify is leading from studying your music taste. Also, Spotify gives a little more freedom to accepting or rejecting recommend music than Pandora.

Spotify Music Library
Spotify Daily Mix

Pandora’s main feature is stations. Pandora is the best streaming service for creating radio stations to matched user’s music tastes. Pandora creates stations for every song, artist, or genre. Pandora algorithms study your listening activities and add songs to the station that matched your tastes. You can add or remove songs to the station and save the station to My Collection. My station mode is the basic model that generates music based on your listening activities. Discovery mode generates music based on artists who usually don’t play on the stations. Newly Released mode generates songs from the new releases from the station’s artists. Artist mode plays songs from the only artists in the station.

Pandora music library
Pandora Station – “Today’s Hits”

Spotify also creates stations for artists, playlists, and songs. Spotify creates a station for every playlist you create. You can add songs to the station but you can’t save the playlist stations to your library. You can’t like or dislike stations like Pandora and because of that Spotify can’t understand your idea about their suggested station. Spotify station is too good but Pandora is leading pretty much than Spotify from stations.

Spotify pays more per stream than Pandora

Digital services providers pay per stream/view to the content providers. Spotify pays more than Pandora. Pandora pays US $0.00155 per stream and Spotify pays US $0.00331 per stream.

Both Pandora and Spotify have Podcasts

You don’t want to download any other app to listen to Podcasts if you use Pandora or Spotify. Spotify and Pandora have large libraries of Podcasts. Also, Spotify offers its original shows. You can save them to your Library or My Collection. Spotify and Pandora allow you to forward, backward, or skipping podcasts and bookmark the places. Only Spotify allows you to change the playback speed and set a sleep timer. Comparing Spotify vs Pandora Podcasts, both are good but Spotify has some extra features.

Spotify vs Pandora: User Interfaces

Spotify has a clean dark interface and it is easy to navigate. In Spotify, there are three tabs. The home tab is the main tab for music discovery. You can see you recently played albums, playlists, and artists in there. Spotify recommends some playlists and songs based on your listening history and also you can find them in the Home tab. You can find music by mood, genre, or country in the Search tab. The library tab has three categories easily find your saved music in there. Also saved podcasts can be found in the Library tab.

Talking about the Pandora user interface, It is colored from dark blue. Pandora has 4 tabs. The extra tab is “Profile”. In Spotify, your profile can be found at the top of the settings. The “For You” tab in Pandora acts like the Home tab in Spotify. There is a Search tab in Pandora too but can’t find additional things to discover music in there like Spotify. But the search result can be filtered than Spotify. Music by genre, top charts are in the For You tab. My Collection tab is similar to Library in Spotify but It has more categories than Spotify.

Both Pandora and Spotify have beautiful full-screen media players. Spotify includes the lyrics scenes in the storyline. The storyline will display under the media player if it is available. In Pandora, you can see the lyrics of the song but it doesn’t include in media player and doesn’t auto play with songs like Apple Music or Deezer.

Unfortunately, some of the best features of Spotify like viewing friends’ activities live, creating playlist folders are only available in the desktop app.

Spotify vs Pandora: Social Sharing

Spotify brings so many social functions to its users and that is the main reason people love Spotify. You can make collaborative playlists on Spotify. That means everyone who has the link to the playlist can add or remove songs to the playlist. Spotify offers another cool feature called Group Session. You can start a group listening session, share the link of the Session with your friends and your friends can join the session and listen to the same song at the same time with you. Also, you can control music together with other members in session. In the desktop app, you can find what your friends are listening to in the friend feed.

Both Spotify and Pandora allow you to make your playlists public. Playlists can be found in your profile. People can follow you and your playlist. In Pandora, you can see your friends’ liked songs and their stations. Both Pandora and Spotify can integrate with Facebook and find friends. Spotify has a partnership with Instagram and Tinder. Thanks to that sharing your music taste with your followers is easy.

Spotify vs Pandora: Which is better for you?

Some additional features of Pandora and Spotify

  • Spotify and Pandora have voice assistants themselves.
  • Both Spotify and Pandora work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
  • Spotify Wrapped shows the statics of your past listening activities with beautiful graphics.
Spotify Social Sharing
Spotify Wrapped

Comparing Spotify vs Pandora, both are good for music streaming. Spotify has some additional features and a clean user interface than Pandora. Also, music discovery features are better in Spotify. Pandora is better for you if you like radio stations. Station features are better in Pandora than Spotify. Spotify is leading in sound quality. The decision depends on you.

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