We compare the features, cost, and catalog of the two streaming services to help you decide where to spend your subscription money.
Originally launched as an internet radio service, Pandora is today a music streaming service only in the United States. Pandora is available for free with ads, Pandora More offers additional features, but includes on-demand music ads, and Pandora Premium is the company’s full-fledged music streaming service as a direct competitor to Spotify.
In the United States, for individuals, Spotify is available in two versions: Free Spotify and Spotify Premium. Free Spotify is the ad-supported music streaming model of the audio company, while for a monthly subscription Spotify Premium gives listeners all the features they need.
For this comparison, we will examine Pandora Premium and Spotify Premium because they most accurately represent the features that users today look for in a typical music streaming service.
Both streaming services offer the same basic features like ad-free listening, offline and on-demand playback, letting you listen to any song, anywhere, with unlimited skips.
Spotify and Pandora both have a long history (in technological years) in music streaming. Spotify was founded in 2006 as one of the first music streaming services as we know them today, while Pandora was launched in 2000 as an internet radio service, broadcasting music based on the songs appreciated by the listener. To this day, Pandora still focuses on recommendations, but with the launch of Pandora Premium in 2017, they now also offer the standard music streaming features we’ve come to expect.
As Pandora paves the way for personalized music recommendations, most other streaming services like Spotify have now caught up, Spotify in particular being praised for their fantastic personalized playlists for music discovery, such as Discover Weekly. and Release Radar.
For audio quality, Pandora Premium achieves a meager MP3 of 192 kbps. Spotify Premium members, on the other hand, can stream MP3 music at up to 320kbps. Spotify has announced a level of HiFi streaming, but we are still awaiting the launch of the feature and have no word yet on the maximum bit rate available or the potential price increase above Premium subscriptions. With the competition to stream hi-fi music from streaming services like Amazon Music and Apple Music, it’s likely that Spotify will abandon any initial plans they had to include a price hike for the feature. We would like to see some improvements from Pandora in this area soon.
Most streaming services loudly tout the number of tracks available for streaming on their platforms. Spotify, for example, reports that over 70 million tracks are available to stream, while Pandora’s numbers are a little less well known. In 2017, Pandora reported 30 million tracks, which was roughly equal to Spotify at the time.
For individual subscriptions in the US, Spotify Premium and Pandora Premium both cost $ 9.99 per month.
Both services offer various discounts for families, students, and packages with other subscription services.
With question marks over the size of Pandora’s catalog, Spotify and Pandora both offer basic music streaming services functionality. For audio quality enthusiasts, this one is a no-brainer. With a bitrate over 320kbps available on Spotify today, the inclusion of Spotify HiFi will soon be suitable for those looking for lossless sound.
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