Reader Q&A: What's the difference between Pandora and Spotify?
I feel a little embarrassed not knowing this, but can you explain the difference between Pandora and Spotify? - Shelley
You're not the only one who's asked us this question, Shelley, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed! Now that there are new changes to Facebook
that include integration with streaming music services, plus an overhaul to Pandora, it's actually a good opportunity for us to compare both services and what they offer to subscribers.
If you're looking for a radio-type experience, then you'll want to subscribe to Pandora
a free service that allows you to input bands, artists, or song
titles in order to create a "station" filled with music similar to what you've selected. Keep in mind that the actual song you pick may not be played,
and sometimes the choices can be a bit confusing; that's why you might
have heard people complain that they entered Coldplay and somehow a
Billy Joel song popped up.
Generally though, the algorithm is pretty darn amazing, thanks to the Music Genome Project
in which humans categorize millions of music tracks, not computers. When they miss, at least you can give a thumbs
down to a song you don't like and skip over it (and a couple more before
you are forced to listen).
The new updated Pandora allows for much
better station creation options with input of two songs or bands instead of one, which
really has helped to avoid weird songs popping up. You can also now
listen to 320 hours a month of music, and the new system lets you grab info on the lyrics
and bands. While it's much better designed and streamlined, with a lot
more social features, the ads in the free version are definitely noticeable. So if you think you'll get a lot of use out of Pandora, we'd definitely recommend upgrading to the pay
Unlike Pandora, Spotify
allows you to input specific songs and artists and listen to entire
albums, more like iTunes on demand. It even syncs with your existing iTunes and MP3 playlists on your
own computer. It only recently became available in the United States
and only this month became open to the public, available without an invitation.
If you're someone
who likes to make your own playlists, then Spotify is probably more for
you. Plus if you connect your account with Facebook, you'll have access
to all your friends' playlists too, which actually makes life much easier if
you don't have time or energy to create your own.
A few watch-outs: the free version of
Spotify does have ads, and if you connect through Facebook and agree to make your lists public, you will be showing your listening history to your
friends. That might not be such a big deal, but if you're trying to keep
your Britney Spears obsession on the down low (or if all you listen to is Elmo's Greatest Hits these days), then you might want to reconsider your privacy settings.
Both Pandora and Spotify have apps so you can listen from your
mobile devices, with both having their obvious benefits and
disadvantages--although it's good to note that you don't need to be internet connected to access your Spotify playlists. Either way, it's fantastic to have two great options when it comes
to free music listening. -KristenVisit the Pandora and Spotify websites to get more information about their mobile music services.
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