Pandora vs Apple Music

It hasn’t been very long since music streaming services became popular, but the market has changed quite a lot. Today, people generally prefer to use music streaming services to listen to music because that’s just much more convenient. You don’t have to store CDs or manage audio files manually. In the age where people go from place to place with their mobile devices, music streaming services allow you to stay on the beat while doing other activities.

Pandora is one of the forerunners of the internet radio craze, and has continued to stand still until today. However, Apple has just recently entered the competition as well with Apple Music. So, how do Pandora and Apple Music compare against each other? Is Pandora still the king of internet radio? Or is Apple Music a much better value for the money? Find out below.

What is Pandora?

Pandora is a music streaming and automatic music recommendation service that is powered by the Music Genome Project. It was founded in 2000, and was among the very first Internet radio services ever. It plays musical selections based on a certain genre, which is taken from the user’s artist selection. The user can give “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” feedback to the songs chosen, and the feedback is used by the service to choose the next song selection. Such mechanism allows Pandora to provide a personalized service. You can use Pandora through the web interface as well as through the client apps available for Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and Xbox One.

What is Apple Music?

Apple Music is quite a newcomer in the scene; it was released in 2015. However, Apple is a well-known name in the tech industry, and the company’s iTunes has also been used quite extensively, so Apple Music immediately becomes a serious contender. Apple Music is a music and video streaming service where users can select songs and music videos to stream or listen to existing, curated playlists. In addition, Apple Music also includes the Internet radio station Beats 1, which provides live broadcasts to over 100 countries for twenty-four hours a day. And, just like iTunes, Apple Music gets a lot of early releases, exclusives and bonus tracks.

Pandora vs. Apple Music: Subscription Options

Pandora provides three ways to listen to music, the free ad-supported Pandora, the Pandora Plus, and the Pandora Premium. These three subscription options make Pandora suitable for a wide range of users. The free Pandora is generally already satisfying for budget-limited users. Of course, you can’t complain about getting some ads when using a free service; however, it allows you to select an artist, song, or genre to start with. It then will make selections using algorithms, taking into account your feedback. Pandora Plus ($4.99 per month) removes the ads and includes the features to replay tracks, listen to three offline stations, and play higher quality audio. Pandora Premium ($9.99 per month) further includes the ability to search and play songs on-demand, more offline listening options, fully customizable playlists, and removes timeouts. If you are interested to upgrade your subscriptions, there is usually a trial offer available for each account.

Apple Music does not have any free version, but there is a trial period for three months that provides full access to the service. Once the trial is over, you have to select a subscription plan. The Individual Membership costs $5.99 per month, whereas the Family Membership costs $8.99 per month for up to six people. You are given full access to the service regardless of which plan that you choose.

Pandora vs. Apple Music: Compatible Platforms

As mentioned in the introduction above, Pandora is available for many platforms. You can access the website using any platform, but you can use the client apps instead which are generally more intuitive on Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and Xbox One. On the other hand, Apple Music is available for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, Windows, and Android.

Obviously, if you are using an iPhone, Apple Music would be compatible with Siri. So, you can ask Siri to play a song using voice commands without having to manually open the app. On the other hand, Pandora and Siri are not compatible to each other.

Pandora vs. Apple Music: Music Selection

Pandora’s collection only had 800,000 tracks in 2011, but the service had doubled the number to at least 1.5 million by 2014. Still, that number is relatively small if compared to Apple Music’s collection, which contains over 30 million songs.

Pandora makes musical selections using algorithms. Well, because of this, you can say that the playlists are made by machines. On the other hand, besides the personalized musical selections in the For You section, Apple Music can also give you celebrity-curated radio stations as well. Some people hate algorithms and prefer actual humans to pick their music, so this is a considerable factor. In addition, the Beats 1 Internet radio station also provides real human broadcasts with all the DJs just like a true radio station.

Pandora vs. Apple Music: Following Artists

Pandora has the Artist Marketing Platform and Artist Audio Messages, which artists can use to connect to their listeners. In general, these are pretty good. Apple Music knows that this is an important feature for artists to maintain their fan bases, so it comes up with Connect, a feature that allows artists and fans to interact. Through Connect, artists can post photos, updates, lyrics, etc. They can even upload a personal jam session for their fans to watch.

PandoraApple Music
- A music streaming and music recommendation service- A music and video streaming service
- Available as a web interface and client apps for Windows, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and Xbox One- Client apps for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, Windows, and Android
- Personalized musical selections and algorithm-based radio stations- Personalized musical selections, celebrity-curated playlists, and live radio station
- Three subscription tiers: free, Pandora Plus, and Pandora Premium- Two subscription options, Individual Membership and Family Membership


In general, if you are planning to get a paid subscription, Apple Music is the much better choice. It gives full access to its many features, and it has a larger collection of music tracks. It also provides music videos. The Siri support and Connect are nice plus points. However, if you want to use a free music streaming service, Pandora should be your choice. The free version already provides good personalization and musical selections. In addition, Pandora is compatible with more platforms.

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