Apple Music vs Spotify vs Pandora: Which music streaming service is the best?

Will Archer, Reporter

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Music is evolving again, away from digital ownership and into the realm of streaming, similar to TV shows and movies. There are several competing services each offering slightly different packages. Here we’ll compare those packages and help you decide which service is right for you.

 

Apple Music:

  1. Library Size: over 35 Millions Songs with the library constantly growing, burn your own CDs and add your own MP3 files to the library as well
  2. Price: $9.99 per month, $15.99 family sharing for up to 6 users
  3. Customization: Create playlists that may include both streamed songs and personal music
  4. Free Option: Search and listen to all songs, but you can’t add any to playlists or your library
  5. Offline: Download any song with a paid subscription
  6. Radio: A radio station with actual DJs as well as randomly generated personalized radio stations
  7. Platforms: iOS, MacOS, Windows, Android, Apple TV
  8. Unique Features: Very user-friendly interface that many people are already familiar with. Built in system for burning CDs. Also, Taylor Swift and music videos.

Spotify:

  1. Library Size: Around 30 million, several million of which have never been listened to (not even once!)
  2. Price: $9.99 per month, $5 extra per family member on family sharing
  3. Customization: Create playlists of the music offered by Spotify. Personal music can also be added locally through the computer applications.
  4. Free Option: Create playlists from Spotify’s library and listen to them on a shuffle mode that may exit your playlist at any time. Ads and limited skips are also present.
  5. Offline: Download any song with a paid subscription
  6. Radio: Only randomly generated personalized radio stations
  7. Platforms: Anything with Flash, iOS, MacOS, Windows, Playstation, Windows Phone
  8. Unique Features: Discover Weekly, a playlist built for you by Spotify based off your taste, but that you may have never heard before.

Pandora:

  1. Library Size: 1 million
  2. Price: Free to use with ads and limited skips, $4.99 per month for unlimited skips, no ads, and increased audio quality
  3. Customization: No playlists, but you can have infinite randomly generated personalized radio stations based on genres, artists, and songs you specify
  4.  Free Option: Ads and limited skips
  5. Offline: You must be online to use Pandora
  6. Radio: The entire thing is ONLY the radio program which is personalized and finds new songs based off of a specified genre or band
  7. Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows
  8. Unique Features: Some say the platform is good at finding unique and interesting artists, but otherwise, Spotify and Apple Music have all of Pandora’s functions covered.

 

The Verdict:

It’s a matter of personal taste. If finding new music is important to you, some claim Pandora is good for finding new music, but you should use Spotify, because their Discover Weekly playlist will automatically find new songs that match your tastes and their library is 30 times larger than Pandora’s. If Taylor Swift is a must for you, definitely go with Apple Music, that’s the only place she’s available. If you like live DJs and commentary on the music industry, then Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio might be your cup of tea. However, the victory has to go to Spotify due to the sheer amount of features and forms it has. You can listen to Spotify on basically any system, and many of the songs on iTunes are on Spotify. They are also known for uploading new music as soon as it releases, whether it has released commercially or not (leaked albums would show up in their library). Also, like iTunes, Spotify allows users to add their own music from CDs into their libraries (albeit the system isn’t nearly as integrated as Apple’s).

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