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Spotify Internet Radio - Could It Dethrone Pandora?

Pandora burst onto the scene years ago with the coolest (legal) thing to ever happen to online music - personalized internet radio. Other services with similar ideas came and went, but nothing worked like Pandora.

Now a new service called Spotify is making waves and is rumored to be a "Pandora killer." Is it better? I'll compare both Pandora and Spotify to see which one is worth your time and money.

16 Million Songs!

The first thing I noticed about Spotify was the vast music library holding a claimed 16 million songs. Pandora, with its database of about one million songs, doesn't even compare... Or does it?

Pandora says that 95% of their songs are played on a regular basis, which means they have a quality lineup. Who knows, maybe only a small percentage of Spotify's songs are even played regularly? Maybe it's just filler content.

I have encountered a few situations in which Pandora didn't recognize a song that I typed in, so I'm leaning toward Spotify winning here.

$3/month or $10/month

Both services offer free accounts that are supported with banner ads and commercial breaks between songs, but their paid account options are decidedly different.

Pandora can be purchased for $36/year, which is just $3/month for unlimited listening on their website, desktop software, and mobile apps.

Spotify, on the other hand, costs $10/month for their Premium service which allows unlimited, ad-free listening along with desktop software and mobile apps. That's more than triple the cost of Pandora! Spotify Unlimited is only $5/month, but that limits you to the desktop software - you can't use the mobile app.

I think Pandora is the clear winner here, with one caveat - though Pandora earns hundreds of millions in revenue, they actually lose money each year. I have my fingers crossed that they can become profitable at their current low price.

Song Recommendations

If you ever heard of Pandora, you probably heard about the Music Genome Project - that's their bread and butter when it comes to matching songs to your personal tastes. It's a very advanced algorithm, and it works! Pandora never fails to present me with music that I like, yet have never heard before!

Spotify has a slightly different approach where they rely on the Facebook social graph to see what others are listening to. This simply doesn't provide as good of recommendations as Pandora does.

Who Wins, Spotify or Pandora?

In the end, we have two similar services that excel in certain areas. Spotify has such a wide selection that it's great for creating and maintaining playlists of your favorite music, but Pandora is the easy winner when it comes to discovering new artists.

I have no plans to drop Pandora, but I'm sure some people will prefer Spotify. Why not sign up for the free version of both Pandora and Spotify and see which works for you?

Click here to sign-up for Pandora or click here to sign-up for Spotify.