Pandora is a great music streaming app if you’re looking to discover new music. The ability to create over 100 different music stations to fine-tune your listening habits goes far beyond any similar features from its competitors, and its paid subscription service (Pandora One) is quite a bit cheaper than the subscription plans of its rivals. Plus, Pandora is available on various platforms, including the web, mobile devices, and even some modern sound systems. Pandora’s main downsides are that you don’t have a lot of control over the exact songs or artists that you listen to, and that it’s only available in select countries.
If you’re curious as to what other Pandora alternatives are out there, here are six that we can recommend.
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Spotify is a very popular alternative to Pandora. It has a similar feature to Pandora in that you can start a “station” based on a song, artist, or genre, and then get Spotify to play similar songs that you can approve or disapprove in order to get better results. However, you’re only allowed to have 20 of these stations. To make up for it, Spotify allows you to search directly for songs, and put together playlists of tunes that you already like. Spotify’s subscription service, Spotify Premium, gives similar benefits to Pandora One, but costs almost twice as much.
Oh, and we have a Spotify course, if you’d like to learn about the features of Spotify that we discussed here.
A popular Pandora alternative from France, Deezer also has “radio stations” functions called “Flow” and “Hear This” that allow you to listen to custom mixes of songs. They’re not as precisely tailored to your tastes as those on Pandora, though; they only adhere to what music is in your collection, and what you have listened to recently. On the plus side, Deezer allows you to listen to specific songs on demand and create custom playlists, two things that Pandora does not allow. Deezer also has a subscription service that eliminates commercials between songs and allows for offline listening; it costs about the same as Spotify Premium.
3. Google Play Music
Google Play Music is one of the most unique sites like Pandora on this list. For $10 per month — about the same cost as Spotify Premium or Deezer’s subscription service — you can listen to songs on-demand, as well as create custom radio stations (like you can on Pandora). In addition, Google Play Music also offers a free service where you can store your music files — up to 50,000 in total! — so that you can get at them from pretty much anywhere you want! You can also purchase and download songs straight onto your computer from Google Play Music, something that neither Pandora nor the two alternatives to it that we’ve listed so far allow you to do.
One of the newest Pandora competitors, Tidal was created by a group of musicians led by rapper Shawn Carter, better known as “Jay-Z”. They wanted to make a music-streaming service that avoided the licensing issues that Pandora and Spotify ran into by having artists license their music to a service that they owned themselves, resulting in more money going directly to musicians (instead of record labels and other middleman distributors) and thus more incentive being created for artists to put their music on Tidal. Tidal itself allows you to listen to songs on demand and in high audio quality from a library of over 25 million songs. In addition, you can watch over 75,000 music videos in high-quality video on demand as well. However, Tidal cannot be used for free, and its subscription options can get as expensive as $20 per month.
Like Pandora, iTunes lets you listen to Internet radio stations free of charge. However, it doesn’t allow you to customize those stations like Pandora does. However, iTunes does allow you to purchase and download individual songs or albums — as well as some movies and television shows — which you can organize into playlists on iTunes, move to other devices, or manage pretty much any way that you want. And there are no subscriptions involved; on iTunes, you just pay for what you want to listen to or watch.
6. Apple Music
Like iTunes, Apple Music is another Apple-owned entry on the list of Spotify competitors. Like Tidal, it can’t be used for free (though you can get a three month free trial), and costs between $10 and $15 per month. What you get for that is commercial-free streaming of songs on-demand from a very large library of music. You can sort your music into custom playlists, or — like on Pandora — you can use songs as launch pads for custom radio stations. And with the “Connect” feature, you can listen to radio stations curated by celebrity DJs and musicians, or just see what your favourite bands and singers are coming out with next.
So, have any of these websites like Pandora piqued your curiosity in the past? Was your curiosity rewarded, or was disappointment your only reward? Are there any other apps or sites similar to Pandora that you would recommend to our community of users? Let us know by writing a comment below, or leaving us a message on Twitter or Facebook.