Spotify trumps Pandora

Lauren Porter


Pandora and Spotify being played on two phones. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
Pandora and Spotify being played on two phones. (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

This week, I had to give a persuasive speech in my public speaking class. I wanted to do it on a subject that I at least kind of cared about, and then, material presented itself at one of my family dinners.

My niece Chloe and I were talking, and she said something about Pandora. I told her that Spotify was so much better, and in typical pre-teen fashion, she rolled her eyes at me before questioning why Spotify is better.

I didn’t have an answer right then, but after doing some research for my persuasive speech, I have the answer now. In fact, I have several reasons why Spotify is better than Pandora.

Music Catalog

When it comes to the number of songs Pandora and Spotify have in their music catalog, it’s no contest. According to Rick Stella from Digital Trends, Pandora has somewhere around 1 million songs; whereas, Spotify has upwards of 20 million songs.

Music Discovery

This is the area that Pandora actually beats Spotify. Pandora may not have a large music catalog, but as Micah Singleton from Techlicious explains, around 100,000 artists are hand-picked by Pandora staff for its listeners to discover. Also, the Music Genome Project that Pandora patented makes music discovery as easy as clicking a thumbs up or thumbs down button. The Music Genome Project is an algorithm, or database, that not only categorizes songs by genre, but by things like rhythm, texture, tonality, gender of the artists and more. From this database, Pandora selects songs with similar categories for your listening discovery and pleasure. I have to admit that the Music Genome Project is pretty awesome.

Spotify has radio stations like Pandora that you can create, but the music it selects for you doesn’t go too far outside the selected genre, so music discovery isn’t as intuitive. However, Spotify adds new music weekly that you can discover, and there’s also a playlist called “Discover Weekly” that includes songs you may not have heard before. That’s where I discovered Courtney Barnett.

Social Features

The social features on Pandora are not great. You can share tracks or stations on Pandora, but you either share the whole station or just part of a track via Facebook or Twitter.

Spotify’s social features are so much better than Pandora’s. On Spotify, you can share individual songs, artists, albums and entire playlists via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the Spotify app. Also, you can collaborate on playlists with your friends and make the playlists public for others to listen to and follow. There’s a playlist called “#ThrowbackThursday” that I listen to every single Thursday. Some weeks are better than others, so I decided to create my own “Throwback Thursday” that I have made public for others to listen to.

For all of you social butterflies out there, Spotify is better for your social needs.


Pandora offers its Premium One membership for only $4.99 a month, which is a pretty good price to have music available to you at anytime you want (or have internet).

Spotify is $9.99 a month. However, on Spotify’s website, I found that Spotify offers some discounts. You can get the first three months of your premium membership for only 99 cents. You can add family members to your account for 50 percent off per extra member. And most importantly, qualified students can get it for $4.99, which I didn’t know and now have to see if I can get.

Both memberships offer ad-free music and an uptick in audio quality, but Spotify offers so much more with the ability to create your own playlists that are available anytime you want. You can download songs to your phone so that you don’t have to be online to listen to your music. It’s just hands-down so much better.