What’s life without music? If you have hunted high and low for the latest by your favorite band and found it, you are familiar with the Pandora app. Like a veritable Pandora’s Box, this program that has been around for over a decade, scans more than 400 musical qualities like harmonies and tempo among others, to create radio stations for particular artists and genres.
Almost uncanny, Pandora’s service plays old and unfamiliar tunes giving exactly what the listener wants. (Sadly, right now, Pandora Radio cannot be accessed outside U.S.A. due to licensing constraints.) From Pandora Radio to a mobile app was not too much of a stretch and listening to music was not the same again. In fact, more than 70% of Pandora usage takes place on mobile phones. With 900,000 songs in its library and more being added each day, Pandora is now looking at new markets, like the car segment; music listening is synonymous with driving.
Pandora ruled the roost till 2008 when Swedish Spotify hit the scenes. It offered a six-month trial period that many people were only too happy to use. Spotify tied up with huge players like Warner, Sony, Universal and EMI for streaming rights and seemed poised to overtake all the competition, including Pandora. But, nothing is free in life and users soon learned that the ‘free account’ is chocked with ads, plays only a few tracks and cannot be used with certain gadgets and apps. Then, Spotify offered its Unlimited and Premium (competition to Pandora One) options with better features like less ads, desktop streaming and mobile access. Spotify went one step further and tied up with Facebook, the integration allowing users to access Spotify only when they signed in. Huge issues have been raised about user privacy, making Pandora look good in this respect- it does not require sign-in for music.
Spotify is accessible in any part of the world and with Spotify Offline, the music plays without an internet connection as well. You can choose from cool apps like We Are Hunted for music tips and Rolling Stone for great writing, or Moodagent- a bit like Musicovery.com, where you can match music to mood. I also like the biographies feature that gives an insight into my favorite musicians. Choose by artist or genre, find related artists or try an era you particularly like.
Both services provide playlists, search options etc. and it is a case of ‘only time will tell’. Both Pandora and Spotify have die-hard loyalists who are most benefitted by this musical battle. In a bid to get more listeners, newer, cooler apps are being created and it will be exciting to see what’s next. There are pros and cons with each service. Pandora has age and experience and the benefit of being first on the scene. Spotify is a young, hip service carrying a cool vibe and its ease of access is a huge advantage it will surely capitalize on.
Ultimately, music is at the heart of everything Pandora and Spotify do and that can only be good news for all of us music lovers.
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