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Pandora vs Apple Music: What's Your Preference

hanna ellis By Hanna Ellis
Updated on: April 23, 2024

Pandora is a radio-based streaming service and Apple Music is a music and podcast streaming service and online music locker. They both provide music streaming service but they work differently in some aspects. Both Apple Music and Pandora are committed to helping users find their favorite jams and to discover tons of new tracks with ease. Now the question is, which one is the best music streaming service?

Here we made a side by side comparisons between Apple Music and Pandora. After a detailed review of them, you will make the right choice!

Pandora vs Apple Music

Comparison Table of Pandora and Apple Music

Pandora Logo Apple Music Logo
Free plan Ad-supported, limited to radio functionality, no offline mode Ad-supported, suffle-only mode, no offline mode
Monthly fee Pandora Premium $9.99, Pandora Plus $4.99 $10.99
Family plan $14.99 for 6 family members $16.99 for 6 family members
Students plan $4.99 per month $5.99 per month
Free trial 60 days 90 days
Music library Over 40 million licensed tracks Over 100 million licensed tracks
Sound quality 64kbps for free users, 192kbps for Pandora Plus and Premium users 256 kbps in AAC/ 1,411 kbps in ALAC
Offline listening Yes, with paid subscription Yes, with paid subscription
Supported devices Android and iOS devices, computers (not available for Free users), Kindle devices, Google Home, Chromecast, Sonos, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, Fitbit iOS or Android devices, computers, Apple TV, Apple Watch, HomePod, Sonos speakers
Availability US, Australia, New Zealand Over 100 countries

Side by Side Comparisons between Pandora and Apple Music

1. Pandora vs Apple Music: User Interface

Pandora provides a simple and whole purple interface. "Now Playing" tab displays what you’re currently playing, including thumbs up and thumbs down buttons, and the album art in the center of the main interface, with additional backstage which gives users access to the artist’s lyrics, tour dates, bios, and more. It claimed that the improved "Navigation" feature makes things easier when users create and organize stations, look at their favorite tracks, and use playback controls. However, many users think that the UI on the desktop version "makes things too complicated and there are simply too much for the purpose of aesthetics".

Pandora User Interface

The Apple Music interface is mainly designed in a grey and simple layout of the main features. The tabs along the above (bottom on the mobile app) offer pretty straightforward navigation: Library, For You, Browse and Radio. For You is a selection of curated playlists, albums, artists tailored from your listening preference and the music/album you recently played. The desktop iTunes looks pretty simple, and the mobile app is more charm.

Apple Music User Interface

Both Pandora and Apple Music have made a clear and charm interface, there is no absolute answer for which one is better.

2. Pandora vs Apple Music: Costs

Pandora offers 4 different tiers of service: free ad-supported Pandora, Pandora Plus, Pandora Premium, and Pandora Family Plan.

Pandora Free is an ad-supported radio service that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists, songs, and genres.

Pandora Plus ($4.99/month or $54.89/year) gives users the ability to replay tracks, listen to 4 radio stations offline, and the benefit to enjoy the higher audio quality and a longer timeout period.

Pandora Premium ($9.99/month or $109.89/year with a 60-day free trial) covers all the benefits of Pandora Plus, and the ability to search and play songs on-demand. With Pandora Premium, users can create full customizable playlists, access as much of their music collection offline, and enjoy higher quality audio and longer timeouts than Pandora Plus subscribers.

Pandora Premium Family ($14.99 USD monthly or $164.89 annually) offers all of the features of Pandora Premium up to six accounts.

Apple Music is $10.99/month for induvial, and $16.99/month for family sharing plan (up to 6 members with the same billing address), or $5.99/month for Apple Music Student plan. Students can get Apple Music at a discounted price for a maximum of 48 months, or four years.

If you are still confused to choose your subscription among various services, you can try Apple Music for a 3-month free to experience the full feature of it. If you are not happy with it, you can cancel the subscription at any time before your trial period ends.

Extra Tips: How to Receive Student Discount for Apple Muisc

Student Discount
Apple Music Expands the Student Discount to 32 Countries

Since May of 2016, Apple Music has offered students at accredited universities to access the millions of music tracks, and the swathe of exclusives Apple has managed to sign, for only $5.99 per month (50% off) for a total of 48 months. It's really easy to set up, and students in 168 countries can now save some money when listening to their favorite artists. How to get Apple Music Student discount?

Learn More >

3. Pandora vs Apple Music: Music Catalog and Music Discovery

Apple Music has over 100 million songs in its catalog. One of the highlights of Apple Music is, the integration of the iTunes library, you can stream all songs gathered from whether previously purchased via the iTunes Store, ripped from a physical CD, or uploaded to iTunes. All of them will appear in your Apple Music library, which makes its library more flexible. Pandora offers on-demand access to more than 40 million songs and millions of curated and auto-generated radio stations that offer variations on a theme.

If you have no idea about which one you should pay for, take a massive search on both platforms and see which one fulfills your needs. If you are a massive fan of some internationally famous singers like Drake or Taylor Swift, Apple Music will be your right choice.

Apple Music on Audacious
How to Play Apple Music on Audacious

Unluckily, though Audacious can support many kinds of audio formats, it does not support playing encrypted Apple Music. To listen to Apple Music on Audacious successfully, you need to remove protection from Apple Music files and convert them to plain audio formats first. In this passage, we are going to tell you the solution on how to play Apple Music on Audacious.

Learn More >

4. Pandora vs Apple Music: Audio Quality

As for the sound quality offered by the mainstream music services, Apple Music is streamed at 256kbps in AAC and for Pandora, its audio quality might be the lowest available among the major streaming music service, even the Premium subscribers' stream music at only 192Kbps in AAC format.

If you are a professional artist or musician, quality streamed by Pandora might not be acceptable for the high-demand streaming experience or commercial use.

Listen to Audiobook on Kindle
How to Listen to Audiobook on Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle is a portable device that is exclusively designed for eBook reading. But did you know that the audio files like mp3 can be imported and played on recently released Kindle devices? Kindle is not a good tool for music streaming, but it could be a great platform to listen to the audiobooks, and the first thing is, you must convert the audiobooks to mp3 format before you can move them to Kindle.

Learn More >

5. Pandora vs Apple Music: Compatibility

Apple Music works on all of Apple's devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch (with no iPhone on LTE models), Apple TV, Mac (in iTunes), and HomePod. Besides, it’s also available on some smart speakers like Amazon Echos, Google Home, Homepod using Bluetooth connection, Sonos devices, or play Apple Music in cars using Bluetooth connection. Pandora Premium was on a select few platforms, but now it's also available on iOS, Android, desktop, web browser, Sonos, Kindle devices, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Home, Fitbit and more.

Set Sleep Timer on iOs and Android
How to Set a Sleep Timer on iOS and Android?

Listening to music while being in bed is one of the most common ways of relaxations for the majority of the people. It helps us rest and fall asleep easily, so we get our headphone and play our favorite beats to unwind or relax. But we probably don’t like the idea of dozing off and leaving it playing the whole night. If so, perhaps you’d like the idea of a music sleep timer.

Learn More >

6. Conclusion: Pandora or Apple Music, Which is your choice?

In the end, the advantage of Apple Music is, it organizes the songs, albums, artists, and playlists very accurately. If you are a fan of Apple products, particularly the HomePod and Apple Watch, subscribing to Apple Music will make your life more fantastic. Pandora's "Music Genome Project" is a trump card to give better recommendations. If you are tired of discovering new music and do not know what to listen to, Pandora will give you more suggestions.

Recommend: Apple Music Music Converter

Sidify Apple Music Converter can help you download the tracks as mp3 files and keep them forever. It converts Apple Music tracks to the plain format like mp3, which you can move the music files to any device or apps you would like to stream them.

Apple Music Converter

Sidify Apple Music Converter

  • okConvert Apple Music and M4P music to MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC;
  • ok Unlock from iTunes M4A, M4B & Audible AA, AAX audiobooks;
  • ok Preserve 100% lossless sound quality after conversion;
  • ok10X Conversion Speed; Keep ID3 tags and metadata.

If you are looking for a tool to convert any streaming music (such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, YouTube, YouTube Music, SoundCloud, DailyMotion …) to MP3, Sidify All-In-One is the go-to choice.

author avatar

Hanna Ellis | Content Writer

Hanna Ellis is an experienced writer with a strong passion for technology, music, and software. Her experience allows her to skillfully infuse her passion into her writing, creating comprehensive, informative, and practical content that appeals to a wide range of audiences.