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Pandora Music Review: Price, Features, Library [2020 Edition]

People no longer listen to music in the same way. A mere decade ago, people listened to music through iPods and CDs. Music files were the thing. If you wanted more space for your music downloads, you had to upgrade to a music player with more storage. Nowadays, all you need is a mobile device and a secure internet connection.

One of the most popular methods of listening to music is through Pandora Music. However, is it really worth your time and money to subscribe to Pandora? Here, we break down Pandora Music’s price, features, and library in an in-depth review.

 

What Is Pandora Music?

Pandora Music
© Photo by pandora.com

Pandora Music is a music streaming service based in Oakland, California. It currently only serves users in the United States. Pandora boasts over 70 million active users every month, about 6 million of which are paid, subscribers. The service initially became available on mobile devices through an app compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. In recent years, however, Pandora launched a desktop client for Windows and Mac.

 

Features on Pandora Music

One of the main considerations people take into account when choosing a service is the features. If a certain service does not have the features you are looking for, then there is a good chance you will search for an alternative. Let us look at Pandora Music’s features one by one below.

 

The Songs Library and Archives

Screenshot Image
© Photo of Pandora Music on Google Play Store

Pandora Music started out with a meager 800,000 when it launched. However, over time and through an acquisition by Sirius XM Satellite Radio, it eventually grew its collection of tracks. Now, Pandora boasts over 30 million songs in its library. The streaming service has mainstream and indie tracks from both popular and lesser-known artists. With its extensive library of content, you will surely not run out of songs to play.

 

The Music Discovery on Pandora

Some people find that music discovery is one of the most important features of a music streaming service. Being one of the first few people to appreciate a song before it becomes a huge hit is a bragging right.

A huge benefit of Pandora Music is its use of the Music Genome Project. This project analyzes over 450 song attributes to make song recommendations. Pandora takes your music taste into account and plays songs the algorithm believes you will like as well.

The Pandora radio station feature allows you to listen to tracks based on genre. You can even listen to other people’s radio stations or create your own to share with others. When every track is played, you have the option to rate the song with a thumbs up or thumbs down. By tapping thumbs up, similar songs will come up in that station. Thumbs down, on the other hand, skips the song and excludes similar songs from the station. A second thumbs down on the same artist blocks songs from that artist from playing again.

 

Music Playlists

Sometimes, you might want to listen to specific songs you have curated for certain tasks. You may have specific songs in mind for when you are working out or for your long commute. Much like other music streaming services, Pandora lets users create their own custom playlists, depending on the paid plan they are on. You can also share the playlists you have created with other people.

 

Offline Playback Feature

pandora music offline playback
© Photo by Janko Roettgers on variety.com

Constantly looking for an internet connection just to play music can be a hassle. Most of the time, you just want to listen to songs without having to worry about Wi-Fi or consuming your data. This is where offline playback comes in. Depending on your plan, Pandora Music lets you download songs for offline listening. Just plug in your earphones and start playing songs!

 

Search and Play Shortcuts

pandora music search
© Photo of Pandora Music on Google Play Store

While Pandora generally relies on its Music Genome Project for music discovery, that does not mean you have no option of searching for specific songs. If you have a song in mind, you can always just tap on the search bar and begin typing. Pandora will then show you a list of results. From there, you can choose to play the song or add it to your playlist. The process is simple!

 

How Much Data Does Pandora Use?

Some people rarely have a Wi-Fi network to connect to. As a result, they usually rely on their data plan to stream videos and music. Naturally, before considering Pandora as your streaming service of choice, you would want to know how much data it consumes. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question.

The amount of data Pandora uses largely depends on the audio quality you choose and how often you listen to music. The default bitrate is 128 Kbps, which is fairly low. Using this bitrate, the sound quality is not as impressive. However, it offers the lowest data consumption, at about 60 to 70 MB per hour.

On the other hand, paid Pandora users also have the option to up the bitrate to 192 Kbps. This bitrate offers much better sound quality, though it does come with a price. Using your data, listening to songs at 192 Kbps will consume about 90 MB per hour.

Finally, the lowest bitrate is 64 Kbps. Pandora typically switches to this bitrate automatically when it detects that you are connected to the internet via data. You can, of course, change this by toggling the settings. At 64 Kbps, though, you will consume a mere 30 MB per hour of music streaming.

 

Pandora Paid Service Tiers

Similar to other streaming services, Pandora offers a free version and a paid version. As expected, the free version comes with limitations. It lets you listen to music, but Pandora will play ads in between every 3 or 4 songs.

Additionally, you have no control over what song you can play. You can choose a song, and then Pandora will build a radio station for you based on that choice. Apart from that, you do not have the ability to upgrade to a higher sound quality. You have limited skips, too, and have no access to a desktop client.

As for Pandora’s paid plans, there are two service tiers: the mid-tier Pandora Plus and the top-tier Pandora Premium. Let us take a look at these two options below:

 

What Is Pandora Plus?

Pandora Plus is the mid-tier subscription plan offered by Pandora Music. With Pandora Plus, users are afforded the luxury of up to three offline radio stations and unlimited skips. Pandora Plus users also have the option to up their sound quality or listen to podcasts. Best of all, you can look forward to no ads at all. The only downside to this plan is that there is no on-demand streaming.

 

How Much Is Pandora Plus?

pandora plus
© Photo by Kelly Laffey on businessinsider.com

Pandora Plus costs $4.99 a month, which translates to $59.88 a year. However, if you opt to pay on an annual basis, you can knock that price down to $54.89.

 

What Is Pandora Premium?

premium
© Photo by Kelly Laffey on businessinsider.com

Pandora Premium is the top-tier subscription plan offered by Pandora Music. With a premium plan, you have full access to Pandora Plus features with a few added bonuses. Pandora Premium users can create and share personalized playlists. Additionally, you can play an unlimited number of songs offline.

 

How Much Is Pandora Premium?

Pandora Premium costs $9.99 a month, which translates to $119.88 a year. However, you can save more money by subscribing to its yearly premium plan, which costs $109.89.

The music streaming service also offers other discounts, though. For instance, the Pandora Premium Family plan costs $14.99 a month (or $164.89 if paid annually) and can accommodate up to 6 accounts.

Alternatively, Pandora Premium also costs less for students or military affiliates. Pandora Premium Student is available to college students for only $4.99 a month for up to 4 years. On the other hand, Pandora Premium Military costs only $7.99 a month (or $87.89 if paid annually). Eligible parties include active-duty members of the military, reservists, veterans, retirees, and military-registered dependents.

 

How To Cancel Pandora Premium or Pandora Plus?

Cancel subcription
© Photo by SERENITY CALDWELL on imore

One of these days, the time will come when you want to cancel your Pandora Plus or Premium subscription. It could be for any number of reasons — switching to a different streaming service or simply because you can no longer afford it. If you want to turn off automatic renewal (i.e. cancel your subscription plan), you can follow the steps below:

  • Using a computer (not a mobile device), sign in to your Pandora Music account
  • Go to the Subscriptions page
  • Select “Switch Plans”
  • On the bottom corner of the screen, find and click “Cancel Subscription”
  • You will be asked to enter your password to confirm the cancellation

These steps are very easy to follow. After completing them, you can still enjoy Pandora Plus or Premium features until the expiry date. However, you will no longer be charged for the following month.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pandora

As the likes of Spotify and Apple Music dominate the music streaming industry, it is understandable for people to have a few questions about Pandora Music. Here are some frequently asked questions about Pandora Music, answered.

 

How To Download Music From Pandora?

Free users do not have the luxury of downloading music for offline listening. If you are a Pandora Plus subscriber, Pandora automatically downloads your three most-listened-to radio stations. On the other hand, if you are a Pandora Premium subscriber, you have more freedom to choose which songs, playlists, or stations to download.

To download music, all you need to do is tap the download button (a downward-pointing arrow). If you want to download a specific song, you need to tap on the three vertical arrows then select “Download.” To stop the downloading process, simply tap the button again. Learn more about how to download pandora music here.

 

Where Does Pandora Save Music?

After downloading tracks for offline listening, you might wonder where they are stored. Locating your downloads is easy. Just go to “My Collection” and you will find them all there. You can filter the results by tapping on “All.” From there, a menu will appear where you can adjust your filter settings. Depending on the song and station you download, you may need anywhere between 300 to 700 MB of storage for all your downloads.

 

Why Does Pandora Keep Stopping?

This is a common pain point among Pandora Music users. The reason Pandora keeps pausing on your device can vary greatly. For instance, if your internet connection is unstable, it can cause the songs to intermittently stop. There may also be other apps on your device impeding with playback. On the other hand, if your device is running out of battery, that may also affect the performance of Pandora Music.

 

Pandora on Android Fixes

The solution to this stopping issue depends on the device you have. For Android users, there are a few ways you can troubleshoot the problem.

The first thing you should do is to clear the app data. To do this, simply open the Settings app, then go to “Apps.” Find and select the Pandora app, then tap “Storage.” From there, you can simply tap on “Clear Data” and see if it fixes the issue.

If Pandora continues to stop intermittently, the next thing you should do is make sure your phone’s Power Saving Mode is turned off. You can access this on the Settings app as well. Tap on “Device Maintenance” and then “Battery.” Look for “Power Saving Mode” and make sure it is switched off. If it is on, just toggle the switch to turn it off. You must also shut off any third-party power-saving apps.

Lastly, if it is a problem with your internet connection, you may want to downgrade the sound quality. Streaming music using a higher quality eats up a lot of data. If your connection cannot keep up, the songs will lag and pause every now and then. To lower your sound quality, just launch the Pandora app and tap on your profile. Select “Settings” and then “Audio Quality & Download.” From there, uncheck the box for “Higher Quality Audio.”

 

Pandora on iPhone Fixes

Alternatively, if you have an iPhone, you can try a couple of ways to fix the pausing issue with Pandora Music. The first thing you should do is to restart your phone. This trick usually solves the issue and prevents it from happening again. However, if it does not work, it is time to move on to the next solution.

If restarting your iPhone fails to take care of the problem, try uninstalling and then reinstalling the Pandora app altogether. Granted, this solution takes more time and effort, but it is a good way to troubleshoot the stopping issue. To do this, just tap and hold the Pandora app then tap on “Delete App.” After that, go to the App Store and install Pandora again. Log in to your account and enjoy music without any concerns.

 

How To Submit Music To Pandora?

If you are an amateur artist looking to be the next big thing, uploading your music Pandora is a good first step. It is a surefire way to get recognition and gain some traction. Who knows? You may also earn some fans along the way.

Submitting music to Pandora is a lot easier than other music streaming services, lower your expectations and don’t expect to get the approval right away and all the time. To submit music to Pandora, you must first create a Pandora account. After that, you must head to their music submission page: submit.pandora.com.

Once you are on the music submission page, you must fill out the form. This is perhaps the most tedious part of the process. The form is three pages long and requires a ton of information from you. This includes various contact information, submission and release information, and song information. After completing the form, you need to verify your account by entering your password again. Then, click “Submit.”

The process may be fairly straightforward, but it is generally a waiting game after that. If you fail to get a reply after 1-2 weeks, do not assume you have been rejected. Follow up with them until you get a concrete response.

 

Is Pandora Music Worth It?

Regardless of whether you love music or not, there is no denying Pandora’s popularity in the United States. In fact, the music streaming giant is already considering expanding to a global market. When it comes down to it, though, you are likely wondering if Pandora is even worth it.

Pandora Music is an impressive app and is the most compatible with those who love to discover new music constantly. However, if you are a casual fan of music, you may not fully appreciate what Pandora has to offer. Taking price into account, though, it is clear that Pandora is remaining competitive. Its top-tier subscription plan is comparable to other music streaming services. Plus, it has the added benefit of offering a mid-tier subscription plan.

All in all, if music discovery matters the most to you, Pandora Music is highly recommended. Its core Music Genome Project sets it apart from other music streaming giants. In the end, the decision is yours to make.

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