OnlineMusic streaming services
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|Pandora Media, Inc
Free music streaming with no time limits
Great for discovering new music and artists
Clean and simple interface
Not as many unique songs as similar services
Occasional ads in the free version
Pandora is a fantastic music streamer for the price, which is free. If you want a basic music streaming service at no cost, Pandora is perfect for you. Keep in mind Pandora doesn’t allow you to pick and choose songs to be played, so if you’re okay with songs you’ve never heard popping up, Pandora could be right for you. Pandora doesn’t have the largest library of unique tracks out there, but its smooth and easy to use interface make it a treat.
Before signing up, Pandora will allow you to stream a few songs and preview their service. After a few listens, you will be forced to create an account to keep listening. Account creation is pretty basic, although it does ask for your birth year, zip code and gender, which is a bit unusual. The service is free, although there is a paid version with higher quality music, unlimited skips and no ads. After you complete the basic signup, you can immediately enjoy all the features of Pandora and begin listening to music.
While Pandora has the largest user-base (over 200 million users) of all the streaming services on our list, it has one of the smallest music libraries with around 1,000,000 unique tracks. By comparison, other music streaming services have well over 10,000,000 unique songs.
Pandora uses the station-type approach, which means you can’t pick and choose specific songs to play, but you can choose an artist or genre and listen to from them or similar music. You can give songs a “thumbs up” which will increase the likelihood of running into that song again. You can also give a “thumbs down” which then decrease your chances of hearing that song again.
Station mixer –Instead of using one artist or genre for streaming, Pandora lets users input multiple artists/genres to calculate music to play.
Station shuffle –Shuffle between all of your stations with Pandora’s shuffle feature. One song will play from one station, then play another from another random station on your account.
Mobile apps –Take Pandora on the go with the easy to use app for IOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and more. All features are included with the app, and it’s just as easy to use as the web version.
Social networking capabilities –Connect your Pandora account with Facebook and Twitter to share songs to your friend’s and follower’s news feed.
Ease of use
Pandora’s interface is very clean with a navigation-friendly interface. The music player always lies on the top of the page no matter where you go in the website. This is great because you can stay in one window without worrying about stopping your music. Stations can also be easily switched by using the “New Station” search bar glued to the top-left of the page. If you enjoy a song you discovered through Pandora and would like to purchase it, simply click the “Buy” tab which will reveal a drop-down menu of places to buy/download the song. There is also a long bar on the left side of the page that contains all of your stations. This is a nice touch because it makes getting to previously enjoyed stations so simple.
Help & support
Pandora offers a searchable tutorial page to help answer most questions users have. If the tutorials aren’t enough, there is also an option to email the Pandora support team, which will then respond to your question as quickly as possible.
For something that cost absolutely nothing, you can’t get much better than Pandora. There are no time limits on the amount you can stream, and you can do it from almost any device. Other music streaming services will make you pay if you want to listen to a high amount of music, but not Pandora. Its library is small, which is what knocks it down on our list, but the average user won’t even notice. Unless you’re a hardcore music fan who needs specific songs played for long periods of time and ad-free, Pandora will fit your needs.
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