Apple Music vs Spotify vs Pandora: Which music service is for you?

Are you trying to decide which music service to commit to? Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora are at the top of the list of options. They each offer terrific features, are available across multiple platforms, and are comparable in price. So what makes each stand out may be your deciding factor. Let’s have a look!

As you probably already know, Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora all provide similar features. You can create playlists, listen to stations, manage your music library, tune into podcasts, and much more. So rather than list the same features for each service, we’ll call out some special features and the differences.

Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora on Mac

Offline listening

Apple Music offers offline listening by allowing you to download what you choose with each of their plans.

Spotify does offer offline listening with their free version but for podcasts only. With Premium, you can download albums, playlists, and podcasts.

Pandora only offers offline listening with their paid plans and the options differ between Plus and Premium. Plus subscribers cannot choose which stations they can listen to offline, but Premium subscribers can download songs, albums, playlists, and stations.

Playlist sharing

Apple Music and Spotify let you share your playlists, but Pandora only offers this to Premium subscribers. If you join the Pandora Community, you can try out the Playlist Swap section.

Social connections

Apple Music and Spotify let you connect with friends, see what they’re listening to, and follow others. Pandora offers a Community you can connect with online.

Video content

Apple Music and Spotify each offer collections of music videos, documentaries, interviews, and video series.

Device and platform availability

Where and with which device you plan to listen to your music is an important factor. Luckily, each service is available across multiple platforms and devices.

Apple Music: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac, HomePod, CarPlay, Windows (with iTunes), Android, Sonos, Amazon Echo, Samsung Smart TV, Google Home, and Google Nest.

Visit Apple Music online for more.

Spotify: iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple Watch, Fitbit, WearOS, Samsung wearables, Garmin smartwatches, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Spotify TV app, Android Auto, CarPlay, Sonos, Google Home, Google Nest, Facebook Portal, Alexa devices, gaming consoles, desktop, and the web.

Visit Spotify online for more.

Pandora: iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple Watch, WearOS, HomePod, Apple TV, Samsung TV, Google Chromecast, Android Auto, CarPlay, desktop, Pandora app, gaming consoles, and the web.

Visit Pandora online for more.

These aren’t inclusive lists, as more platforms are added all the time. But for the most part, you’re covered on about any device with all three music services.

Free services and subscription plans

One factor that may weigh in on your music service decision is cost. If you’re on a tight budget, you might opt for a less expensive option. And you’ll want to consider how often you use the service in relation to what you pay for it. You’ll also notice in the plan details below that Apple Music is the only service of the three that does not currently offer a free version.

Apple Music offers three paid monthly plans:

  • Student: $4.99 (for college students, requires verification)
  • Individual: $9.99
  • Family: $14.99 (access for up to six people)

You can also take a look at Apple One plans which include additional services such as Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.

Apple Music Subscription Plans on the Web

Spotify offers four Premium monthly plans in addition to their free service which offers limited features:

  • Student: $4.99 (for college students, requires verification)
  • Individual: $9.99
  • Duo: $12.99 (for two accounts)
  • Family: $14.99 (access for up to six people)

Spotify Subscription Plans on the Web

Pandora offers one Plus and four Premium monthly plans in addition to their free service which offers limited features:

  • Plus: $4.99
  • Premium: $9.99
  • Student: $4.99 (for college students, requires verification)
  • Family: $14.99 (access for up to six people)
  • Military: $7.99 (for active duty, retirees, veterans, national guard, and reserves, requires verification)

Pandora Subscription Plans on the Web

Note: All service prices are subject to change.

The features provided with each plan for all services vary. And as you can see, each option is comparable in price. So be sure to review what you receive and what you do not, for the best deal for you.

The bottom line

If you don’t want to pay for a music service, then that narrows down your choices to either Spotify or Pandora. From there, you may want to look at features for sharing, social, and video content, which brings you to Spotify as the best option.

However, if you are willing to pay for a service, then the choice comes down to the features that mean the most to you. It’s all about getting the best value for your listening preferences. So which one will you choose? Or have you already chosen one of these and want to let us know why? Comment below!