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Pandora, Spotify, Oh, My! Which Music Streaming Service Should You Be Using?


First published on http://www.ebony.com/

If you’re a music lover who is still downloading your favorite songs one album or track at a time, you might want to consider a music streaming service to get your fix. According to Nielsen SoundScan data, music downloads were down 13% in the first quarter of 2014, while interactive streaming was up 34%. With so many services to choose from it can get confusing, so here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular options:

One of the oldest, but still very popular streaming services is Pandora. Started in 2000, Pandora lets you create your own radio stations based on a particular artist or genre of music. In the free version, you can create up to 100 stations, but you have to listen to ads every few songs, and there is a limit to how many songs you can skip per hour. The paid version is $4.99 per month and eliminates the ads. Unfortunately, you don’t get offline listening, and Pandora’s catalog is fairly small with only about one million songs available.

Spotify is probably the most popular music streaming service currently available that boasts a 20-million-plus song catalog, and the ability to listen to songs on-demand. You can create custom playlists, or choose playlists based on different categories like “workout,” “romance,” and “kids.” There is also a Pandora-like radio station feature as well. The free version of Spotify limits the number of skips per hour if you’re using the radio station, and you can only listen to your playlists in shuffle mode. Spotify’s $9.99 per month paid version gives you those capabilities and also eliminates ads and allows for offline listening.

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