Unpopular opinion: My love affair with Pandora


graphic by Bridget Murphy

Pandora takes the throne of all music apps.

by Brianna Dellavalle and Bridget Murphy

All I need is an app that plays songs I enjoy, without charging me a monthly fee and without having to check my phone every two seconds to choose the next song.

Many music listeners lean toward SoundCloud, Spotify or Apple Music as their ‘go-to’ source for their daily tunes. My unpopular opinion is that Pandora is the King of all music apps.  (I do admit Apple Music is my second favorite source for music but the monthly payment for subscription is starting to hurt my bank account.)

Pandora was the first. The company was founded in 2000, so technically it has been in my life since Day One. Some music-lovers have kicked it to the curb but I have always been loyal to the music app.

Pandora takes my emotions into consideration

When I am in a sad mood, Pandora knows which songs to play on Sam Smith Radio. When I am in an excited mood, Post Malone Radio never fails me. The system personalizes songs to every like and dislike.

Senior Riley Palmer said she loves Pandora because “it gives you a mix of music based on what you like to listen to.”

While there are advantages to Pandora, I do recognize there are a few thumbs-downs as well.

Everyone has their faults, but Pandora makes up for theirs

There are six song skips allowed per station, every hour. However, if you run out of song skips you are still able to ‘thumbs down’ a song so they won’t play again. There is also the occasional 30-second ad that pops up during the transition of songs. If that bothers you too much, Pandora offers a Premium version of the app with unlimited skips and no ads, for a fee of $9.99 a month. Pandora Premium also allows users to search music by album or song track.

“I rarely hear any ads and if I do they aren’t very long. Also I don’t run out of skips often because I like 95% of the songs it plays for me,” said senior Michelle Chawngthu.

Pandora’s competition is no match

I wanted to understand the hype about Spotify and Soundcloud, before I totally abandon them. Throughout the weekend, I downloaded both apps and created accounts.

Spotify (created in 2006) had some pre-made playlists, but the time that it took me to actually figure out how to work the app was about 30 minutes (and that was with the help of one of my Spotify-using friends). Another issue (which also occurs with Pandora) is the limit of skips allowed.

I quickly grew tired of the amount of work and searching I had to do before I was actually listening the music I enjoy, so I tried SoundCloud.

SoundCloud (created in 2007) is known for the recognition it gives new artists and music producers who create remixes of the most popular songs at the time. Don’t get me wrong: I love remixes, but I don’t love having to ask my friends for every good song they have.

Without having a friend to recommend good songs they know or having someone on the app share their playlist, it is almost impossible to find a constant supply of good music. And by the way, where did all of the regular music go? Some days I just need to hear the original version of Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus, not some remix.

Pandora is understanding

Signing up for Pandora only requires an email address and a password of your creation. There is no cost or monthly fee! Users can search any genre or artist to create a station that revolves around that choice; the ‘thumbs-up’/ ’thumbs down’ technology (used for song selection) is very unique to Pandora and is loved by many.

As of November 2017, Pandora has over 70 million active listeners. The majority age group of listeners for Pandora is 35-40 years old, so it seems as though I am joining the adults on this one.

Pandora doesn’t always fully understand your music desires. For instance, if you ‘thumbs-up’ too many Bruno Mars songs that is all you will be hearing. Don’t fret, there is a fix, all you have to do is change the station to a theme that is more specific to your wants and needs. It always understands me and what I want.

Everybody’s day can be brightened with a hint of music and Pandora is the source they need.