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With the announcement of Samsung’s Milk Music app Samsung Announces Milk Music: Ad-Free Internet Radio For Galaxy Devices Samsung Announces Milk Music: Ad-Free Internet Radio For Galaxy Devices Joining the crowded ranks of Internet radio services like iTunes Radio and Pandora, Samsung has just announced the oddly-named Milk Music service, available only on Galaxy devices. Read More for Galaxy devices, it’s time to take a look at how the Internet radio service stacks up against the biggest player in the game: Pandora. Milk Music offers a completely free and ad-free music experience without making you get a user account.

In the past, we’ve taken a look at some of the best mobile music apps Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service? Which Is The Best Mobile Music Streaming Service? Online radio is picking up steam now that there’s a good bit of competition driving the technology. You might be familiar with services like Pandora and Spotify, but now that you can stream music on-the-go... Read More out there, but Milk Music deserves a real chance here. With Internet radio experiencing a huge boom and tons of companies getting involved, is it even possible for Samsung to succeed in this field?

Hardware makers aren’t known for their high quality apps, but Milk Music just might be different.

Should You Consider Using Milk Music?

Both Pandora and Milk have their advantages, and before we delve into the specifics, let’s just cover some of the main features of both.

Pandora

Pandora:

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  • Annoying ads, or $3.99 price
  • Requires user account
  • Available on a wide range of devices and platforms
  • Available in Australia and New Zealand
  • Has numerous features including alarm clock, social sharing, artist bios, lyrics, and the ability to personalize stations by liking or disliking songs
  • Comparatively drab interface
  • Smaller collection of music
  • No actionable notifications

Milk

Milk Music:

  • Free and ad-free
  • User account not required
  • Only available on Galaxy devices
  • Only available in the US
  • Unique dial interface
  • Large collection of music
  • Actionable notifications

Still interested? Then read on to learn more about how Milk and Pandora compare.

Availability

If you can’t use it, it doesn’t do much good for you. Unfortunately, Milk Music’s largest drawback (besides the most poorly thought out name in existence) is that it is only available in the US and only for Samsung Galaxy devices. That means no Web or iOS versions, sadly.

Milk-Music-Ad

Pandora, on the other hand, is available on nearly everything in existence; I’m surprised my microwave doesn’t have it. It’s on the Web, Android, iOS, Blackberry, and even WebOS. You can also access it on Smart TVs and game consoles by going to tv.pandora.com, and many media devices, like the Roku set-top box, have native apps for it.

However, despite its bevy of platforms, Pandora is still only available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

You can get around these country restrictions, though. For Pandora on the Web, the region-unblocking Chrome extension Hola Unblocker - Easily Access Region-Blocked Content Hola Unblocker - Easily Access Region-Blocked Content Access sites like Hulu, CBS, iTV and Pandora regardless of which country you're in. Even better, there's no need to change your DNS settings or set up a VPN. Hola Unblocker is an Android app,... Read More Hola Unblocker is my recommendation. On Android, you may want to try one of these great VPN apps to pretend you’re in the US Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android Keep Your Data Private With These 4 VPN Apps For Android VPNs can be useful for a whole host of reasons, but their main benefits are that they keep your data private even over a public WiFi connection (which are surprisingly easy to exploit) and they... Read More .

Winner: Pandora, for being available in more regions and on a wider range of platforms.

User Interface

I had never had a problem with Pandora’s interface in the past, but that was before I saw Milk Music. Samsung has taken a departure from their usual cartoon-like design philosophy seen in TouchWiz and instead applied a very minimalist, clean look to Milk Music.

A blurred image fills the background when the dial is present and comes into focus when the dial fades away. Three semi-transparent buttons line the bottom, and options are hidden away off to the right by a small button.

Pandora-Milk-Home-1

In comparison, Pandora looks cluttered, busy, and uninspired. A thick bar with options lines the bottom, and a mostly empty bar lines the top as well, confining the album art to a small square in the middle, covered partially by an ad.

Options are accessed by tapping the top right or swiping in from the right; confusingly, however, the stations and other options are accessed by tapping the top left but not by swiping in from the left. Then, to get back to the main screen, you have to tap the Play symbol in the upper right.

Pandora-Milk-Station-Selection-1

The process for choosing a station is quite different in both apps. Pandora’s involves creating a station from a particular artist or genre by typing it in, and your stations then appear in a list. Milk on the other hand is designed around a central dial, moving your finger around the outside will scroll quickly through genres while moving your finger around the inside will scroll slowly for finding specifics within a genre.

Pandora’s method can be useful, but Milk’s method is much more fun and simple. You can switch between channels so much more quickly on Milk, and it’s significantly easier to access: just tap the screen and the dial appears. Plus, you can create stations centered around specific artists on Milk as well by tapping the list of genres in the top left.

Pandora-Milk-Right-Options-1

Swiping in from the right in both apps will bring up the options menus where you can see the stark contrast in design.

Pandora-Milk-Notifications-1

Milk clearly wins in the notification department as well. Pandora has yet to make use of the actionable notifications available since Android 4.2, whereas Milk has pause, next, and exit buttons, as well as the album art and name of the station.

Winner: Milk Music, for a cleaner, simpler, and more functional design.

Music

Milk Music is actually powered by Slacker, a separate Internet radio service that we have reviewed favorably Enjoy Great Music Selections With Slacker Radio [Website & Mobile] Enjoy Great Music Selections With Slacker Radio [Website & Mobile] Anyone who even remotely enjoys music - and I believe that's most of us - will absolutely love it when they discover new music that they like. We have a number of highly popular music... Read More . Slacker has bragged in the past that they have over 13 million songs, while the most recent numbers from Pandora suggest that they have around 900,000 songs.

Milk-Pandora-Lockscreens-1

In addition to having more music, Milk also is better in terms of music discovery. By scrolling through the dial, you’ll inadvertently run into genres and songs that you never thought you would like. After a few days of using Milk, I’ve already discovered more new music than I ever had on Pandora, not to mention that Milk Music has a much wider range of content to begin with.

Internet radio services generally have to limit the amount of skips you can use as a part of their licensing agreements, and Pandora and Milk both limit your skips to 6 per station per hour.

Winner: Milk Music, for having more content and better new music discovery.

Extra Features

Pandora has a lot of cool features 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Pandora Music Radio 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Pandora Music Radio Read More  as well as  a relatively new alarm clock feature Pandora Introduces Musical Alarm Clock for Android Pandora Introduces Musical Alarm Clock for Android That shrill ring of the alarm clock in the morning is something none of us look forward to, so online radio giant Pandora is launching an alarm feature on its Android app. Read More  that will wake you up to your favorite station. You can also view author bios and lyrics for a large number of songs by tapping on the album art from the main screen.

Pandora-Lyrics-Ads-1

On Pandora, your profile tracks your bookmarks and likes and can be linked with your Facebook profile for connecting with your friends. You can even follow people or be followed by people, bringing Pandora into social network territory.

Pandora-Artist-Info-Social-Feed-1

Pandora also has the option to buy the song you’re listening to, but it will redirect you to Amazon for the purchase. The ability to like and dislike songs is also unique to Pandora, although you can favorite songs on Milk or tell Milk to “never play song.”

Milk-Customize-Dial-Favorites-1

The dial on Milk is customizable in that you can choose 9 genres to be included on the dial, but you can’t change the order in which they are arranged, which is a bit annoying.

Milk-Fine-Tune-Genres-1

If you’d rather ignore the dial, you can also choose your station from the drop-down menu in the top left, and you can create stations from here.

Fine-tuning is one of the best features about Milk. Swiping up from the bottom on the main screen will bring up options for fine tuning. You can adjust the amount of popular, new, or favorited music that is played, making this an incredibly useful feature for discovery new artists or simply listening to your most popular favorites.

Still, Milk eschews features in favor of simplicity, allowing Pandora to take the lead here.

Winner: Pandora, for being the most feature-packed.

Advertisements And Price

Milk Music, for the time being, is completely free and ad-free, but Samsung has said that it will only be ad-free for a limited time. Regardless, if you’re in the US and have a Galaxy device, there’s really no reason not to give Milk Music a try.

There aren’t currently any paid tiers for Milk, but I would expect to see some appear in the future when ads are introduced. You don’t even need a Samsung account to get started, although it does allow you to listen to explicit content and sync your content.

Milk-Pandora-Ads-Accounts-1

Pandora requires an account to use the app and it has ads that will play in between every few songs, which is tolerable, but the pop-up ads that obscure the album art can get pretty annoying. Thankfully, there is a paid option called Pandora One available for $3.99 a month that gets rid of ads, gives you higher quality audio, access to the desktop application, fewer “are you listening?” interruptions, and custom skins for the Web version.

Winner: Milk Music, at least while it remains an ad-free service.

Conclusion

Milk Music beats out Pandora 3-2.

Specifically on Android, Milk Music takes the cake. Pandora may have more features and be available on more platforms, but Milk dominants the actual user experience with a gorgeous design, tons of music, and no ads.

Download Milk Music or Pandora from the Google Play Store to get started.

Which of these is your favorite? Or do you know of another Internet radio app for Android that’s even better? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Dave Hofmann
    March 12, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Lol this just in: I just got a Milk notification on my phone. Upgrade to an add free version of Milks for 3.99... hehe guess I was wrong about that one

  2. Dave Hofmann
    March 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    First off, although this article is very informative on the features of both apps, it really feels like you came into the comparison with a strongly biased opinion that milk is better than Pandora.

    You try and make it look like Pandora is outdated, cluttered, limited and annoying rather than provide a clear picture of what both have to offer.

    I tried Milk and I found its interface frustrating and complicated. The dial works well if you try one of the main genres but it's difficult to get a lock on the genres in between.

    For all your praise of Milks massive library I still can't find most of my favorite songs that I own on disc. (Although to be fair, I can't find those songs on Jango, Groove, Pandora, Spotify, or Milk... but that just seems to prove that Milk doesn't really have a better selection than Pandora after all)

    You keep talking about "annoying" ads in Pandora, but I can't say I've had to deal with that as I've paid the $3.99/mo for years because I use it so frequently.

    Despite what you say, Milk does in fact require a user account... this user account is yoyr phone account. But yes, Milk is free and does not require a subscription (unless you count the $50 monthly fee your cellphone company charges for having a smartphone).

    Additionally, contrary to user posts, the Web link does not work. It appears this music app is only available via the app.

    Lastly, you spoke of exploring and discovering new music being plusses on these apps. You can listen to any popular radio station (except Charlie) and you'll find they play the same 5 or 6 songs in a row all day long. That's because most people don't want to discover new songs and see what everybody else is listening to... they want to hear their favorite songs.

    In that sense Groove and Spotify win, but they both charge $10/mo.

    Bottom line:

    Feedback for your article: you sound like somebody paid you to write a Pro Milk article.

    Feedback concerning Music apps:
    Groove and Spotify: mix music or make your own play lists, but they both cost $10/more

    Pandora: costs $3.99-4.99 for add free but no Playlistsuch.

    Milk: free but obscure and it does almost everything exactly the same as any other app. This app is late to the game in anew app world already over saturated with music apps.

  3. Joshua
    November 22, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I like milk music but i would love it better than pandora if i could shuffle my stations. I like diversity and pandora delivers.

  4. John G. Rivera
    August 16, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Pandora, Spotify, and Milk Music are basically the same app just under a different name. I mean sure the features change a bit from one app to the other in terms of how it works and they sure some apps have more music than the other however each app does the same exact thing which is to play music and build you custom playlist/ stations based on your likes. I have the galaxy s4 so when I saw this app in the playstore I decided to try it out hoping for a different kind of music app but after seeing that this is basically just pandora but under a different name I was dissapointed. Nonetheless I gave it a try. Out of all 3 apps (spotify, pandora, and milk music) I think I'll just stick to pandora even if I have to put up with the pesky ads I've had it the longest of all 3 and use it far more anyways.

  5. Lawdog
    May 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Quick update from a Pandora (should say former) and now current "Milk Music" user.

    Web version is available!! It is simply http://www.milk.samsung.com and is available across all platforms. Now that is the web version which takes the circle dial of the mobile app and turns it into a tuner like you would have found on an old-fashioned radio from left to right. I upgraded to the Galaxy S6 edge on April 10, and was glad to see that once again the "P" icon for Pandora was already embedded into bloatware, but also through smart switch, my stations and my login. So at first I "disabled" (the Samsung term for remove) Milk Audio to save room for the apps that I would use. I was curious about two weeks ago, it's summertime, I like to go outside and take my Bose or Beats wireless device and crank it up if I'm outside or by the pool. The thought of ever paying for music that you listen to without it being yours never crossed my mind. Pandora for the last 10 years, yes 10 years is a long time, has been my go to app was annoyed by Facebook posting on what everyone was listening to on Spotify, disgusted by the artist that were represented on iHeartRadio, and the newcomer Beats Audio lacked the catalog and my 14 day of trial period had ended and I found it to be clunky, completely disorganized, and nothing I would ever pay for.

    Slight turn attention to that M for milk when I had disabled and installed it again. I figured it would be a spin off Pandora and would take a long time to get used to and create my own stations, plus there are enough advertisements on Pandora I couldn't imagine what others have to go through in order to get the rights to play music. What I found was the experience that the author up above described. A very smart, creative and super intuitive menu. I immediately customized my stations so that I could get rid of country and hip-hop R&B. :-) Everything else I could live with. Sound quality is all about the same. But I found new songs from new groups and older songs from the older groups that I loved. When I started to play with the fine-tuning, I was actually impressed by the ability for it to come up with songs I've never heard, but when I had friends over and needed ambient music, could fine tune it to play my favorites and it would do so without obscurity or genre bending where you're playing classical and an unplugged version of Nirvana comes up like happens on Pandora. I found advertisements to be a minimum. And the six skips per station. With already 200 stations plus the ability to make my own, with six gets all you need is about four channels and then your hour is up to go back to the one you originally started with. For power users on the web, you can use the left and right arrows to scroll through music channels and the up-and-down for volume. You can hit the "i" button to read about information like biography, similar artists, album information.

    The web version allows for just by mere space allows you a "grand design" of the whole process. One thing I have recently discovered is that EVERY STATION, not just in general, but every station can be fine tuned between popular, new, and favorites and it shows you in a graphical example artist that you will most likely hear. As you turn it up popular, Bruno Marrs Arianna Grande become bigger, if you increase new you get Jamie Foxx or Of Monsters and Men, and if you turn them both down and go with favorites then you'll get the songs that you have added which in my case would be Muse, Mumford & Sons, Lumineer's, Brandon Flowers, but if you turn new down it will give your favorites but stuff from their old catalog. It's an awesome idea which actually works! For $4.99 you can get unlimited skips, the ability to turn off the DJ which I actually enjoy, just like listening to a radio station they may tell you the story about the name of the band or the original title of the song, or the year it came out and how I reached on the charts. Nothing annoying, 5 to 10 seconds. But that option is there. And finally no advertising which you're going to get from anything that is free. I love it. I have spent many years cultivating my precious Pandora stations where my 300+ thumbs up or 172 thumbs down on one station makes it something that I'm comfortable with, but there is a redundancy and a lack of new blood. Pandora looks like Windows XP, whereas Milk is 2015, don't care who is behind it, I don't care about the name, I want to turn on a station as I work or I am outside and enjoy what I'm listening to without have to hassle with it. This is perfect and that is why I am now a former Pandora user. And happy! And seriously, for $4.99 I have spent 10 times that today and it's only 3:50 PM I can't tell you what was on.

  6. Doublebarrel
    May 10, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Milk Music is nice however, Samsung decided to go down the Apple
    road which really is a bad move because their shutting out a world of users that may make the switch to their products simply by using an app from them.
    I have a Galaxy Note but also an ipad and a Nexus 7 so Pandora is the likely choice since I can't install Milk on either of them.
    Pandora wins this race it's a no brainer if you want to listen to music
    without boundaries and why doesn't the Milk web stream work ? LOL
    Just bad PR.

    • David Lucey
      June 23, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      But Milk Music is cross platform on any device by going to: http://www.milk.samsung.com .
      It is only an APP on the Samsung Platform

  7. Jean
    March 13, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    So much for ad free

  8. Kami
    July 23, 2014 at 1:24 am

    The build.prop modification is easy and pain free(( Assuming you already have root access, if not, sucks to suck?)) If you DO have root access, then just download the Build.prop editor from the Play Store (Link at the end) And modify your ro.product.manufacturer to Samsung, and your ro.product.model to Galaxy S4. Reboot your device, and download the apk (Link at the end) Takes less than five minutes, and easy as 3.14

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jrummy.apps.build.prop.editor&hl=en

    https://mega.co.nz/#!DJE1kIYS!2yWy8ir4pFtwn4_KW1EEMDje8Aas5zajegnxWyT_KbI

  9. Mac wa
    March 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Well, what good is it?? Won't work on tablets!

    • Justin D
      March 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      oh, that sucks. I would've thought that it would work on galaxy tablets too. :( hopefully they update it in the future.!

      • David Lucey
        June 23, 2015 at 7:21 pm

        It works on all of my Samsung Devices, including my Samsung Smart TV, as an app. All other platform, devices merely need to go to http://www.milk.samsung.com to experience Milk in all its glory.

  10. Tim
    March 24, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Oh, BTW I have a samsung galaxy S3. works fine. I think I'll try it on my Google Nexus just to see if it will work. :-)

  11. Tim
    March 24, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Yep, I really don't like pandora, I've been using songza. It's free, you do need to sign up to create you on songlists but there are no ads and it works really well. I tried milk music and so far I really like it. Very nice.

    • Justin D
      March 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      interesting, i'll have to check out Songza. Thanks!

  12. David
    March 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Not compatible with my Samsung Galaxy S II. Maybe because I'm running Cyanogenmod?

    • Justin D
      March 31, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      nah, i'm running a non-TouchWiz custom ROM too and it works on my GS3. it has to do with your build.prop identifying what brand of device you're using. Unfortunately, it seems like samsung isn't supporting older devices like the GS2.

  13. Phid
    March 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Milk Music not available on Galaxy S2, unfortunately.

    I like Pandora and have am on the $36/year plan, which is fine for me since I use it on my desktop, on my TV (Roku), in my car and with headphones while out (Android). I do wish that Pandora made some kind of "car mode" for its Android app.

    • Justin D
      March 31, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      really, it doesn't work on a GS2? That's unfortunate that Samsung isn't supporting their older phones. It works fine on my GS3, though. Pandora's offering is definitely very good though.

  14. Guerr E
    March 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    you lost me at "Only available on Galaxy devices." I am not going to buy a galaxy phone just to listen to milk. F-no.

    • Justin D
      March 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      I definitely wouldn't buy a Galaxy for it either, but if you've already got one, why not?

      Also, I have read that there are some ways of modifying your build.prop to trick it into thinking you're on a Galaxy device. (although that seems like too much effort just to get one app working, lol.)

  15. GuyinVic
    March 24, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Not available in Canada. So much for www or free trade.

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