10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up

Joel Lee 05-07-2017

Pandora is pulling out of Australia and New Zealand to focus on the United States. Which gives users one more reason to reconsider using the service. The chances are that if you’re reading this then you’re fed up with Pandora in one way or another. So why not consider these Pandora alternatives?


The good news is that you have choices. Internet radio has exploded over the past decade, and its competitors have incorporated much of what made Pandora special into their own services. And since competition is so fierce, most of these services can be listened to for free.

In this article, we’ll be looking at alternatives to Pandora. Some of these services also offer music on-demand as well, but since that’s not what Pandora is about, we won’t take those elements into consideration.

1. Google Play Music

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player google play music

How It Compares: Google Play Music has the slickest and cleanest interface of any modern music streaming service. It also provides access to over 35 million songs, both in the form of on-demand and internet radio. Google Play Music offers pretty much everything Pandora does, and a little bit more besides.

Notable Features: Google acquired Songza’s awesome engine that recommends music mixes based on mood, time of day, and activity. In addition to normal streaming, you can upload your own songs and stream them from anywhere. You also get high-bitrate audio and ways to discover music The 7 Best Google Play Music Features Is Google Play Music worth trying? Here are seven of the most compelling features you'll find within Google's streaming music service. Read More , plus bonus features like a music recognition tool and complimentary YouTube Red 7 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Play Music In this article, we'll introduce you to some cool things you can do with Google Play Music that both beginners and veterans alike may not be aware of, but should make use of. Read More .

Free Limitations: Display ads and video ads. Up to 6 skips-per-hour. When giving a free radio song a Thumbs-Up, that song will appear as grayed out in your Thumbs-Up playlist.

Regional Availability: 63 worldwide countries. See the full list. Free radio is only available in Canada, India, and the United States.

2. Deezer

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player deezer

How It Compares: Deezer’s library consists of over 40 million tracks, blowing most competitors out of the water, including Pandora. But while there’s nothing wrong with Deezer’s interface, there’s nothing special about it either and it can be slightly rough to navigate.

Notable Features: Over 100,000 public playlists across 25+ genres. Dynamically-generated Mixes based on artists and genres. An always-evolving Flow playlist Everything You Need to Know About Deezer Music Deezer has finally launched in the U.S., and unlike other music streaming services with potential, Deezer is actually good enough to compete with the big boys. Here's everything you need to know... Read More that adjusts according to your tastes and history of playback/favorites on Deezer.

Free Limitations: Audio ads. Mobile playback only allows Flow and Mixes. Limited to Standard audio quality. As of this writing, the only way to get a free Deezer account is to sign up for the free Premium trial offer then cancel.

Regional Availability: All countries worldwide.

3. Jango

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player jango

How It Compares: Jango’s been a Pandora competitor for a long time now (since 2007), and they operate in much the same way. But whereas Pandora’s song choices are based on the Music Genome Project, Jango’s recommendations are based on its users’ behaviors Jango Radio: Pandora Has A Rival For The Internet Radio Crown At its core, Internet radio isn't different from traditional radio - you tune into a station, you listen to the songs that they serve you, and there is no step three. But even though the... Read More .

Notable Features: Each station has a Variety setting that you can tweak to influence the songs recommended. You can also add or ban multiple artists per station to create a personalized mix of sounds.

Free Limitations: Audio ads (one per day) and display ads.

Regional Availability: All countries worldwide.

4. Spotify

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player spotify

How It Compares: Spotify has a lot going for it, including its massive library of songs and widespread adoption. However, the web interface leaves much to be desired Everything Wrong With the New Spotify Web Player Did you know Spotify has now given its Web Player a makeover? Well, we say "upgrade," but this feels more like a downgrade. Here's why. Read More and the desktop client can be problematic Spotify Not Working? How to Fix 8 Common Spotify Problems Like every other service known to man, Spotify is prone to problems that afflict millions of users. We have identified the most common problems, and found solutions for them all. You're welcome. Read More . I’ve also found Spotify’s internet radio can be more repetitive than Pandora’s, which is surprising given its library size.

Notable Features: Spotify is so much more than internet radio. Want on-demand streaming? Spotify is one of the best at it. Want to expand your tastes? Check out its music discovery tools How to Discover New Music Using Spotify: 7 Key Tips and Tricks to Know The main reason I love Spotify is that it has helped me find so much new music over the years. Here are the built-in Spotify features I used to discover awesome new music. Read More . You’ll also find lots of non-music content, including stand-up comedy and podcasts.

Free Limitations: Audio ads and video ads. Artists, albums, and playlists can only be played in shuffle mode.

Regional Availability: 60 countries worldwide. See the full list.

5. AccuRadio

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player accuradio

How It Compares: Nothing can beat Pandora’s interface for simplicity, but AccuRadio comes close. The overall selection is about equal: Pandora doesn’t have a huge library, and neither does AccuRadio, but both offer more than enough for long-term listening satisfaction.

Notable Features: You can blend up to 15 channels together to create a specialized listening experience. You can also rate songs on a five-star scale, then use the Five Star Radio feature to listen only to your absolute favorite songs.

Free Limitations: Audio ads and display ads. You can reduce the advertisement frequency by creating a free account.

Regional Availability: All countries worldwide.

6. Slacker

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player slacker radio

How It Compares: With its straightforward interface, Slacker is likely to remind you of Pandora. And while 13 million songs is far short of Deezer or Google Play Music, it still beats Pandora ten-fold. Simple, easy, and doesn’t get in your way — perfect for slackers.

Notable Features: Not many other than the Slacker Specials, which comprise weekly and monthly episodes dedicated to genre countdowns, Slacker Top 40, Album of the Week, etc. A nifty way to see what’s popular and maybe discover something new.

Free Limitations: Audio ads and display ads. Up to 6 skips-per-hour.

Regional Availability: Canada and the United States.

7. TuneIn Radio

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player tunein radio

How It Compares: Music is only a small portion of what TuneIn Radio does. This service is all about internet radio in the truest sense How to Find the Best Internet Radio Stations In this article, we explain why you might want to start (or go back to) listening to internet radio, as well as showing you how to find the best internet radio stations for you. Read More : tapping into live radio stations through the internet. Online-only music stations do exist, and they’re perfectly fine, but TuneIn Radio’s selling point is its live radio streams.

Notable Features: Not many, other than the fact you can filter live radio stations by music, sports, and talk. TuneIn Radio also hosts podcasts and audiobooks, which provide a nice detour when you tire of listening to music.

Free Limitations: Audio ads and display ads.

Regional Availability: All countries worldwide. Premium accounts are only available in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.

8. iHeartRadio

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player iheartradio

How It Compares: Not only is iHeartRadio’s overall music selection about as limited as Pandora, its interface is somehow more difficult to navigate. But once you get used to it, it’s passable. Requires a free account to listen to anything but live radio.

Notable Features: Playback mainly consists of Genre Playlists and Artist Radio, but you can also tune into Live Radio from hundreds of cities across the United States and Mexico. iHeartRadio also aggregates podcasts, music news, events, contests, and more.

Free Limitations: Audio ads. Up to 6 skips-per-hour and 15 total skips-per-day. No ability to save songs to playlists.

Regional Availability: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

9. Amazon Prime Music

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player amazon prime music

How It Compares: Amazon Prime Music has a similarly limited selection of songs (about 2 million), making it no better or worse than Pandora as far as variety. But Prime Music’s interface is much nicer and more comfortable to browse Why You Should Give Amazon Prime Music a Second Chance There are several reasons why you might want to give Amazon Prime Music a second chance. It certainly deserves much more credit than it's currently getting. Read on to find out why. Read More .

Notable Features: You can play Stations (dynamically-generated based on artist or genre) and Playlists (curated by Prime Music’s experts). Playlists can be filtered by mood, genre, and activity. Audio bitrate can be set between 48 and 320 Kbps. You can also upload up to 250 songs.

Free Limitations: No limits. Prime Music isn’t technically free, but if you already use Amazon Prime for its many other benefits 10 Awesome Amazon Prime Benefits You've Probably Overlooked Free two-day shipping is just the beginning. Here are some notable Amazon Prime subscription benefits you may not know about. Read More , then you can think of Prime Music as a free bonus.

Regional Availability: United States.

10. 8tracks

10 Free Pandora Alternatives We Give the Thumbs-Up web player 8tracks

How It Compares: 8tracks has close to 7 million songs, making it better for mainstream music than niche picks. Its filter-based search is surprisingly nice, showing you in real-time how many playlists exist that match your query — great for finding interesting mixes.

Notable Features: 8tracks is like a mini social network. You can comment on playlists, follow users, and easily share playlists. But besides that, there isn’t much else to do.

Free Limitations: Audio ads and display ads. Limited to 1 hour of streaming per week. Read more about why there’s a weekly limit. You can expand the weekly limit by creating playlists that get lots of Likes.

Regional Availability: Canada, United States.

What Do You Love or Hate About Pandora?

Pandora has led me to dozens of genres and thousands of songs that I would never have discovered otherwise. I also love that Pandora’s interface is straight to the point, though perhaps a little too simplistic in some parts.

Unfortunately, Pandora stations tend to grow repetitive within hours, even when you use this nifty trick to keep stations fresh This Smart Trick Keeps Your Pandora Stations Fresh Pandora is a great music service, but sometimes your stations get a little stale. Here's an easy way to improve them without any effort. Read More . I also prefer the old Pandora interface to the new, although maybe I just need more time to get used to it.

So, what about you?

What do you love or hate about Pandora? What’s your favorite Pandora alternative? And what do you like about that service? Are there any free Pandora-like music streaming services that we missed off of our list? Please let us know in the comments below!

Explore more about: Deezer, Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify.

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  1. Michael Biller
    February 18, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Linux users get to enjoy the unofficial Google Music and Spotify apps. They are better than their Windows official counterparts. Kind of like how Linux is better than its proprietary counterparts.