Saturday, March 1, 2014

Internet radio services: iTunes Radio v Pandora

Digital Life News

Fresh but frustrating: iTunes Radio.

Online radio stations, tailored for you, could forever change the way you listen to music.

Neither Apple's iTunes Radio nor pandora app let you listen to an album from start to end. Instead you nominate an artist, track or genre and they generate a mixed playlist of similar artists.

iTunes Radio is hand-curated by Apple staff, while Pandora relies on music-matching algorithms. As a result iTunes Radio features a range of Australian stations such as Hot Today, Hot Alternative, Workout and Unwind. You'll also find the iTunes Top 40 and a hit list drawn from Australian Twitter feeds. Dig through Pandora and you'll find Australian custom playlists, but they're not quite as fresh and dynamic.

Matchmaker: Pandora.

The tables turn when it comes to creating stations based on artists, tracks or genres. Apple's hand-picked recommendations offer an eclectic mix of similar artists, fine if you're looking for a general playlist, but frustrating if you're trying to home in. Too many songs feel out of place and you'll spend a long time approving and discarding before you find a good balance.

Pandora also lets you give tracks the thumbs up or down, but its music-matching does a better job of style matching. Choose a song such as The Doors' Roadhouse Blues and iTunes Radio plays a range of '60s classics such as Creedence Clearwater Revival. Meanwhile, Pandora studies the song and goes in search of more Blues tracks from the likes of John Lee Hooker.

iTunes radio comes via the iTunes mobile or desktop app. Pandora plays in any desktop browser with apps for Apple iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

The verdict

iTunes Radio does a good job of creating mixed playlists of songs you love, but Pandora does a better job of paring down a playlist when chasing a certain sound or feel.

iTunes Radio
Free ($35 per year removes ads)
Free ($US36 per year removes ads)

No comments:

Post a Comment