iOS app face-off: Spotify Radio vs. Pandora

Pandora reigns as my go-to for free music on the iPhone and iPad. But a new contender from Spotify threatens to dethrone it. Spotify updated its iOS app this week with Spotify Radio, a free option that’s part of its larger services. To herald Spotify's arrival on the scene, I put it up against Pandora in an app death match.

Until Spotify's recent update, you could only use the Spotify iOS app if you had a subscription to its streaming service. (For more on streaming music, including Spotify, check out our comparison of the five major services.) The new version brings ad-supported radio stations to any iPhone or iPad user: you select an artist, song, or genre, and the app generates a station that plays songs similar to your choice. Sounds a lot like Pandora. And it is, though the two services differ in some important details.