- Excellent music selection
- Intuitive song recommendations
- Only six song skips per hour
Pandora Radio (Pandora Media Inc., Free) is one of the best free music apps for the iPhone. This slick music application has an excellent song selection and helps you discover new music with its intuitive recommendations.
Like most Internet radio apps, Pandora has a large number of preset radio stations, including alternative, dance, country, and jazz. These stations offer plenty of music variety, but the best part about the Pandora app is its song recommendations. If there is a song or artist you particularly like, Pandora uses that data to generate an entire station of similar music. You can help improve the app’s recommendations by giving the songs you like a thumbs up on the navigation bar. Pandora also includes a brief blurb about each artist as their song plays so you can learn more about unfamiliar bands.
However, unlike the similar Last.fm app, Pandora Radio puts a few constraints on your listening. You can only skip up to six songs per hour on any given channel. Even if you decide to change channels, you can still only skip 12 songs per day. This is the only thing I dislike about the Pandora app, since you’re stuck listening to songs you don’t like if you use up your skips too quickly.
In addition, users of Pandora’s free app are limited to 40 hours of music per month. If you want unlimited hours, you can pay $0.99 per month or upgrade to Pandora One for $36 a year. Pandora One is also ad-free, in case you’re annoyed by the frequent banner ads in the free app.
Steaming music on the Pandora app is a breeze, especially over Wi-Fi. Buffering times are usually pretty quick, although there is a pretty lengthy pause between song skips. The app’s recommendations are very good, and even include a sentence or two about why it chose that particular song for your playlist. You can also bookmark a song to buy later from iTunes.
The Bottom Line
The Pandora iPhone app is a must-have for any music fan. Although the limit on song skips is a significant downside, this free music app is still a great value. Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
What You’ll Need