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5.8

Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: December 3rd, 2022
In today's media-driven world, music streaming has become a hot market-and Pandora is one of the leading names in that market. A subsidiary of Pandora Media, Inc., Pandora was founded in January 2000 by Tim Westergren, Will Glaser, and Jon Kraft. Its current CEO is Brian P. McAndrews. While its headquarters are in Oakland, California, the business streams music for people all over the United States as well as in New Zealand and Australia. More than 1,300 employees strong, Pandora has 26 office locations and (as of 2012) brings in about $274 million in revenue. If you've used Pandora at all, you may have heard of an effort called the Music Genome Project. Doesn't ring a bell? The project is basically the effort of music analysts to study every facet of every genre of music-all in the effort to anticipate what song you, the user, would want to hear next. These analysts examine more than 400 musical traits of each and every song. Considered "musicologists," they typically have a four-year degree in music theory, composition, or performance. With this extensive background, the people on the Music Genome Project use their expertise to not only master your personal listening preferences but also introduce you to music you'd probably love. In this vein, Pandora is an excellent resource for streaming music you already like and discovering new tunes. So what can you expect with Pandora? For starters, their basic version is ad-supported-a.k.a. free to users. To sign up, you enter your email address, gender, zip code, and birth year and create a password to sign in. After that, you can browse stations that are based on songs, artists, genres, and occasions. While listening, you can click the familiar thumbs up or down, and Pandora will keep track of your likes and dislikes and base their suggestions off of those.

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The Good

For users, probably the best and simplest aspect of Pandora is that it's free. If you're tired of hearing an ad every several songs, you can certainly subscribe to the uninterrupted Pandora One for $4.99 per month. But if not, you can count on Pandora to listen to a wide variety of songs at no cost. And what a wide variety they have! With Pandora, you can listen to practically every genre out there-everything from alternative and rock, to blues and jazz, to oldies, to pop, to country. What's more, you can look up stations specifically for dinner parties, road trips, and holidays. Oh, the convenience of it all. Pandora stays up-to-date with new releases as well. There's also room on your Pandora account to create up to 100 different stations. So it's no problem to save mixes for your workouts, your kids, and your study time. Once you create a station on Pandora, it will stay on your account unless you delete it-ready for you to access at the click of a button. Conveniently, Pandora also saves all your preferences. Once you click a thumbs up or down for a song, Pandora takes note. If you click up, the song is added to the list of likes in your account history. If you click down, Pandora will never play the song again. (And if you click the button in between for "I'm tired of this track," Pandora understands. They'll take a break from playing it for awhile.) Here's another bonus: Say you're feeling indecisive and don't know which genre you're in the mood for. There's an option to hit shuffle, and Pandora will play songs from all the stations you want. Unlike some competitors, Pandora doesn't require you to download anything to stream their music. You can simply sign in and hit play. They will also play on a variety of devices, including Web, iOS, Windows, and Android. You can listen to it on home devices, on your phone, or in the car. Besides the conveniences of actually streaming their music, Pandora has a positive reputation with 14 years of experience to back them up. Their staff are considered music experts (those "musicologists" from the Music Genome Project we talked about). So you can feel confident that they'll understand your tastes and be able to match them.
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The Bad

Every rose has its thorn, however, and positive as Pandora's reputation is, it does have its limitations. For better or worse, "free" isn't purely free for everyone. Because Pandora makes no money off consumers who use their free version, they display banner ads and interrupt your streaming every several songs to play a 30-second ad. (What's more, they often repeat the same ads for days.) So you have to either be willing to pay for Pandora One or put up with the interruptions. In addition to ad interruptions, Pandora also times out on you. If you've been streaming music for an hour or two without clicking anything, Pandora will stop playing and ask if you're still listening. If you are, you can just hit yes and keep listening. But you might get tired of the pauses. Next limitation: the limit on the number of skips. For one reason or another, we all want to skip a few songs when streaming music. But with Pandora, you can only skip a handful of songs per hour. If you happen to be skipping a lot of songs, you'll eventually have to put up with the current song or switch to a different station. In essence, while Pandora is a leading service for discovering new music, it doesn't give you as much control as other competitors do. With services like Spotify, you can select specific songs to stream or put your favorite track on repeat. Unfortunately, Pandora doesn't let you do that. Instead, you're fed whatever songs they suggest.
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The Bottom Line

At the heart of it, Pandora is a prime tool for music discovery. From its beginnings, its staff members have strived to scrutinize all types of song and introduce users to music based on their individual tastes. It's also one of the few streaming services that offers a free version (though it's supported by ads). So despite some lack of control you'd have with Pandora, you can expect to enjoy a wide variety of stations and a ton of suggestions that are based on your preferences. You can also be confident that you're giving business to an experienced company that has helped lead the way in the online music industry we know today.
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Star Rating

4.2

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903 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

47%

4 grade

31%

3 grade

16%

2 grade

4%

1 grade

2%

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Susan Bowes Aberdeen, WA

they have great music a very good selection of country music

2 days ago

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scotty Saint Paul, MN

I listen to Pandora every single day at home and in my car. I haven't updated account but it's only the 499 one which keeps commercials out unless you skip through song it lacks the search function and download function but just being able to skip through with Open results is a huge coincidence itself great selection of music

7 months ago

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Sarah Bosko Estes Park, CO

I love Pandora. It’s my favorite music option! So many options.

2 weeks ago

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Tabitha Pettiway Smithfield, NC

I like the free trail and now I have a subscription but don’t listen to music that much it keep it for my children

1 month ago

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Sideria Houston, TX

I love Pandora! They play the best jams I'm a 90's rand b baby it just helps me relax and enjoy the soothing music I like thank you Pandora for mixing it up on your channel

4 months ago

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Mnm420 Clearwater, FL

I love pandora and the selection of music they offer. The only downside is the commercials in the free version. Still worthwhile though...been happily listening to pandora for years!

6 months ago

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Dana Hatfield Bullhead City, AZ

I like that I can choose an entertainer to use as my "station" and Pandora chooses other artists that are very similar. I used the free app and found that there weren't too many commercials to deal with. Will continue using this service, and even switched to the premium service.

10 months ago

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Alicia Mesa, AZ

I have loved the experiences I've had with Pandora. I have used them for fun music listening and I loved to use them. I loved that the stations would just play on random, allowing me to hear songs I love and explore new songs that I could like. It helped me to expand my current library. I did have to learn how to search what I was looking for, but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to my family and friends. I only used the free version, but I love it and still use it occasionally, even though I have a paid music subscription.

10 months ago

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Sathvik Aithala Portland, OR

Pandora playlists include a ton of unknown and up and coming artists, which makes finding new music a joy.

3 months ago

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Katrina Breithaupt Provo, UT

I love the variety of music available on Pandora and they have really improved their options with their skip and replay additions. They do have frequent interruptions for adds but they are not as frequent as other streaming services and they often have offers of "watch this video and get an hour of uninterrupted listening" which is really nice. I have several playlists on Pandora and I listen to them wherever I am: running, working, studying, etc. The only complaint I have is that they don't have an international version, so every time I travel out of the country I don't have access to any of my playlists.

1 year ago

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Jim Bullhead City, AZ

It is not the easiest app to follow at first. It gets to be easy to follow. To many commercials in between songs. Great sound and any music you want. You will use it everyday if you try it.

10 months ago

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Phalda Morris Jacksonville, FL

Pandora is a great streaming service, especially if you're looking to find new music. Pandora allows you to listen to music just based on the genre or artist, which exposes you to music that you may not have heard before but is similar to your taste. I have discovered many new music through Pandora.

8 months ago

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Tommi Young Louisville, KY

I love Pandora it plays all the music that I like. Some of the songs that I haven't heard in a long time that I hear bring back good memories. It also plays current songs that I like as well. This company knows what I like and I love it. I listen to them when I am working. It makes the days go by smoother. Love it love it love it.

1 year ago

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Robyn Brady Kent, OH

I listen to Pandora everyday while I am at work and while I am at home doing chores. I am not a paying customer anymore but I do like that I can "thumbs UP or thumbs DOWN" a song and they eventually create the perfect play list for me.

1 year ago

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Magnum0970 Cerritos, CA

I listen to Pandora every single day while I work. I like that I can build custom channels that have the type of music I prefer without having to build a specific playlist or a specific artist, it gives me a nice variety. I’m a paying customer so I can avoid the commercials, and would recommend this to others as well

1 year ago

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Eliza Jane Arledge Smithfield, UT

Pandora is an amazing music streaming app, but it is also a great way to find new music that you may be interested in. I love how you can find other albums that others have already created or you can create your own. I love how user friendly it is. I am always finding new song I love by simply putting in a song I already like and them doing all the work to find other songs I may like. Pandora is always my go to when looking for new songs to jazz up my playlist.

2 years ago

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Eddie Rios Ogden, UT

Pandora is absolutely the best music streaming around. They have the best selections and ability to create your own music stations. All the latest artist's music is available. And you can like/dislike any tune to keep what you like playing often. Can't beat Pandora!

2 years ago

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Stephanie Byrd Tallahassee, FL

Pandora is at the top of my list when it comes to music applications. The song selections are random within that certain radio but they definitely supply the best music. I would highly recommend upgrading to a better plan for a low price just to skip the ads.

2 years ago

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Sydney Van Nuys, CA

I love pandora! But lately it’s been crashing, and so I can’t turn my phone off without the music turning off as well. I am paying for pandora plus too. I am a music lover so getting to listen to great music is important to me but it’s super frustrating when I need to do something else on my phone while listening but I can’t because the app will crash. I’m hoping that it’s just a big or something and will get fixed soon.

3 years ago

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Brooklyn Pruitt Pleasant Grove, UT

I love using Pandora! It is definitely my go to music app that I use whether I am on the road or am in my house getting ready in the mornings! You will absolutely love this reliable, affordable, easy, and great quality music!

4 years ago

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Maranda J Hilton Bountiful, UT

I use Pandora daily, I don't know if I could function without it at this point. I like the idea behind playing music based off what is similar to what you already like. I do not like that once you thumbs up a song it will play super super often after that. The best advice I've ever received about Pandora is to never use the thumbs up, only thumbs down what you never want to hear again. And it has been sound advice.

5 years ago

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Erica Reynolds

I'm using Pandora right this second. My whole family loves Pandora. There is a station for EVERYONE! I use Pandora at home, at work, in the car, everywhere! Thumbprint Radio is my favorite thing about Pandora, it plays all of my favorite music, no matter the genre, all in one place!

9 months ago

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Korinne C Riverton, UT

I've been using Pandora for years and love it. I mostly use it for the radio feature and don't do playlists with it. But it has introduced me to so much music that I wouldn't have found without it. I use the free version right now, and the ads are no big deal at all.

10 months ago

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Emma N. Sandy, UT

I listen to pandora all the time, especially those hour or longer drives! I can play whatever type of music I want and it doesn't mix genres. With Spotify I have to keep skipping added songs, pandora knows exactly what I want, when I want it!

10 months ago

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Nan Shinkle Salt Lake City, UT

I love Pandora because I've discovered so much great music out there, just from "similar artists" to the one I've selected. You can play different genres, Plus it gives the little-known artist a break into the world. You can listen for free or pay premium to not have to hear ads. I'm fine with the ads for free, though.

10 months ago

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Laurel Dalton Herriman, UT

I loved listening to Pandora while studying for my AP tests. The playlists found on this platform are the perfect balance of trending music with styles catered to the individual listeners' taste. I would highly recommend Pandora to anyone!

10 months ago

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Jackie Gardner Riverton, UT

I listen to Pandora all the time. I have tons of stations for an endless variety of genre and songs to listen to. And it's FREE! I love how it plays music that it similiar to the artists I choose so I can find new artists I never heard before and love.

10 months ago

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Ashley D Tallahassee, FL

Pandora is very nostalgic for me. I feel it gives you the old aura/sense of when people used to really listen to stations rather than streaming services (even though it is a streaming service as well) and I do like that. I utilize the stations/radio feature the most and they have personalized a specific station so well for me. It's not like a playlist because sometimes you're introduced to new songs and you don't really know what is going to play next. I love listening to Pandora when I am in need of that nostalgia. They create amazing stations for you, honestly.

1 year ago

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abw fsu Tallahassee, FL

I love Pandora because it's not like any other music platform. Rather than choosing specific playlists or songs, Pandora creates radios based on artists, genres, and personal preferences. My only problem with Pandora is that it is very hard to cancel services once you buy a subscription. I would recommend keeping the free version, but that also means having to deal with ads.

1 year ago

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TTeep Smithfield, UT

Pandora is the radio I use when I want to listen to music that I didn't already buy. I have not upgraded and so I end up listening to an ad here and there. To be honest, I don't listen enough to pay for them to go away, so this is acceptable to me. It's basically what I pay. My cable company charges me for access and still shows me ads, so this is way better than that.

1 year ago

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Makayla Holland Gaithersburg, MD

I used to use pandora, I don’t like how you can’t type in what song you want to listen to you just get a similar playlist to the song that you want. Which is good because some times you hear songs that you haven’t listen to in a while. But I just don’t like the fact that you can choose what song you want to listen too. But other than that pandora is a good app

1 year ago

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Leonard Thompson Show Low, AZ

Pandora has been so nice to have music of my choosing readily available at anytime I want. It’s nice to not have to listen to the radio and pick my favorites and jam out on my commutes. It’s is easy to use and convenient. I also like that I can play music from not just my phone, but on my t.v. as well. I am a huge music fan making Pandora a huge part of my life.

1 year ago

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Stefanie Ewer Providence, UT

Listen every day to Pandora while I’m at work. I love how you can pick a station with the type of music you are in the mood for and listen to the songs is shuffles through. If you don’t like a song you just click the thumbs down and pandora moves onto a different song in that same category. At Christmas time it’s so fun to pick which type of Christmas music you want to listen to.

2 years ago

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Irinna Danielson Riverton, UT

We love to have music playing when we're doing work at home and Pandora is the streaming service we go to when we're connected to our TV, tablet, and phone. It's got all of the playlists we love, it's easy to use, and it's just so convenient to have music connected to all of our devices. Music helps make everything better and Pandora makes music more accessible to jam out when we need/want to.

2 years ago

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Natalie Drewery ,

I'm a huge promoter of Pandora to family and friends! I'm a pretty indecisive person so I love that I am able to put a genre that I love and Pandora does all the work. I have found so many amazing artists that I would've never listened to if it wasn't for Pandora's selections. I love the trust I have in their selections and it takes out all the work for me. Huge Win Win for me.

2 years ago

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Michelle Rios Ogden, UT

Pandora is our choice for music at home. I love that by selecting an artist, I get several different artists of that genre. I also listen to Pandora at work. I am a physical therapist and often get requests for artists from my elderly clients. It is nice that they are able to hear several different artists in the same genre. And though we do not pay for the service, the amount of commercials is not overwhelming. Thank you Pandora!

2 years ago

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Myra Howes Provo, UT

I have been using Pandora for a number of years. I like it a lot, it has introduced me to many songs and artists that I have come to love. I like the setup. I know I am not a paying customer, but for people like me, the commercials can get really redundant. The "sweater, sweater" and coffee stain commercial have been playing for a year it feels like, and it'd be nice for a change. Also I feel like after a while I hear the same songs over and over again-not sure if that would be fixed if I paid. Sometimes I'll hear the same song a few times in a row too, if it's done by a different artist. It would be nice, if Pandora didn't allow the same song to be played twice in a row like that-if it payed attention to the song titles more. Other than that, this is my go to app for music. Thank you

2 years ago

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Alicia Roddin Sandy, UT

Pandora is a great service and I use it frequently. It is easy to understand and navigate. I can't think of many issues I have with Pandora, except that on your list of favorite songs that you have put a thumbs up on, it won't load all of them at once. If you want to look through it, it reloads for each screen which means you may be scrolling forever if you have a lot in there.

3 years ago

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betsy fowler Lehi, UT

M husband and I absolutely love Pandora. We use it almost daily, and even moreso with our newborn. We have found several mellow stations that she loves to listen to throughout the day. My only negative is that sometimes the "artist station" we are listening will to will be surprisingly lacking in music from that particular artist. What's that about. Overall however, we recommend Pandora for anyone who wants to expand their music repertoire or mix up ther music listening experience without having to to download a gazillion new songs or artists.

3 years ago

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Ashley Gneiting Pleasant Grove, UT

I listen to Pandora probably every single day. I love that I can like or not like a music song. I like that I can make my own list of songs to listen to. I do not have premium and sometimes the commercials are the same thing over and over, but I feel like they don't come on that often. I really enjoy the channels and my favorite is Tori Kelley!

3 years ago

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Christy Suguturaga Orem, UT

Pandora is one of my best friends. I actually listen to it every day when I am cleaning my house. ( I have a bunch of kids including toddlers so I start over every morning) Depending on my mood I listen to everything and I love how easy it is to change the channel. I have perfected a few channels with my likes and dislikes. I can turn on my kids channel or my sing loud channel or my teeny bopper channel. Everybody is happy. Amazing invention. Makes the world a better place. Can’t live without it!

3 years ago

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Michael E Berrett Lindon, UT

Pandora is a wonderful idea and organization. In our home we have truly enjoyed having high quality music, with little interruption of advertisement, in the genre which we are looking for. It has been a wonderful thing to bae able to listen to some of the best music in the world at very little cost, simply by giving a little direction on what you are looking for with the music. Thank you pandora!

3 years ago

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Hailey Nilson Salt Lake City, UT

I've used Pandora for years and still enjoy it. The only thing that drives me nuts are the ads, if I don't want to buy a subscription I shouldn't have to be bombarded with a ton of ads. However, I love the layout of the app. It provides me with some of my favorite artists and songs while giving me a mixture of new music I've never heard before that I can add to my library.

3 years ago

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Starski Cene Vienna, VA

The best when it comes to streaming music channels. Pros: - Best algorithm when it comes to playing your taste in music, no other service has been able to match Pandora - Radio option rarely plays repeats, but sticks to the artist type/genre selected - App and web platform are both easy to navigate Cons: - No ability to select individual tracks

3 years ago

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Robin Orem, UT

its FREE app you can download to your phone, computer or laptop. Easy to set up your playlist. Streaming is great, it doesn't not interrupt service on long drives. who doesn't love Pandora. I don't know what i would do if i didn't have this downloaded on my phone and computer. makes my work day go by fast, my long drive less boring and i can rock out and clean at the same time.

4 years ago

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Julie Klein Mansfield, TX

I decided to try Pandora as it was the cheapest of the 3 music streaming apps available on my Fitbit Sense watch. It offered a 30 day free trial like the other two. Well now I know why it is the cheapest. After spending the better part of a day trying to get music to download and sync to the watch, I gave up. It kept saying it was syncing, but then it would stop. I thought maybe it was the watch until I tried Deezer...absolutely NO issues at all. So even though Deezer is twice as expensive as Pandora, it works on my Fitbit. Pandora will not get me as a customer.

8 months ago

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Lynette Jorgensen Herriman, UT

Pandora has a variety of music to choose from. I don't like the ratio of songs from a particular playlist of the band that I want to listen to. There are too many other bands included in the playlist.

10 months ago

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Luke Swierczynski Troy, MI

Probably my favorite music streaming service given how well their simple thumbs up and down system works. There algorithm is great playing the music I know and love and recommending new songs and artists.

1 year ago

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Darrin Pelham Rincon, GA

I have used Pandora for sometime now and I have really gotten used to their app and navigating around it. Pandora has a genre for everyone with endless music in each genre. There is a feature that will introduce you to new music that you might not have heard of or styles that you have not tried before. Try Pandora and enjoy!

1 year ago

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Brianna bourgeois Long Beach, MS

You pay for what you get. Pandora gives you full music and radios that truly match what you already like and have several options for exploring. Sometimes I even feel that pandora knows my moods and what to play when.

2 years ago