OPINION: Pandora’s sentimental value overpowers its lack of function and worth

A pandora's chest box is shown with multiple music albums floating out of it.
(Emma Tao • The Student Life)

I’m not quite sure how it started, but for a solid seven years my sister and I used Pandora as our music platform. I didn’t realize this wasn’t what everyone else was doing until well into high school, but I also didn’t realize that everyone else was listening to Ed Sheeran (horrible) and Taylor Swift (bad), and not The Allman Brothers Band or Talking Heads. 

There are two important points to make here. One, I have superior music taste to my peers. Two, because of this, my assertion that Pandora is the best music platform is correct. 

Most people know Pandora for the “radio” stations it puts together, playing similar artists and songs to satisfy the singular needs of listeners. But there is so much more to Pandora. It really is its own Pandora’s box. I’m not happy with myself for making that pun. 

Pandora, unlike Spotify, allows multiple listeners at once. It may be glitchy as hell, and it may buffer for about four minutes every time more than one listener gets on it, but at least my sister and I can somewhat enjoy our music at the same time.

It turns out that’s really the only thing Pandora can do that Spotify can’t. And I’ve actually found a way to trick Spotify into letting multiple listeners listen at once, so even the multiple listeners argument has been nullified. My bad Pandora’s box pun was for nothing. Leave a comment if you want to know the trick. 

Spotify also has more music licenses than Pandora — for example, you can listen to Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” on Spotify, but not Pandora. This is because many of Pandora’s songs, like “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” are available for “radio only” no matter how expensive of a subscription you have. I have not come across a song on Spotify unavailable for such a reason.

Spotify also lets you see what your friends are listening to; never again will I be in the dark about pop culture. But that doesn’t change my mind about said pop culture — now I’ll just be able to appraise my friends more accurately. 

I think I just admitted that I switched to Spotify in August. Whoops. I’m not sure how it happened — I definitely was not supportive. My sister just told me I needed to recreate all my playlists on the new Spotify account because mom was deleting Pandora.

I’ll still always think Pandora is superior, even though I’ve realized there is no real evidence it’s actually better than Spotify after writing this article. I just love it. It’s what I grew up listening to music on. It’s like how 60-year-olds love floppy disks. That’s a thing, right?

All this — my violently strong positive feelings about Pandora based on no real evidence — made me realize there is an innate desire in us to hold onto sentimental ways, no matter how much they slow us down. 

Looking through the thousands of songs my sister and I have liked on Pandora brought back so many memories, like the heartbreak of fifth grade fueled by Aretha Franklin’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” and my sister and I pushing our bunk beds out of the way so we could dance in crazy circles to “One Way or Another” by Blondie and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” by Scissor Sisters. I don’t want to switch to Spotify because I don’t want to forget those memories. 

Once my mom has cancelled the Pandora subscription, and I’m no longer able to see those memories, I will forget about them. So yeah, while Spotify is technologically superior, Pandora has my memories — therefore it will always be the best music platform.

Georgia Scott PZ ’23 is from San Anselmo, California. She had to start off this semester writing about less inflammatory topics after her last article got flamed by displeased college students. 

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