Pandora takes aim at Spotify’s Release Radar with smart playlist The Drop

When it comes to subscription-based music streaming services, Spotify and Apple Music are currently the two major players at the top of the heap. Last year, Pandora launched its own answer to those companies’ subscription services in the form of the $10 per month Pandora Premium, but its music discovery features were somewhat lacking. The company has been working on remedying that situation with the addition of Featured Playlists, but its newest smart playlist feature, The Drop, could be just what the service needs to lure subscribers away from the competition.

Announced today, September 17, on the Pandora blog, The Drop is the streaming service’s answer to Spotify’s Release Radar feature. Both are smart playlists that update weekly with new music that is based on what you already listen to, so while you’ll probably see music from artists you’ve never heard of before, you’ll also see new music from artists you already love as it is released. Pandora says that The Drop updates when new music is released, and since most music is released on Fridays, that’s when you’ll likely see the list update, just like Release Radar.

There are some key differences here. While Spotify limits Release Radar to 30 songs and changes every week, The Drop has a limit of 100 songs, and will keep older releases from week to week. This could be handy if, for example, there’s a killer track from an artist whose name you forgot, and want to go back and listen to more from them.

Once you find a song or songs you like, you can do more than just listen to it. You can add the song to My Music so you can keep coming back to it, or, as Pandora recommends, “share it with friends and family so you can brag that you heard it first.”

At least for now, The Drop is only available to Pandora Premium subscribers and trial users. You’ll also need to have listened to enough that Pandora has an idea of what sort of music you like. If you don’t see The Drop just yet, just keep listening, it will pop up eventually, and the more you listen, the better it should get. In the meantime, if you’re not sure which service might be better for you, take a look at our comparison of Pandora and Spotify.

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