Gone are the days of putting your favourite CD or tape into your Walkman or stereo to listen to your favourite album. Now, services like Pandora and Spotify are the go-to source for all of your musical needs. There are plenty of options for music streaming, and I’m here to provide some advice on which one might work the best for you.
What is music streaming?
In the same way that YouTube lets you watch videos online, music streaming services let you listen to music online. Instead of buying music through iTunes or Amazon and storing the songs locally, you simply visit any one of the many streaming websites available to listen to your favourite songs through your internet connection. It’s all completely legal, of course, as most services are supported by advertising, or paid options like optional subscriptions.
A lot of people love to use Pandora. Pandora is an internet radio website in which you choose a genre or artist to listen to, and it creates a radio station featuring music that it thinks will be appealing to you. As you listen, you can give songs thumbs-up or thumbs-down as feedback. This will further refine your radio station to your own tastes. The base service is free with advertising scattered throughout, with an optional subscription of $4.99 USD a month to listen without advertising. It’s available for use on most popular devices, including Android and iOS.
While Spotify also has an internet radio service similar to Pandora, it also allows you to build a personal music library. This library is stored on their cloud, and can be potentially huge – there’s no limit to how many songs you can save to your library. PC and mobile access is free to use and, once again, the platform is ad supported. A subscription of $11.99 USD a month will allow you to remove the ads, as well as providing you with the ability to download local versions of your music library for offline play, which is great if you listen to your music a lot on your mobile and have limited data. (Handy tip: Download your playlist at home using WiFI and you can listen while you’re away from home without chewing through your mobile data.)
Grooveshark also allows you to stream internet radio stations based on your favourite genre or artist, but additionally lets you build playlists on the fly by dragging songs into the queue. You can save these playlists for use later, and like all free things, is also ad-supported. Grooveshark’s subscription service costs $9 USD a month (or a discounted yearly subscription at $90 USD) and gives you mobile access, an ad-free listening experience and offline playback. They are also expanding their paid service to allow for customizable themes, a desktop application, and various other features
If you’re only interested in listening to good ol’ radio with no frills attached, check out the iiNet Freezone. All of your favourite FM stations and most AM stations can also be streamed online, as well as many other specialty stations catering to specific genres such as jazz, easy listening and news only stations. Best of all, because they’re coming from the Freezone, the streamed music doesn’t count toward your monthly quota. You can listen to your heart’s content! You can read more about Freezone in a previous blog article.
So whether you’re a total audiophile, or just want to catch up on the latest news, there’s something for everyone in the world of music streaming. There are other options out there, such as Jango, Deezer, and the streaming services available through Google Play and iTunes, all of which will allow you to try for free. The world of music is a massive thing, so jump in and get exploring!
Note: Prices are correct at the time of writing. Please check platforms for current information.
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