For those of you who, like me, cannot get through any one day without at least a little quality music time, I wanted to share with you a greener way to get the music you want. I find that most folks don’t actually want to buy music, nor do they have specific songs in mind that they are just dying to listen to when they turn on the radio/stereo/iPod/etc. Instead, most people just want to choose a band or genre and not think too much about fine tuning the song selection.
There’s also the issue of sustainability to consider with music:
– CDs and listening devices create a lot of waste. They break down and wear out over time, leaving you inclined to replace them. Definitely a landfill bummer.
– Music is pretty economical to buy, but it’s hard to take your collection with you wherever you go without investing in a pricey listening device.
– It can be hard to update your collection without spending some dough. Plus, when was the last time you actually liked every song on an album?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have some free alternatives that you could access from any computer?
As a radio host/DJ, I find myself constantly looking to listen to new music, but my limited budget means that I never, almost ever, want to buy it. Instead, I have my ears constantly to the music collections of my friends and, more often, to the internets ever-changing music world. There are many, many ways to listen to free music online, and even keep some of it in your own collection. In this post, I want to share with you some of the easier-to-use programs that will let you pipe music into your home via your computer, and you won’t have to part with a cent.
Pandora – Pandora is great for several reasons. First, it’s easy to use, which is a high priority for those who want to hear some new tunes but aren’t feeling very tech savvy. With Pandora, you can click the link provided and instantly start building your own “radio stations” that will play a selection of music based off of your current listening preferences. So, if you like to listen to, say, bluegrass, you can type in your favorite bluegrass singer, song, or album and Pandora will search through its database to find what you had in mind. You can then select that song/artist/whatever, and Pandora will find other music that has similar qualities as whatever you originally selected.
Now, you may not necessarily hear the song or artist you originally selected, but you’ll hear lots of music that has similar sound qualities. I love Pandora when I’m looking for new material to play on a radio show, but it’s not my first pick of music programs when I’m just dying to hear a particular tune.
Another great quality with Pandora is that you can build multiple radio stations all based on different themes (i.e. bluegrass, country, heavy metal, Norwegian yodeling, etc.).
The downside: they play advertisements every three or four songs. They’re quick, but sometimes they can really interrupt a groovy flow of music. You can buy a subscription and skip the ads altogether, but they’ve never been annoying enough for me to be spurned to purchase. Plus, this is about free music, right?
Spotify – Spotify is my new favorite listening program for several novel reasons. First, Spotify is free. Second, it has a HUGE database of music (literally, almost everything every recorded). Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday Mr. President”? Check. The Presidents of the United States of America singing about peaches? Check. Peaches & Herb singing “Shake Your Groove Thing” from the I Love the 70’s remix? Check…
Finally, it’s incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is search for songs and artists you like, and then click and drag that song/artist over into a personal playlist. Then, you can listen to all your favorite songs whenever you’d like without having to search for them over and over again. Spotify is also great if you’re a social media hound, as you can connect your Spotify account through Facebook and “send” songs to your FB friends who also use Spotify.
Oh yeah, did I mention you have a make an account? Don’t worry! It’s actually a benefit for those of you leery of “signing up for stuff you don’t even want”. Creating an account means you can log onto Spotify from any computer, and BAM! There’s your personal playlists just waiting for you to impress your dinner party with your eclectic and refined musical taste.
The downside: Spotify only allows you to listen and search for music when you’re connected to the internet if you only have the free version. If you pay for a subscription, you can listen to your playlist music anytime you want, internet or none. I use the free version, and really enjoy it for when I’m just dying to hear something in particular. Spotify also has a radio feature, but since they got rid of their folk genre, I haven’t been too into it.
Free Itunes Download – Bet you didn’t know that iTunes offers a few free-to-download songs every day! If you open up your iTunes store (you have to download iTunes to access this, but it’s free!), you’ll find down on the right hand column a “free songs” button. Sometimes the songs they offer are pretty left field, but every now and again there will be something I’ll enjoy.
Musictonic – This is a program I rarely use simply because I prefer using Spotify when I’m online. Still, this is a great program where you can search by artist or song, and find videos and streams of just about any tune you can think of. Very visually appealing and easy to use. Definitely worth checking out if you can’t stand the ads with Spotify or Pandora.
Grooveshark – Another great online program that doesn’t require logging in or any downloads. Search by artist, song, genre etc. and get music videos, music, and other neat features. Also an easy way to share what you’re listening to with your online social media.
*** In the interest of full disclosure, I am not endorsing or being compensated for endorsement of any particular music streaming product. All views in this blog post are solely those of the author (me), and are given without compensation based entirely on my own opinion and experiences.