For years I have been a Rhapsody subscriber. The streaming music service is well worth every penny, as I relish the fact that I can play just about any song at any time. But I can understand young music lovers who do not wish to pay to hear the tunes they seek. That’s where these great free services come in.
It’s like they know me! Enter the name of a band, song or genre , and Pandora’s intuitive system will play tunes that have similar musical qualities to your selection.
Registering entitles you to 100 “stations” and the ability to bookmark songs or people. Album art and a blurb about the band accompanies each track.
The recently launched Pandora One offers higher audio quality, a five-hour timeout period (if you don’t interact with Pandora, the system will auto-pause) and no ads for $36 a year. The free version peppers in audio and video ads, and while they definitely interrupt the flow, they are certainly not deal breakers.
Designed to allow anyone to be a virtual DJ, Blip.fm allows you to tell the world what you are listening to. A blip creates a short URL to a song that is accompanied with a brief message. This information is broadcast to your friends or shared on Twitter.
Even though I’m not big on ‘blipping,’ I do use the site to pull up songs I want to listen to. A preview button next to each track will actually enable a song to play all the way through. The availability of tracks is a bit unpredictable, as the system pulls songs from a variiety of servers and Websites – including YouTube.
This site is for folks who want to impress their friends by showing off their DJ skills or for people who want access to a song in a flash.
As the name implies, this is another music recommendation engine. What’s unique is that playlists can be built based on your mood. Feeling like a dark mix from the 70s or an energetic mix from the 90s? Use the filtering system to customize your music. Free users can ban songs they hate and enjoy lo-fo streams.
A graphical interface based on Liveplasma technology. The Liveplasma technology creates a graphical map of possible tastes, with songs most likely to please the user appearing closer to the current song on the visual map than songs less similar.
Last.fm recommends music, videos and concerts based on what you listen to. The system registers every track that you play and stores that information behind your profile. It can then recommend similar songs – and people who have alike taste.
Music can be recommended o a friend, tagged or commented on, all impacting the song’s importance on the site. The more positively a track is received the higher up the Last.fm charts it moves, resulting in greater exposure. With Last.fm, you have the power to help decide what’s hot and what’s not.
Dizzler, the self-proclaimed media tornado is a search engine for music tracks, music videos and song lyrics. Type in what you are looking for and you will be presented with an opportunity to stream the song for free, add it to your playlist (free registration required), view lyrics, share with a friend or (via Thumbplay) purchase the ringtone. The information comes from public searches but all URLs are encrypted to protect the identity of the content source.
The site also hosts chat rooms devoted to your favorite artists as well as links to news, photos and tour dates.
Spotify.com – Listen for free (ad-supported), purchase a Day Pass (24 hours ad free) or subscribe for the Premium program.
MP3.com – Listen online or purchase tunes for download. My favorite feature is the “Random Artist” button on the top toolbar.
Lala.com – All the music you could ever want, playable in a web browser. Over 7 millions songs, the first 25 for free.
Slacker.com – Personalized radio service featuring over 100 expert-programmed genre stations and the ability to create your own.
Where are you listening to music on the Web?