Due to recent popularity of streaming music sites, everyone enjoyed listening to almost anything you want online, and get it whenever you want it. Thousands of these music sites literally proliferated the web and you possibly want to know which of these streaming sites would you give your hard-earned money on. Here are some of the best choices in the streaming music business.
This has been in the service for quite a few years already. Pandora is Internet radio in the truest sense of the word. It doesn’t offer to the listener the ability to build custom on-demand playlists, so you can only listen to the music feed that its algorithm builds based on your musical tastes and styles, with a limited number of “skips”. Pandora’s matching ability is really wonderful, though, and recommends more of the songs we like more often than not. With a free music account, you can get 12 skips per day, and are just limited to 320 hours of music per month thanks to an agreement with the RIAA (though that’s an almost impossible amount to use). For a mere $36 per year, Pandora’s premium service gives you six skips per hour and can listen to your favorite music free of advertisement.
This music site is highly popular for its “scrobbling” service that recommends songs based on what you’ve listened to, Last.fm also offers to the listener streaming radio along the same lines. Just like Pandora, Last.fm is also quite limited in how specific you can get with your playlists (according to their guidelines, you can’t, for instance, play 5 songs from the same artist within an hour due to music licensing laws), but does allow you to add individual tracks to the mix, as well as artists or genres. Another positive: In the U.S., Last.fm is free to use and offers unlimited skips. A paid version at $3 per month gets rid of ads and allows you to listen on mobile deviecs.
The very famous streaming/P2P hybrid, Grooveshark has become hugely popular for the freedom it gives you compared with some other music services. You can literally search for and play individual music tracks, arrange them into different playlists, and skip forward and backward between them. The Windows Media Player-like music interface also lets you skip forward or backward within an individual song. This is a feature that is sadly lacking from most of its competitors. You can also upload your own music to the site for later streaming and listening anywhere, and purchase songs you like on the spot. Best of all, there’s no limit on how much you can listen to each month, and all of this is unbelievably free. The only nuisance is a few ads in the browser-based service, which you can get rid of for $6 a month, or $9 a month if you also want streaming to your mobile phone.
Does this sound too good to be true? That might be because it is: Grooveshark has been sued by just about every major record label, and many of those suits are ongoing.
A very recent much-hyped European sensation that only came to the U.S. in 2011, Spotify offers unlimited on-demand streaming supported by audio ads. So what’s the catch? The music service is only unlimited for the first 6 months; after that time, you’re just limited to 10 hours per month unless you switch to a paid subscription. Mobile is also limited to radio only in the free version. $5 gets you unlimited streaming; $10 gets you an offline client and a full mobile app.
In its free version, Slacker offers to its listeners a radio service similar to many others: Semi-customized, ad-supported, and unlimited listening. It should be noted that, like Pandora, you’re limited to six skips per hour – however, that’s in the free version; Slacker’s paid plans go to unlimited skips. The paid versions are why Slacker counts so many ardent supporters among its membership base: If you pay for the Slacker Radio Plus ($3.99), you can zap the audio ads. With Slacker Radio Premium ($9.99) you gain the much sought-after ability to build playlists and do on-demand streaming, which is more than its competitors in the radio space offer.
It was originally a music-based social network site. MOG then evolved into a full-on streaming music service with a unique twist. Where other sites’ free versions place limits on you based on time or control, MOG’s FreePlay uses a virtual gas tank that you have to keep filled up by doing certain activities within the MOG site. As long as you can do that, your listening time remains unlimited. Apart from that, you get the best of both worlds: On-demand albums and individual tracks, and the same high-quality 320 Kbps audio that you get with most sites’ paid services. The free version also comes ad-free for 60 days. Their basic ($4.99) plan gets rid of ads permanently; the $9.99 Primo plan adds mobile service.
For all of these streaming music sites there’s generally a free option that lets you listen with certain restrictions, such as required audio ads or limiting your control over the playlist (in other words, they behave like traditional broadcast radio stations, albeit much more in tune with your individual tastes). Then there are paid subscriptions in the $5-$10 range that remove some or all of these restrictions and give you what amounts to an on-demand playlist of whatever you want. With that in mind, you get to choose from these most familiar names stacking up against each other.