Explore the world of online music streaming with these five free services.
How do you discover new music? The days of waiting for your favourite song to play on the radio are over and online streaming is increasingly commonplace. Online music streaming services allow users to listen to music over the internet in real time – like listening to a CD without the CD.
From jazz to funk and classical to pop, regardless of your favourite genre, these five free services will open up a world of music on your smartphone, computer and tablet.
Leading music streaming service, Spotify, has a catalogue of more than 20 million tracks ripe for the picking on your computer or device. You can follow your favourite artists, create custom playlists or listen to ‘smart’ playlists with suggestions based on your selections. Spotify links up to your Facebook account so you can share your playlists and keep up with your friends’ musical tastes. There is both an ad-supported (free) option as well as an ad-free premium option (available for $12 per month). Another feature of Spotify is that artists are paid royalties each time a fan streams their song.
Working more like a radio service than Spotify’s playlist-building structure, Pandora is a great option for casual radio streaming, available on your computer or through the app. You don’t need to set up an account to use Pandora, simply head to the website, type in an artist or song and Pandora generates a playlist around them. There is no limit to the number of playlists you can build, so you can rest assured that your taste for Dolly Parton won’t muddy up your Andre Rieu playlist. Another bonus of Pandora is that the ads are few and far between and, for a small fee, you can download your most-loved songs. An ad-free version of Pandora is available for $4.99 per month.
For those using iOS devices, iTunes Radio is an easily accessible personal radio service, located in Apple’s music player app on your device or computer. Unlike Spotify, there’s no building playlists but users can create their own radio stations by typing in an artist or song to get the music going. Each new artist or song generates a new playlist. You can ‘star’ to like your favourite songs or add songs to a never-play-again list. ITunes Radio is also integrated with the iTunes Store, so if you love a particular song you can download it for just a few dollars. An ad-free version of iTunes Radio is available for $34.99 per month.
For devoted followers of music, Deezer gives users access to a range of promotional benefits such as live album streams before their official release. With a collection of over 30 million tracks, you can access many different radio channels and discover new music, as chosen by Deezer’s editorial team. You can also tailor your musical experience by using the service’s Equaliser control and share what you’re listening to with your Facebook friends. Deezer is available for free in the ad-supported Discovery mode for 12 months, after which time the unlimited mode is restricted to two hours of listening per month. You can purchase the Premium service for mobile and web for $5.99 per month for the first three months and $11.99 per month thereafter.
Designed for lovers of radio, iHeartRadio is part of the Australian Radio Network (ARN) and offers a free ad-supported service with 15 million tracks from the likes of Kiis and WS FM. In addition to straight-up live radio streaming, iHeartRadio also allows users to listen to their favourite tracks and artists. One point that sets iHeartRadio apart from other services is that it is a completely free service, and after listening to one artist for a while, ads appear to stop playing. You can listen to iHeartRadio on any device.
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