Great ways to discover and (legally) listen to music online

Here are a few thoughts on music services I’m in love with online.  CAVEAT:  Many, if not all of these only work in a limited number of countries due to lame licensing complications… typically the United States, often coupled with Canada and/or the UK.  And it’d be wrong, oh so wrong to use proxies to get around this ;-).

*  *  *

I just learned that on Last.fm you can not only play tons of (full length!) songs on demand now, but do so without even having an account.  This makes it a great service to share neat music finds with others!

Here’s an example:
The short, catchy, and wordless 47 Reasons, from the charming and often hilarious a cappella group, The Bobs.

Downside:  Individuals are technically only supposed to be able to stream a song full-length three times.

Other music services online that I love:

  • Yahoo Music Unlimited, but it’s being discontinued soon, sending all of its members to…
  • Rhapsody, with limited free streaming online and a service that offers memberships with unlimited streaming / tethered downloading for $13-$15/month.  Great selection of artists and tunes!
  • Imeem, which—like Last.fm—also lets you stream a ton of awesome music full-length for free… and on Imeem you can even embed/share it, too, but all of this only for folks who are logged in.  Others get 30 second snippets.  Still, better than nothing… and better than services like iTunes which require you to use proprietary software.
  • Pandora, which doesn’t let you stream on demand or download, but it’s a fabulous (and free) online radio service that learns quickly what you love. Not just artists or genres, but actual sounds… swing feel, lots of trumpets, major keys, fast tempos, etc.  Note that you can establish many different stations to fit your mood (big band jazz, laid back acoustic piano, etc.). Try this one out, create a couple of stations, seed ‘em with a few artists and/or song names, and then rate a handful of songs (thumbs up, thumbs down).  You’ll be amazed and grateful :-D.

Have thoughts on the ones I’ve listed above?  And are there other music services online that you love and I haven’t mentioned? 

[Hat tip for Last.fm info: DeWitt Clinton]

17 comments

  1. I like the zune music pass with like rhapsody for $15 a month it allows you unlimited downloads but its teathered. With this it will work in wmp, media center, xbox 360, zune, and a few otheres I think.

  2. I’m curious, Jon… how’d you pick the Zune music pass service over, say, Rhapsody or Napster?  Is it because of special compatibility with the Zune?

  3. Well, Ashley, there’s a difference between bajillion and “several” ;-). 

    You might try seeding Pandora stations with a diverse group of artists and songs; maybe that’ll help the stations be a bit broader in nature?

  4. I think you missed a key feature of imeem, they way it gets all this music on its site is by users uploading their favourite bands. imeem is essentially ‘youtube for music’ which means it has a larger catalog than any of the other sites mentioned.
    (and unlike last.fm there’s no 3 play limit)

    This user created catalog has helped imeem to become the biggest of all the sites you’ve mentioned.

  5. I used to use Yahoo! Music all the time, I just kept wanting to rate the music to move up to the next level (have no idea what it entitled). I also tried pandora for a while, and imeem is good for searching. The only other one I have used is http://www.radioblogclub.com which is like imeem, but not as good.

  6. Hi Adam,
    If you ask to girls the same question they probably would been reply like.
    “we are downloading the favorite songs” rather than to listen those online.

  7. Wow, lots of neat suggestions.

    – radioblogclub: I’ve tried this, and it’s nice to be able to embed music on one’s own site.  Decent selection, but often not very accurate tagging.  Of questionable legality, too.

    – deezer: Eeek, slow slow slow!  Curse that Flash.  Played with it a few weeks ago, but just got too frustrated.
    – download vs. listen: For those of us who are at a computer for many hours a day, it doesn’t seem to make much difference 😛

    – esnips: Did a search for a popular artist, and very little came up… at least that was tagged coherantly.  Bummer 🙁

    – muvibee: Interesting!  Quite a variety of videos.  But no free streaming of high-quality audio from what I could tell :(.

    Anyway, thanks much, everyone, for all the sharing of sites.  Cool to see what’s out there!

  8. I recently moved from Pandora to Slacker Radio (www.slacker.com)

    Essentially the same music discovery factor as Pandora, but with better features IMHO – the biggest one for me is it shows you the next song in the lineup before you skip, how many skips you have left, and has more options for training your stations.

    Artist/song/album info is also more readily available for those interested. And the cheap paid version lets you save favorite songs to play at any time.

  9. I didn’t realize there were so many places to download music from!  Thanks for sharing this information.  I’ll be passing the info along to my friends!

What do you think?