One of the things I enjoy doing while I work is listening to music.
After a while of listening to the music stored on my computer and my good old CD collection I find myself getting bored of it and in search for something new.
The sure way of getting hold of new music is to go online and look for it.
My first port of call for free music is BBC Radio1, where you can “listen live” or even “listen again” meaning you can listen to any previous shows, this is good if you like a particular show or type of music. One of the main problems is that you are required to use RealPlayer (if you’re in the UK, you can use Windows Media Player as well) to listen to the radio streams.
Of course as you probably know, there are some limits with this, including the fact that the music is rather general, and sometimes the presenter can get annoying.
Another radio streaming option is WinAmp’s Shoutcast based radio stations. The situation is that nullsoft (the company that makes winamp) released a streaming server application that can be used for free. People all over the world use this to run their own online radio station, ultimately meaning that there is a lot of choice. Best of all you can listen using Winamp or your choice of media player.
If like me you are a fan of dance music (in particular trance), you’ll probably find that Digitally Imported is probably one of the best online radio stations out there. They offer everything from Trance right through to Euro Dance to Gabber.
If streaming audio using third party media players isn’t your thing then don’t worry, there’s still more options out there.
As part of a new generation of websites Pandora offers the ability to listen to your choice of music via an embedded flash player. The question I am sure you’ll be asking is “how does it work?” well basically Pandora has a huge collection of music, and a huge database of recommendations from users. Simply, you put in a song that you like and you are provided with a radio station that seamlessly plays music that other users who liked that song recommended. It works very well most of the time. One of the best features of this site is that if you don’t like the current track, you can skip onto the next track.
A similar concept is Last.fm which is probably a bit better as it appears to have more users, and allows for integration with your media player meaning it has better recommendations and feedback to utilise.
Yahoo! have recently jumped on this band wagon and released Yahoo! Music, which appears to offers a similar service to Pandora and Last.fm, you can expect this to be quite good.
Another site that I am forced to mention is of course MySpace, as you are probably aware MySpace was originally created so that bands could get better known, and bands have chosen to take advantage of this by offering their music via MySpace’s music player. This is a good option if you want to listen to a few tracks at a time by particular artists.
mp3.com has existed for many years now, far longer than MySpace, I remember downloading PPK – resurrection from this site years ago.
mercora.com is fairly new offering music search and internet radio network, I have yet to try this out to its full extent.
There are plenty more sites out there, this is just a short list of reliable sites that really work.