For some time now I have wanted to post an article on all the streaming music websites I use as an excuse not to buy CDs anymore. Mruff!
Stumbleaudio: Just discovered this one today. It’s a Stumbleupon for indie music. Users can ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ the songs so as this website will grow the recommendation feature might become very interesting making up for a great way to discover new talent.
Deezer.com: My favorite of all. Millions of songs and albums for free, good quality audio and very easy to use due to simplistic interface. Truly a must.
Finetune: Like this one a lot due to the great audio quality and album artwork display.To use this site properly you must create an account, which is kind of a drag, but once that’s out of the way you get access to a pretty interesting model to discover music. You can create playlists of three songs minimum and push the ‘I’m lazy’ button. Finetune will automatically fill-in the rest of your playlist with music it recommends according to the artists you entered. Oh, and it’s got a great standalone player you don’t even have to download.
Songza.com: This is also a great playlist-based music search engine. 28 million tracks, online promotional adsense-type-model for bands and labels, they definitely have something planned in the long run.
Musicovery: Now this site you are going to use just to fool around with it’s interface. It displays music through a funky-type arborescence and it recommends music through a funky-type search module. So all-in-all you could say this is a pretty funky website, the funkiest of all. I won’t go into further detail concerning how it works, just hop onto the website to get the idea.
RadioBlogClub: Ahhh good old RadioBlog. This was the first search engine to my knowledge that delivered free streamable music. I discovered this one way back in June 2007 (seeing how crazy websites pop-up every day now, 13months ago does seem like ‘waaaaay back’).
GrooveShark: A social network for creating playlists and sharing music. Very innovative company, millions of tracks, complex playlist/sharing model, but I personally don’t use it because it’s a hassle to navigate in. Don’t take my work for it, I’m very impatient with websites and I want my content right away in an impeccable sober interface. GrooveShark just has too many features for me
TheSixtyOne: And last but certainly not least we have TheSixtyOne.com which acts as both a search engine and a social network for artists. Actually it’s more of a playlist search engine where users share their songs lists through a simple URL. There is also a sort of voting system where you ‘bump’ up the charts your favorite songs. Like Stumbleaudio, this webiste mostly caters to indie music and upcoming bands. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.
When RadioBlogClub came out I was amazed by what it offered, and never imagined that only one year later there would be 15 more of these sites. These are only the sites I use, but there are many others. Anywhere.fm lets you upload music on their servers to access your playlists from anywhere. We can’t forget Seeqpod, Streamzy, Skreemr and Jango.
All of these websites are flirting with the law because most songs violate copyright law. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depends if you try to make a living off music), as long as they don’t store infringing songs on their servers, they are allowed to offer their indexing service. Sites like Imeem and Pandora have deals with the RIAA that make them perfectly legit, but the user is limited in many respects (i.e: Pandora does not offer its service anywhere other than the US, and you can’t stream or skip more than a certain number of songs).
What does this mean for the recording artists? In my opinion, it just confirms that avoiding their music to being available for free on the net is somewhat of an impossible task. As hard as it may be for some to swallow, technology and legislation are quickly drifting apart. Everyone is tired of trying to make them go hand-in-hand anyways.