Move over iTunes, because free music sharing sites seem to be here to stay. More and more music websites are being created for one purpose: to let you hear any music you want for free.
So, with all the different music sharing websites out there, how can you pick just one? You don’t have to! But if you’re looking to stick with one primary site, here is a guide to help you understand the features each music site has to offer. Spotify
This popular European service has just become available in the U.S. Drawing traits similar to iTunes, Spotify lets you create playlists, sort artists by album or genre, and provides quality music sound. Unlike iTunes, you are not limited to just your own music library. With Spotify, you have access to its 15 million song library!
Spotify is a top of the line listening program, but do not expect good recommendations (“If you like this, you’ll love this…”). The biggest complaint thus far is that Spotify’s music discovery features are not fully developed as of yet.
Spotify is free, but also offers premium subscriptions for a monthly fee.
Grooveshark is an international music search engine and streaming service, streaming close to 100 million songs a month. You can create playlists, search the database for virtually any song, and also embed playlists in blogs or personal web pages.
Grooveshark also offers a pretty cool recommendation system called “Grooveshark Radio,” which finds songs similar to those compiled in a user’s playlists and prompts them for playback.
The one downside to Grooveshark: the sound quality of the music can be lacking at times. Recently, there has been concern regarding the legality of the content streamed. It’s not always quality content.
Grooveshark is free, but also offers a subscription service.
Around since 2002, this music site has over 40 million users. Last.fm features an awesome recommendation system, “Audioscrobbler,” which builds a profile for each user’s music preference based on what they listen to on the site.
A bit more interactive, Last.fm lets you keep track of concerts in your area, and connect with people who share similar music taste. You can listen to personalized radio stations, or thumb through customized recommendations made just for you!
Last.fm is primarly a recommendation service, so if you’re looking to discover new music, this could be the site for you!
This is a free service for U.S. residents.
This very exclusive “social DJing” site is by invite only, and I’m still waiting for mine. Perhaps the elite-ness of it is what has sparked all the buzz about this interactive way to share music.
Much like a game, when you enter Turntable.fm, you join a chatroom with compatible music fans and DJ songs for them. From there, they can either boot you out or approve your musical selections with an ‘awesome’. Each ‘awesome’ gets you DJ points. DJ points can be used to unlock new avatars, or to partake in the “fan system,” a feature that notifies you when a DJ you like is logged on.
So, if you’re into a more game-ified way to discover new music, try getting an invite to Turntable.fm. Unlike the above sites, the recommendation system is purely human, and while discovering new artists, you just may make a few new pals.
This is just a taste of an ever-expanding music sharing medium. Keep an eye out for up-and-coming sites and programs, like Apple iCloud or Music Beta.
Lily Angelle is a Radio-Television-Film major at The University of Texas in Austin, TX. She hopes to one day be a cinematographer or screenwriter. In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, and often writes music reviews for the blog “30 Days Out.” Lily’s favorite bands are Weezer, The Beatles, and The Velvet Underground. You can often find her studying on campus in the Cactus Cafe, or around Austin at Home Slice, her favorite pizza place.