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Complied from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.

How to Choose the Right Music Site

Everyone has their own specific taste in music and musicians. Want to find the perfect streaming site for your musical preferences? 

Listening to music has advanced from car radios and alarm clocks. Today you can listen to music anywhere thanks to online streaming sites. All you have to do is choose a site, press play, and enjoy the music while you ride your bike, cook dinner, or walk your dog.

But before you can enjoy the music, you need to choose the right site, which is dependant on your wants and needs. Read on to find the right site for your music desires.

Do you like radio hits or alternative jams?

To begin your search for the perfect streaming site, it’s important to understand what you will be using it for. Are you a dance instructor looking to play top trending hits? Or will you be listening yourself and prefer less known names and titles? It’s important to figure these things out so that you can choose the right site, as they all have different offerings.

Take the extremely popular site, iHeart. It’s a website, as well as having Android and iPhone apps for your convenience. You can use the site or the app to listen to unlimited music and podcasts, but what it’s best known for is its radio player. You can listen to your favorite local radio stations anywhere, at anytime, and stream popular podcasts from famous personalities like Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran. Additionally, you can create custom radio stations based on your favorite artists like Shawn Mendes, Beyoncé, and Demi Lovato. If you don’t specifically know what you want to listen to, you can use the “My Favorites Radio” feature that tailors the ultimate personalized station just for you. You can also choose a station by genre like “country,” “Hip hop,” or “Classic rock.” iHeart is a top streaming site, the only downside is that it focuses on radio beats and well-known artists.

If you’re a more alternative music listener, and prefer to listen to songs that the rest of the world isn’t singing along to, try SoundCloud or Last.fm. SoundCloud is a Berlin-based company that lets you listen to millions of songs and mixes from around the world. It’s known for being the place to find original music and sounds, and is a community for artists and music lovers around the world. If you are a music creator, you can also upload your music, promote it, and share it. It’s a very different approach compared to a site like iHeart in that the artists aren’t known names, and the songs will likely not be heard on the radio. If this is your vibe, you will likely enjoy a site like Last.fm, which is the ultimate music discovery tool. The site takes songs and artists you’ve listened to in the past and uses that information to build a detailed profile of your music tastes. The site learns what you love in order to build you your own music charts and give you the best music recommendations. Once you’ve created a profile, you can discover new music, explore your music trends, and connect with other community members who have the same tastes as you. Last.fm is so popular that is was acquired by CBS Interactive for $280 million.

Understanding your musical preferences and tastes is the first step to finding the right site. Once you’ve done that, you can then dive deeper into other elements like payment.

Payment Options 

After figuring out what kind of music listener you are, you will want to think about payment. Do you just want to have a streaming site to use when you feel like playing some music every so often? Or will you be using the service enough to make paying for it worth it?

If you’re leaning more towards the free route, try Pandora or Slacker Radio. With Pandora, you can enter an artist or song, and the system will create a custom station. It’s completely free, the only downside is that it’s ad-supported. This means that throughout listening you’ll be interrupted by ads. That may not sound too bad, but if you’re on the treadmill and getting into the groove, an ad is a major buzz kill. Pandora does offer a premium plan, which you can pay

$4.99 a month for. It gives you personalized stations with zero ads, up to 4 stations for offline listening, and higher quality audio. The company also offers a 30-day free trial. You can also give the site, Slacker Radio, a try. It’s run by Duncan Orrell-Jones, who has years of experience in digital media and entertainment, lets you create and share customized music stations, and delivers a seamless music discovery experience. Like Pandora, it offers both a free and paid version, the only thing to keep in mind is that it’s only available to users in the US and Canada.

On the other side of the spectrum are paid streaming sites like Amazon Music and Google Play. Amazon Music gives you access to tens of millions of songs, like iTunes. The content ranges from newly released material, to older jams and classics. The service costs, which means that it’s ad-free, has unlimited skips between songs, and you can download content for offline listening. And since it’s an Amazon product, you can stream the songs through your other Amazon products like the Echo or Alexa. Google Play is extremely similar, and offers two plans – individual and family. The benefit of the family plan is that it doesn’t cost much more than the individual one and allows access for up to 6 family members.

Usability

There’s no doubt you’ve heard about Spotify, one of the most popular music streaming services that’s valued at around $20 billion. The service launched in 2008, and quickly grew to become a top choice for music lovers. You can stream music, podcasts, and music videos for free, or pay for its premium plan which offers ad-free listening. Spotify has grown so popular due to its huge selection of content. But it’s also known for being extremely use-friendly. Its colors are crisp green and black, its buttons are intuitive, and its layout just makes sense. Additionally, the layout of the service is just right. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for, and if not, you can search for it and results load in seconds. Two other sites that offer incredible usability are TuneIn and Jango. Their designs are clean and crisp, and allow users to find what they’re looking for in seconds. TuneIn lets you listen to live news, radio, sports, music, and podcasts, and has over 60 million monthly active users worldwide. Jango is simple and to-the-point. Specify a genre or enter an artists’ name, and you’re set!

Press Play

Music streaming sites vary in features, offerings, and functionality. The key to finding the right site for your needs is specifying exactly what it is you’re looking for. So use this guide as a compass to find the right streaming service, and enjoy the music. Happy listening!

How we created this
list
Complied from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.