December 8, 2017

I used to waste a lot of money on CDs – I’d hear a song I liked on the radio and then, after shelling out a lot of money for the whole album, discover that there was only a few songs that I liked. So then I’d have to create my own CDs with the songs I liked burned on them. Once MP3s were invented, I could usually get the songs that I liked and just pay for those. However, I still had to listen to the radio and suffer through all those commercials before I heard new music that I might be interested in. Or I had to rely on friends will good musical taste to recommend something.

Music was a lot of work!

But now there’s streaming music! I pay for the service, but I get access to all kinds of music. If you’re new to the streaming music scene, here’s some options:

First, the big boys: Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, or Google Play. If you buy your music from one of these companies, you’re already familiar with their UI. It’s definitely worth the subscription. Amazon gives you lots of free songs to listen to, pre-designed playlists, and different radio stations. Plus my Alexa speaker works with it! On the other hand, Apple Music allows you to actually download the music and use Siri to control it. It also has stations curated by real musical artists and DJs. Google has YouTube and Google Home integration, and some good playlists and artist stations.

From a purely music service point of view, a name you likely know is Pandora. You select your favorite band or artist, and Pandora creates channels based on the stuff you like as well as new things that you might enjoy also. Spotify is another household name. Spotify has an amazing amount of songs available for the cost. I love being able to make playlists and share them with friends. There’s also Slacker radio, which has news and weather updates as well as live ESPN radio included with the service, so you get more than just music.

Speaking of more than just music, if you’ve got SiriusXM radio, you can pay a little extra and get the streaming service too (or you can pay separately for it.) You can listen to it in the car, through your Alexa, stream it over the internet, or listen on any device you can install the app on.

These streaming services give you a lot more freedom to listen to what you want, when you want, and where you want. No more paying for whole albums when you only like three songs. No more having to shell out tons of money to buy each individual MP3 you like and having to constantly upgrade your MP3 player to one with more space to hold all your music. Some of these offer a free version (with commercials) or a free trial, so you can give them a try to see what’s right for you before you pay for anything. For the price of a take-out meal or an overpriced latte, you can get all the music you want, curated just for your tastes!