Best 6 Streaming Music Services in 2011
Why subject yourself to the whims of radio DJs when you can go online and proactively find and listen to the music you want? Listening to broadcast commercials is also a thing of the past when using online streaming music services — although you have to pay for the privilege if you want your listening experience to be completely ad-free.
Streaming services are for those who want to listen to music without the limitations of broadcast radio, but without having to worry about buying individual songs and putting them on a digital device. Basically, you get to create your own person radio station with its own play list.
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Laura Allen Phillips, research analyst at Parks Associates, a consumer technology market research firm in Dallas, shared with TechNewsDaily her lists of top six services available in the U.S. With these services, you have access to the music, but you don’t own it.
No. 1: Rdio – Phillips likes this service (a product of the founders of Skype) because of its substantial music library (exceeding 8.5 million titles) plus its social networking style recommendation tool that, as she put it, "Makes it easy for users to reconnect with current favorites and discover new ones." Fees start at $4.99 monthly, and mobile access is also available.
No. 2: Pandora – She describes Pandora as a well established service with something for just about any taste. You can use it in your car thanks to its smartphone connectivity. The basic service, with ads, is free for the first 40 music hours per month. Unlimited use with no advertising costs $36 per year.
No. 3: MOG – Phillips likes MOG's large music catalog and its options that let you choose how much control you want over the music you stream. With little effort, you can create a custom "station" based on your preferences, she said. Subscriptions for unlimited use cost $9.99 per month. Mobile access is also available.
No. 4: Slacker – As you might expect from the name, this ad-supported service is free—there is no fee-based upgrade. "It's a slightly younger, edgier streaming service with customizable station options and a large music catalog," Phillips says. There is also access for mobile devices.
No. 5: Last.fm – Philips likes their selection of signed and “indie” music selections. Users can build custom stations built on their artist and music preferences. The basic service is free and ad-free browsing is $3 per month.
No. 6: Rhapsody – This service also offers downloads, she notes. Otherwise, she likes its large library of 11 million songs, and its mobile access options. You can use it free for two weeks, and then subscriptions start at $9.99 monthly.
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