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Music Streaming Roundup: Audiotuts Readers' Favorites

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Streaming allows you to play music over the Internet that isn't stored on your computer. You save storage space - but at the cost of bandwidth. Streaming is ideal on devices with limited storage, like netbooks, mobile devices and the coming iPad. It's also a great way to discover new music. We recently asked you about this, and this article wraps up your answers. It summarizes the “hive mind” of Audiotuts+ readers on the best websites to go for streaming music.

The Top 5

1. Pandora Radio

Pandora was an initial leader of Internet radio, and is still a favorite, though it is no longer an option for us Aussies - or anyone else outside of the US.

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

Comments from users:

  • "On my mobile devices I use Pandora and Last.fm but they never really do it for me." (Andy)
  • "I love Pandora." (Mic Realty)
  • "Sadly, Pandora closed its gates for me…" (Marius)
  • "I like finding new music and experimenting with different types of music so my favorites are Pandora, TheSixtyOne and Last.FM" (RottNKorpse - gotta love that name)

2. Last.fm

Last.fm radio is no longer free, though $3 a month is affordable for most people. And the site does a lot more than streaming. I've been a fan of Last.fm's scrobbling and statistics for years.

Comments from users:

  • "I was using Last.FM when I was working from home. Now I’m mostly listening to music in the car, rather than whilst working. Some activities suit music, some don’t, I guess." (Mark Carter)
  • "I like finding new music and experimenting with different types of music so my favorites are Pandora, TheSixtyOne and Last.FM." (RottNKorpse)
  • "On my mobile devices I use Pandora and Last.fm but they never really do it for me." (Andy)

3. Grooveshark

Grooveshark uses Flash and Javascript to become an online media player. It's ad-supported. You can remove the ads for $3 a month.

Comments from users:

  • "I stream my music from grooveshark.com, I use it mostly to find out good songs and then download them to put on my iphone, its also good to see what songs are popular." (Darren)
  • "My favorite was imeem, now I use grooveshark." (MD)
  • I use "grooveshark for finding stuff I already know." (Bob)

4. Spotify

Spotify is another ad-supported music service, where paying a subscription will remove the ads. Unfortunately it isn't available in Australia - yet. The site has a "Get Notified" option, and will send me an email once it is available.

"Here at Spotify we believe that Everyone Loves Music, that's why we aim to legally bring all the worlds music to everyone, everywhere and are currently working really hard to achieve this. While Spotify is not currently available in your country we do hope to launch in more places in the future."

5. Youtube

Though Youtube isn't specifically an audio streaming service, many Audiotuts readers to there to play and explore music that isn't stored on their computer.

Comments from users:

  • "I also listen to songs on my computer at times and sometimes I search youtube for music videos when I want to listen to a specific song. It’s kind of weird how well it works for that kind of thing." (RottNKorpse)

The Rest

There are a bunch of other services mentioned by just one or two readers:

  • Bassdrive - a Drum'N'Bass radio station
  • BBC Player - BBC radio
  • DI.fm - Digitally Imported - Electronic & Dance Music Radio
  • The Hype Machine - discover new music from blog discussions
  • iTunes Radio Stations - access it from your iTunes app
  • Napster - only US residents can play full length songs
  • Radiotuna - a good place to discover music
  • Rhapsody - they might have what you're looking for if you can't find it elsewhere
  • TheSixtyOne - discover music with a role playing game
  • We Are Hunted - the 99 most popular emerging songs in the world

Conclusion

The music streaming sites listed above aren’t necessarily the best - they are what Audiotuts readers are using and recommending. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Open Mic thread.

Which of these sites do you use? Have we left out your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

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