Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 by Joey Flores
Don’t you just love music? This top 10 list will help you find the most awesome music streaming sites and will provide you with the best ways to listen to free online radio. To make sure you only get the best Music streaming sites we have enlisted Joey Flores, CEO and co-founder of Earbits Radio, to share his extensive knowledge with us. These are Joey’s top 10 online radio services.
Since vinyl records gave way to tape cassettes, the way we consume music has continued to transform. Just as fast as they came, CD’s became MP3s, and with the transition of physical music to digital has come the rise of free online radio. There are 7 billion people in the world and almost every one of them loves music. We love to listen in the shower, running or driving, while we cook, and during the most important moments of our lives. Free online radio makes the dream of always surrounding ourselves with music a reality.
The most powerful thing about free internet radio stations is that each user can have their own individual stream of music. Historically, FM radio stations had to play the same music for hundreds of thousands of listeners, which meant they had to play what would please the most people. Emerging artists struggled to get airtime, and niche genres were isolated to the remote corners of your local record store.
Now, you can find free music online in nearly any format you want, but few are as convenient or popular as free online radio services. Hundreds of millions of people are tuning in every day to get a personalized stream of Kentucky Bluegrass, Live Dubstep, or just great instrumental music to work to. Whatever your flavor, on web or on mobile, there is a free online radio service for you. Here are ten we think you’re going to love.
While only available in the US, Australia and New Zealand, Pandora is the poster child for free internet radio. They boast 200 million registered users, with over 60 million returning to the site every month to enjoy a personalized channel of music based on their favorite artists. Pandora is available on the web, iPhone, Android, other mobile devices, and in many car dashboards. If you’re in the US and you haven’t tried Pandora, it’s probably time. If you’re outside the US, keep reading. There are plenty of free online radio services just for you.
If you’ve ever caught yourself saying, “They just don’t make good music anymore,” you haven’t tried Earbits Radio. Focused almost entirely on new independent music, Earbits curates submissions from artists around the world and plays thousands of artists you should know about but don’t. They feature genre-based channels, channels built around festival lineups, and activity-based channels like their Music to Work to stations. And as if that wasn’t enough, their unique approach makes it possible for the service to be available worldwide, completely free of ads, commercials or subscription fees. Earbits Radio is available on the web and in their free Android app.
Nobody said that free internet radio had to be run solely by computers. TuneIn is your destination for over 70,000 FM and AM radio stations, complete with DJ’s and all, streaming free online. From world-famous KCRW to your own local stations, TuneIn is bringing terrestrial radio to your computer, tablet or mobile device. Search stations by genre, location, or call name (KCRW). Listen to sports, politics and more. Whatever you do, TuneIn.
One of the world’s largest radio companies is industry giant Clear Channel. With a massive roster of AM and FM radio stations worldwide, Clear Channel is determined not to be left out of the free internet radio race, and their trusty steed is iHeartRadio. Launched to significant, celebrity-fueled fanfare, iHeartRadio is like TuneIn and Pandora combined, with over 1,500 live stations, or custom-created music-only channels based on popular artists. iHeartRadio is available on everything, from mobile to tablet, Xbox to Android, from pickup truck to toaster. Okay, maybe not toaster.
Before Pandora came on the scene, stations were built primarily around genres, but their artist-centric stations changed the game. Now, Songza is doing it again with their activity-based playlists. Going for a long run on a summer day? There’s probably a station for that. From cooking to working, partying to pre-party preparation, Songza has a playlist that’s just for you. And whatever it is, it’s working. Songza’s audience has seen a meteoric rise, and even industry giants like iHeartRadio are playing copycat just to keep up.
Slacker Radio might sound lazy, but their team would disagree. This popular service differentiates itself by having a legion of experts hand-curate thousands of channels just for you. They’re not buying into the whole “computers can pick the perfect music” mantra touted by other services. They believe the secret sauce is in the human touch, and based on their audience size, the proof is in the pudding. The service is easily one of Pandora’s biggest rivals, and it’s available on web and mobile.
Since the dawn of the internet, AOL has been a leader in providing popular online services, and Shoutcast is no exception. With nearly 50,000 free internet radio stations to choose from, the You’ve Got Mail sister service provides free streaming music to a massive number of users. Listen to radio on iPhone or Android, on web and in Winamp. With something for everybody, Shoutcast will have you shouting from the rooftops.
AccuRadio is a company intent on introducing you to new music. They boast a roster of artists that aren’t getting mainstream airplay, designed for “adults with sophisticated musical tastes.” Their staff picks range from French Pop to Native American music, and they showcase unique collections such as their highlighted channels for African-American Music Appreciation Month. You can get AccuRadio on the web, iPhone and Android.
With all the rush to be unique, Jango Radio is sticking to the basics. While other services build fancy playlists based on your favorite cartoon (note:sarcasm!), Jango’s homepage features stations that will look familiar to anybody born without an iPod in their hand – Blues, Country, 90’s, Easy Listening – and the list of straight-ahead stations continues. If you want to skip past the fancy playlisting and novelties, Jango Radio is as close as it gets to an FM radio lineup on the web and mobile.
If Burger King is home of the Whopper, Last.fm is home of the Scrobble. This community-driven radio music destination boasts a page for every artist and song you’ve ever played, and they’re keeping track, too. With their unique scrobbling feature the company keeps track of every song you’ve listened to on their service and beyond, tailoring your experience over time, and giving you unique insights into your own listening behavior. They were big enough to be picked up by media giant CBS, and they’ve certainly got an experience that’s captured the hearts of millions. Find them on the web, mobile, and their own desktop software.
If this list tells you anything, it’s that there are a lot of choices for free radio on the internet, but radio isn’t the only way to listen to free music online. There are all-you-can-eat mega catalog services like Spotify and Rdio, or video services like Youtube and Vimeo.
The All My Faves music section has a huge list of services that will have you reading, listening, buying and sharing all of your favorite music. You’ll find most of the services on our Top 10 list, and plenty more. If you aren’t intent on checking out one of the online radio services above, head over to the All My Faves music HomePage and see if there’s something there that tickles your fancy.
Joey Flores is a musician and the CEO and co-founder of Earbits Radio, a music discovery service and artist marketing platform designed to showcase today’s top emerging talent. He advocates for independent and unsigned artists, and listens to music at volumes that drive his housemates and neighbors crazy. Find him on earbits.com.