Listen to Music Online

Matt Stauffer

Having access to your music everywhere you go can have plenty of personal and professional benefits; just imagine having your Large Group Greeting playlist accessible from any computer with an Internet connection. Check out these services to get started with your own online music collection.


In my own humble opinion, Grooveshark is the cream of the crop. A huge database of songs, a slick and full-featured web site, and clients for all of the major mobile systems–except iOS (they made it, Apple approved it, and then Apple pulled it from the store a few days later–but you can still use it if you jailbreak your phone). Also, the creators of Grooveshark are actively involved in improving their site and their music collection, and are extremely involved with their users and with the music world.

Grooveshark is free to use on your desktop, or $9/month to use on your phone (but there are frequent promotions.)


Pandora’s been around for longer than any of the other music discovery services; it’s a great music discovery service (since it’s based on the Music Genome Project, which is devoted to understanding the undergirdings of music), but unlike the other services on this list it doesn’t let you choose which songs you’re listening to. Instead, you choose a song (or artist or album) and it creates a radio station for you with similar music, which you can continually fine-tune by giving new songs thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Pandora is free for 40 hours per week of listening, with a web application and apps for all of the major phones. If you pay $36/year for Pandora One, you get a desktop application and unlimited listening.

Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon just released a 5GB free hosting service called “Amazon Cloud Drive” which is plugged into a very simple MP3 player they call Cloud Player. The benefit of this service is that you can guarantee which music is there (for example, some artists ask Grooveshark not to host their music; also, your brother’s garage band probably isn’t online there.) The negative is, it doesn’t come pre-filled with any music like the other service. Therefore, you have to take the time to upload your own music, which means the service is limited to music you own; also, since the service was just released last week, the player’s still flaky at times, and not very feature-rich. However, it’s a great option to get your favorite music online and accessible from anywhere.

Amazon Cloud Player currently has a web player and an Android player. Amazon offers tiered pay upgrades to increase your storage limit.


Rdio is for-pay-only, $5/month for web and $10/month for mobile. It’s similar to Grooveshark, but seems to focus a little more on social networking–and doesn’t offer a free option. Check out what Lifehacker has to say.

Honorable mention


Everyone’s raving (here’s what Lifehacker has to say) about Spotify, but it’s still not available in the US. So… no bones.
Do you use one of these services, or another service? Would you recommend it? How have you used online music streaming to help you in your campus ministry?

(photo from Flickr user cicciofarmaco)

By Matt Stauffer | Posted: Apr 01, 2011
Category: Web Services | Tags: , | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

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