Music Online

Music Online

Posted on Dec 18th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
I’ve been checking out sites where you can play music and create channels.  I’ve so far only played around Last FM to any great extent, but plan on checking out the others.  Here is a good recent review of the top four by Nathan Chase:

Slacker, Last.fm, Pandora, & LaunchCast – A Personalized Radio Roundup

Here is an article by Matt Rosoff at Digital Noise:

CBS adds Launchcast to its online radio arsenal

Launchcast was owned by Yahoo and was the original online music service, but I don’t get the sense that its as popular as some of the others.  CBS already owns Last FFM and plans on changing Launchcast to fit a different niche.  Last FM and Launchast combined will create quite a competition to the other offerings.

Edit: I want to add a couple of links and comments.

The first comparison I came across was this one by Steve Krause.  Its a good analysis of the differences between the two biggest players that have free services.

Pandora and Last.fm: Nature vs. Nurture in Music Recommenders

Here is a review by Gary Savelson that gives a quick synopsis of many different services.

Discovering Music: Jango, Finetune, Meemix, Slacker, Deezer, MOG, Last.fm, Pandora, Haystack

This one that is very detailed.

Rocketsurgeon Blog

This is interesting… a couple of sites that allow you to use your Last FM account to discover videos on Youtube.

last.fm mashup

I Love Music Video

The comment I wanted to make is that there is some nice software that helps connect between these services.  There is one that sends what you listen to on Pandora to your Last FM account and one that does the same sending your Rhapsody music to Last FM. 

Last FM seems to be the most popular and sounds like its probably more useful for most people.  It has a simpler model and the community aspect creates a strong loyalty base.  I’ve found it easy to use and it gives me solid recommendations for similar music.  I’ll explore Pandora some and I might even choose to pay for Rhapsody, but whatever the case I’ll probably still visit Last FM.

Its hard to tell which services might survive in the long run as the music industry is always looking to increase their profits which might force under some of these free services.  I don’t know about Pandora because it was having some trouble recently, but I’m willing to bet Last FM lasts as it has a large company backing it.  Pandora could easily lose out as soon as other companies start trying the same thing they do.

I’m not sure what is going on with Yahoo.  There changing everything around and I don’t know what they’ll be offering in the future.  They shifted some of their services off onto Rhapsody.  I have no idea how Yahoo compares, but it doesn’t seem to be in the same league with Pandora and Last FM.

Access_public Access: Public 8 Comments Print Post this!views (164)  

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 16 hours later

Nicole said

For me, the biggest problem with Pandora is that it only works in the US. I found it quite promising before it became unavailable to us, now it’s only frustrating to think about. I don’t know why I stopped using Last FM, guess I just got too busy and forgot to come back to it. One thing was that I found it quite limited in terms of classical music. I would love a good site like this that really has the breadth and depth of classical to explore and link. But that’s probably unlikely.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 23 hours later

Marmalade said

Ahhh, yes, I’d heard that Canadians can’t get some of the services. Sorry to hear that. Its easy to forget about national bordres when online… or maybe its easy for an American.

I’m also sorry that Last FM is limited in terms of classical music. I wonder that is. I suppose Last FM focuses on more popular music, but you’d think that classical would have a large audience… maybe the typical person interested in classical doesn’t tend to look online for music. I wonder if there are any other free services that offer classical music.

I suppose you might have to go to a pay site to get classical. Have you ever tried any of the download or subscription services? I’m really curious about them.

There are two reasons I got out of the habit of listening to music on a regular basis. For one, I didn’t like spending money on cds. The second is that the musical offering on local radio stations is worse than it used to be.

I’m thinking a subscription service could make me more interested in music again. I’m really enjoying gathering my favorites on Last FM, but it doesn’t offer subscription to unlimited listening to all songs available. Last FM hasa severe limitation to what you can playwithout buying and there aren’t too many songs I would want to permanently own.

I came across Rhapsody via Yahoo. I’m checking them out right now and did some searches for reviews. Looking at comparisons with other services (Napster, Zune), Rhapsody seems maybe the best fit for me. Supposedly, they have around 4 million songs available which might be the biggest collection available online. The price seems reasonable. The only downside is that if you stop subscription, you lose your library of favorites.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 24 hours later

Nicole said

i’ve been quite happy with emusic as a paid site from which one can get a large variety of really good music, including classical. I don’t spend as much time there as I could though.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 24 hours later

Marmalade said

I’d heard people give great praise to emusic. From what I understand, its a good place to find more altenative music which I guess in this case includes classical. I wonder if it has anything Rhapsody wouldn’t. I keep seeing new numbers on Rhapsody. The last one I noticed said there was something like6 or7 million songs on Rhapsody and that they add new songs as they’re released on a weekly basis.

So, emusic has everything you want? Have you ever looked for something there and not been able to find it?

Rhapsody and emusic seem to have different purposes. Rhapsody ismore massiveand more expensive. Rhapsody is probably trying to be everything to everyone, but I don’t know how successful they are at doing that. Another thing is that someone said that emusic isn’t a subscription service in the way Rhapsody is. I’m not quite sure what the specific differences are though.

What attracted you to emusic? I suppose it being available in Canada was a point in its favor. 🙂

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

One thing I coudn’t find on Rhapody was the soundtrack to the movie Billy Elliot. I was surprised because it was a major movie. I did a search around. It didn’t seem to be available on other music sites which is strange because the music on the soundtrack can be found through the albums of the musicians themselves.

There is one reallynice thing about Rhapsody and Last FM. I’ve set it up so what I play on Rhapsody gets show on my profile on Last FM. They balance eachother out well. There is more music available on Rhapsody of course, but Last FM lets you see what others with similar tastes are listening to.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

I’ve made another happy discovery.

Both Last FM and Rhapody have some spoken word… specifically William S. Burroughs, but not as muh as I’d like. I even befriended a fellow Burroughs fan and joinedthe Burroughs group this person started. I already own practically all of the available cds of Burroughs, but its still nice to find Burroughs on the main music sites.

I’d like to find other spoken word authors. I’ll probably have to check elsewhere for a more full selection. That is my only major disappointment so far with Rhapsody. Still, they do have a fair amount of spoken word considering its not their focus.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

That’s really cool!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

Ya know, I have to give props to Last FM. They have a very simple and intuitive system. And its quite amazing how much you can find on it considering its basic services are free.

On another note, soundtracks seem hard to find on the music sites. Along with Billy Eliot, I couldn’t find the soundtracks to either Dancer in the Dark or Songcatcher. All three of those movies were very musically-oriented to say the least. I would imagine that the music sites would like to offer these soundtracks, but apparently they have a hard time making deals with the movie industry.

Going back to my previous comment, I did look around for sites that offered spoken word. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be anything similar to these music sites. The spoken audio sites seem to be where the music sites were years ago… maybe there just isn’t enough money in that industry to bring about innovation.