In an generation where both music technology and interest in music are growing exponentially, audio streaming websites, programs, and interfaces have taken over and enabled fans to take control of how they listen to music. With this many options, it may be hard to choose just one; but HBT is here to help you figure out which one (or ones, I use 3) may be best for you.
Account needed?: Yes
Cost: Free, or $9.99/month
Since its introduction to the music world in 2006 and after its opening to the US in 2011, Spotify has grown to be a serious competitor to other music interfaces. With both free and premium account options, Spotify requires users to make an account; but Spotify provides unlimited access to the music world to users with a premium account. Spotify users can create playlists, view and follow other public playlists in the “Browse” tab, make radio stations based on genre, artist, song, album, etc. (similar to Pandora Radio), link to social media and follow their friends, and find almost any song from the 20+ million available on the interface to add to their song library. Whereas iTunes users pay between $0.99-$1.29 per song, Spotify users have unabridged access to all music with a premium account. Although $9.99/month (USD) may seem steep for a premium account, if you save 8-10 new songs per month to your library, Spotify is a much cheaper, and a very well rounded alternative to buying songs on iTunes.
Account needed?: No
Cost: Free, some paid subscriptions available
For the songs that you cannot find on other, more conventional streaming interfaces, SoundCloud is your absolute go-to. Originally known as the MySpace music platform, SoundCloud was created to enable artists to share their music and interact more directly with their audiences, as users can comment directly on the audio tracks. With a free account, SoundCloud users have unlimited access to all available music, and can upload up to 3 hours of their own audio to their profiles. Account holders can search for, listen to, like, and repost music, and create/search for playlists throughout the SoundCloud world. Since SoundCloud allows users to upload their own audio, much of the music on this platform tends to be remixes and covers in addition to the original song, making SoundCloud a great place to find more unconventional edits (especially good EDM remixes) of popular or mainstream songs; but, this also makes SoundCloud a great modem to find new, unique music from all different artists and genres.
Origin: Based in Denver, Colorado
Account needed?: No, but recommended
For a music streaming experience centralized in EDM, Beatport may be your end goal. Although Beatport is primarily music streaming, the SFX Entertainment Company introduces a “community vibe”, in which you can see an artist’s upcoming shows, information about a certain track along with similar songs to that one, charts of popular and new songs, and various ways to explore the music collection (genre, artist, playlist, etc.). Without an account, users can stream music and search for tracks, artists, and labels. But, with free account, users can buy songs to download as MP3s and follow various artists and labels to find out when they release new tracks. By downloading Beatport Pro, the user gains access to an iTunes or Spotify-like interface, in which they can manage their own music library with the songs they have purchased from the Beatport store. Despite having more expensive songs than iTunes, Beatport’s EDM focus is perfect for anyone looking to build a dance music library and a deeper knowledge of the EDM culture.
Origin: Montreal, Canada
Account needed?: Yes
Wavo.me allows users to browse music, create playlists, and upload, share, and organize content from third-party websites, such as YouTube or SoundCloud. Users can search for music through the site by looking at charts for Electronic, Rock, Urban, Popular, and Country music, and by browsing “mood” categories. Wavo.me is linked with relevant social media platforms, as users can sign in with Facebook and share tracks to both Twitter and Facebook. Like SoundCloud, Wavo.me users can “republish” and “heart” songs to save them to their profile, create playlists, and comment on songs. Users can also contribute songs to existing group, from the previously mentioned third-party sites, or original content. However, unlike many of the other streaming websites, Wavo.me boasts its efforts to help artists connect, book shows, sign recording deals, and gain millions of new fans. While Wavo.me may be low on the radar right now, it definitely is worth looking into for a collaborative, all around music experience.