By Melissa Lindley
As a music aficionado and technology addict, combining the two in some fashion is for myself, a guaranteed time-waster and a way to find a new musical obsession. With the Internet’s ability to make everything accessible, it is not surprising that at your fingertips are thousands of unheard artists, new websites and programs that make it possible to have unlimited access to all kinds of music. Perhaps you have heard of some of these sites through friends and are too lazy to explore, or maybe you are looking for new ways to broaden your musical taste. Either way, check out a few of these and open yourself up to a whole new way to enjoy music.
This probably isn’t unheard of if you live on iTunes, but it’s a really awesome feature anyway. If you are registered with an iTunes Store account, the store will collect information on your iTunes library (songs, artists, genres). Once the data is collected, it gets uploaded to a section of the iTunes store and suggests music that is similar to what you already listen to, or artists that have an affiliation with a certain group or artist. For example, if you are a fan of The Gin Blossoms (remember them?), a possible suggestion might include The Counting Crows, who come from the same era and have a similar sound to The Gin Blossoms. You might also get suggestions for artists that you might not know about, and Genius directs you to the page where you can sample some of their music.
Looked at by many as an online radio station, it certainly could be considered one. What makes Pandora so unique is that you not only pick a theme for your playlist, but you can skip over the songs selected by the program if you don’t like them. You create a playlist based on a musician, genre, or band, and then songs that are related to the band or person you selected are played solely for that playlist. The option to “thumbs down” something you don’t like is a convenient feature, because it guarantees that whatever you didn’t like wouldn’t be put into rotation. When selecting music, the site takes into consideration over 400 factors about what should be played, such as rhythm and key. Most recently, applications have been made available for smartphones so you can access your account anywhere.
The most unique thing about Spotify is the fact that you can share everything you like and are listening to. Recently, a feature was added where you can exclusively share everything you play on Facebook and other social networking sites, allowing your friends to have access to what you’ve been listening to. The downloadable software offers over 15 million songs from both major and independent record labels. You can also import all of your music from iTunes onto your account and link playlists with a last.fm account as well. The software also allows you to drag a song or playlist anywhere, allowing it to be shared wherever you please. With all of the abilities to share, it exposes music to an enormous audience all over the Internet.