A couple weeks ago I talked about Jazz Radio stations across the country. Today I would like to talk about Internet Radio Stations. There are so many different ones, but I’d like to point out a few I listen to and the pros and cons with each one. I’ll begin with Spotify. Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services available. With million of songs in it’s library it has the best collection of playlists and albums around. On your desktop/ laptop Spotify is free. If you want listen to albums on Spotify from your mobile device you will need to upgrade to premium. Otherwise all you can do is listen to the radio aspect of Spotify on your phone. Premium cost 9.99 a month and is available on all devices. If you are a professional musician or a music student it’s hard to argue that there is a better service available. Mainly because with it’s large library you are more likely to find that obscure Charlie Parker tune or that Chopin etude using Spotify then you are using any other service.
Rdio is Spotify’s stiffest competition. Both provide essentially the same service. Rdio has a large amount of music available as well, but it’s just shy of the amount of songs Spotify has at it’s disposal. So if you purely just want the service with the most amount of music the winner is Spotify. However, in my opinion, I take Rdio over Spotify. The layout of Rdio is much cleaner, it’s easier to create and use your profile, and they offer a discount to college students for the premium service (5 dollars instead of 10). Similar to Spotify without premium Rdio is just a glorified Pandora on your mobile phone. So if you can afford it the 5 dollar fee I think is worth it. Overall I only found a few occasions where a song or album I was looking for was unavailable on Rdio. In those cases I would just check Spotify and if they had it I’d go there.
While the first two Internet Radio stations do have stations that stream music based on your interest I rarely used that feature. I go to Spotify and Rdio to listen to albums or specific songs. When I want to listen to a station based on my interests in a genre or artist I have two options, Pandora or JazzRadio.
Pandora is the most popular of all these stations, It’s also the oldest one around. Pandora essentially creates a station based on the artist or genre you ask it to. For example you can create a Charlie Parker station or a John Cage station. It also has default stations for all types of music. The service is free to use but comes with ads. Upgrading to premium will eliminate the ads and it only costs 3.99 a month. I use Pandora for discovery. I turn on a station and just get lost in the music. If any song catches my interest I bookmark it on the site and look up the artist or album later which is easy to do on Pandora.
JazzRadio I’ve have just recently started using and I love it so far. It has all types of Jazz genres and plays very similarly to Pandora. The main difference is this station is dedicated to purely Jazz music.I love the default stations and each station displays not only the song you are listening to but the last 3 songs that have been played on that station. The station is free but for 7.00 a month or 60 a year you can have the station ad free and a higher quality of sound. At 7.00 dollars I’m a bit hesitant at that price, but for jazz aficionados this is probably the best pure jazz site online so it might be worth it.
I use and enjoy all these Radio Stations and depending on your preference or need you will lean towards one or the other. Rdio and Spotify have huge catalogues of albums. While Pandora and JazzRadio have stations based on your genre or artist of interest. If I HAD to pick only two I’d choose Rdio and JazzRadio. Not to dismiss Spotify and Pandora, Spotify has the biggest library and if you are into other styles of music Pandora is essentially a must to listen to. So try them all out and if see which one suits you better. Or you can just do what I do and have all four stations on your phone and pick between them as you please. So with these four stations and the ones I mentioned in a earlier post you should never be musically bored. We live in marvelous times.