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Streaming Music Services: Overview

Being a tech worker, I am at my desk a large portion of the day.  In order to retain some peace of mind, I listen to a lot of music during these times.  Quite a bit of music – hours and hours more than I can count.  To get that music to my speakers with minimal effort or wasted time, I frequently use several music services.

Grooveshark

Grooveshark is a website with what I consider one of the best examples of flash interface design.  Grooveshark is easy to use and search, and find what you want.

Link: grooveshark.com

Pros:

  • Easy to use and navigation
  • Looks great, and you can change your themes
  • Good selection of content

Cons:

  • “Radio” function is not great
  • Manual playlists are more or less necessary
  • Quality and seamlessness of playback are not constant

Playlist

Playlist.com became popular by allowing users to embed a playlist on any website, including their MySpace profiles.  It’s functionality is limited, in that it has no radio feature, but it is still useful

Link: playlist.com

Pros:

  • Simple.  Search and play or add to a list.
  • Good integration with social networking

Cons:

  • No radio function.  Requires manual playlists
  • Quality and seamlessness of playback are not constant
  • Content selection is mostly user-provided – links can break

Pandora

Pandora is the “biggest and baddest”  online radio service.  It is the most controlled, but provides the most “professional” experience, in my opinion.

Link: pandora.com

Pros:

  • Fantastic radio feature.  Uses complex algorithms to play music that you will like.
  • Wide selection – Create a radio station based on any band or song

Cons:

  • Extremely limited – You may only skip a few songs an hour
  • No play-on-demand.  You can only listen to radio stations
  • 40 hour per month limit – You have to pay for the premium service for unlimited listing.

Conclusion

I prefer Pandora.  As someone who works long days, I can’t spend time making playlists and switching songs every minute.  Grooveshark has potential, but it needs to improve the radio functionality substantially before it can replace Pandora.

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