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Top 8 Free Music Websites

by The Happy Rock on April 22, 2009

music-free-internet-sitesThe world of free online music has changed quite a bit from the early days of bulletin boards and Napster. Now, there are so many unique and useful free music services and web sites streaming music that it can spin your head. Most of them are legal or at least not illegal at this point.

I did my best to sort through the tidal wave of music services to provide a unique blend of the best free music services.

  1. Pandora – My personal favorite.  You create a station by requesting a particular artist and Pandora attempts to play music on that ‘station’ that is similar using a huge database of properties.  You can thumbs up and thumbs down songs to tailor the station to play exactly the type of music you want.   The one drawback is that to keep it legal you can’t rewind or replay a song; you have to wait until the station plays it again.  Pandora has now put a 40 hour a month limitation on free listening.  Slacker Radio is a site that is almost identical to Pandora in how it works, although the song selection and recommendations are little different.  I have been listening to Slacker more of late as it gives me a different selections of songs for the same genre.  It is a nice alternative to Pandora.
  2. Grooveshark – Peer to peer music service.  Grooveshark connects you with music hosted by other people who have already purchased the rights to the music.   Just search for the song you want and hit play.  It is really as easy and perfect as it sounds.  This is my go to site when want to listen to a specific song.   You don’t even need an account to play songs.
  3. Blip.fm – This one has been referred to as the ‘Twitter for Music’.  You create an account and become a social DJ.  You search for the song you want and you can play it and/or Blip it.  Blip it means adding a short twitter like message and recommending it to your ‘listeners’. Others can subscribe to your ‘feed’ and play the songs that you recommend.  Check out Trent Reznor’s Blip page for a good example.
  4. Sky.fm – Free streaming radio stations.  They have a large range of music categories and huge collection of electronic dance stations.  Sky.fm was my reintroduction to free online music, but I have since moved on to Pandora.
  5. MySpace Music – Search and play site similar to Grooveshark, and they do also have videos available to watch.  They have a larger selection of music too.
  6. TheSixtyOne – Unique Digg like service that allows the user to vote up the best music.  After a quick listen I realized that most of the music on this site is non mainstream and unique.  Great for someone who wants to find great music that is off the beaten path.
  7. Last.fm – Offers a service that is similar to Pandora, Grooveshark, and Blip all in one place.  The only problem for me is that I never really got the site interface.  I am happy with the offerings at other sites so I never really got into Last.fm.
  8. Jamendo – Free listening and downloads.  Jamendo allows budding new artists to share their music with new listeners.  I figured I better throw in a service that lets you download free music to round off the list.  Most of the sites that offer ‘free’ downloads get closed down pretty quickly.   Bearshare is still ‘legal’, but that requires you to download software to get access to the music so it doesn’t quite fit on the list.

Hope you enjoy trying out some of these great services.  My favorites are Pandora and Grooveshark.

Feel free to share any other sites or experiences that you think are worthy of a mention in the comments section.

[Updated: 3/10/2011]

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

the weakonomist April 22, 2009 at 7:22 am

Yes, Pandora is also my top choice. I even have it on my iPhone. The only problem I’ve ever had with it is many times I don’t like the artists they pick from the algorithm. Example, I like Eminem, but not 50 Cent. It’s taken a lot of thumb downs to get rid of him from that station.

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jasmor@ Myrtle Beach Real Estate April 22, 2009 at 8:49 am

nice lists

although i love the way some online radio stations work.

skeemer or tunecup lead the way in online music
downloading service.

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Mortgage Calculator Man April 22, 2009 at 10:49 am

First time visitor! But I’ll be back. Nice posts.

I love Pandora. I haven’t heard of several of the others but I’m going to have to give them all a spin and see how they stack up.

Thanks for the info!

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Ben April 22, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Hey, thanks for including us (Grooveshark) in this post! We’re insanely flattered to be included on this list! Just a quick FYI: Grooveshark used to be all P2P, where users would get compensated for sharing their tunes. But recently (the last year or so), we’ve focused just on getting music people want right to their ears.

Basically, instead of messy uploading/downloading, just think of any song you want and listen to it right there in the browser. Pandora on steroids?

Anyway, thanks again for the mention! As a small bunch, it really means a lot to us–you rock. If there’s absolutely anything I can do to help out, please please pretty-please ping me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/grooveshark

<3
ben+grooveshark

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Kenneth Sena April 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm

cool list out here. i think the sky.fm is best for me. like to search on radio stations. (www.kika.ca)

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Frugal Tips April 22, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Pandora is my favorite also. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never heard of the other 7.

I am Russian, so I often listen to Moskva.fm – free Russian radio with lots of options. But it is all in Russian, so if you don’t speak the language, it will be useless:-)

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The Happy Rock April 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

@Weakonomist – Maybe it has been so long that I don’t remember thumbing down a ton of songs, but all my stations are all now trained unless I let the station run for a hours then it might throw in an odd song or two.

@jasmor – Thanks for the other two sites.

@MCM – Thanks for stopping by, hopefully you find something you like.

@Ben – Thanks for the Grooveshark comment. It is interesting to know that it isn’t peer to peer anymore, does that mean you have to pay a per song royalty like Pandora?

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MoneyEnergy April 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Great to see thesixtyone on here, I love it. I tried blip.fm, but it’s a bit awkward. I’ll have to check out the others, thanks alot for the list.

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Brinkman April 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

No http://www.Slacker.com. Crazy. They rock. They have tons of stations plus you can make your own. Plus they have iPhone apps. BlackBerry too.

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The Happy Rock April 24, 2009 at 9:55 am

@MoneyEnergy – SixtyOne is interesting, although blip.fm’s uniqueness is what is intriguing. Especially interesting is to see what others, especially friends or celebs are playing.

@Brinkman – Thanks for the Slacker recomendation.

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The Happy Rock April 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

@Brinkman – Slacker is very much like pandora. I did notice that they have Comedy stations which I think is just brilliant. Listening to some Bill Cosby comedy as we speak.

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SOAD April 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm

i like pandora to, but VKMUSIC (russian program) is my favourite

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MusicReviews April 28, 2009 at 3:28 am

Very good information! It’s good to have a list with all these websites! Thanks!

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Jonathan@Friends&Money November 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

In the UK i use spotify, which I love soooo much. You can share your favourite albums through facebook, so it’s a great way to find out what friends and family are listening to.

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