Now that Last.fm will start charging for its online radio service – except for the United States, United Kingdom and Germany – maybe it’s time to move on to other alternative online services that can also help you discover new bands and new music styles. To be honest, I think the €3 monthly fee is reasonable if you compare it to what you obtain in exchange: your favorite music anytime, anywhere. But I can also understand people being upset about having to pay for something that has always been free.
Whether you plan to keep on using Last.fm or not, here’s a list of 10 online services you can use to listen to music and discover new bands and styles. I’m not sure that any of them have all the powerful social features and the widely varied music catalog you can find on Last.fm, but in any case, it’s always nice to have a few different choices when it comes to listen to some good tunes while browsing the web.
- Grooveshark – Beautifully designed website that lets you search for and listen to your favorite artists and songs. You can also build playlists, meet other people with the same musical taste and even upload music from your PC.
- Pandora – An excellent service, similar to Last.fm: listen to music based on your own tastes and let the system recommend new bands and styles based on those tastes and your feedback. Sadly, it’s only available in the US.
- RadioBlogClub – A website with clean, simple design that lets you create custom playlists and stream them on your personal website or blog with an embeddable player. Playlists can also be shared on popular social sites.
- Live365 – A simple yet functional website that offers you access to more than 6,000 radio stations, created and run by its own users and covering pretty much all the music genres you can think of. The player is a bit too ad-ridden though.
- Slacker – This service lets you create custom music stations starting with either any of Slacker’s presets or a personal list of artists. These stations are continuously evolving based on your feedback. Like Pandora, it’s only available in the US.
- Deezer – This website is mostly dedicated to radio hits: you can listen to radio top charts from France, United Kingdom and the US, besides creating your own playlists or choosing any of the Deezer theme radios and artist-based smart radios.
- RadioBeta – A very original online service that lets you discover new music based on genre or geographic location. This last option can help you discover great music styles you never heard of, from countries like Senegal, South Korea or Brazil.
- Musicovery – Another original music service: pick some genres you like, select the decade and then click on the appropriate mood to obtain a selection of suitable songs. Too bad you can’t even skip songs if you’re not a Premium member.
- Jango -This website lets you create personal stations with your favorite artists and similar bands. Other than that, it doesn’t really offer any value-added services, and it’s constantly showing nagging windows to encourage you to register.
- Spotify – Though not really a web service, Spotify couldn’t be left out of this list. A sleek, lightweight desktop player that connects you to a huge online database and lets you listen to music and create playlists.