Listen on the move with the best music streaming sites
One of the most exciting things about our home technologies today is that we can keep large digital libraries that traditionally needed hard copies.Instead of stacks of books, photo albums, CDs and movies taking up space at home, we can keep copies of all these files on our computers, phones and tablets to enjoy on the move.
The way we listen to music has been evolving for years, from records to cassette tapes to compact discs and now mp3 files, technology has made it easier to access the songs and musicians we love wherever we are. While purchasing music to download onto an mp3 player or iPod is still very popular, many people are moving away from this model in favour of streaming services instead. These services make it possible to listen to music directly from the internet and create playlists of all your favourite songs without having to pay for each album or song individually.
What is music streaming?
Music streaming is a fairly new development, and has only begun to get popular in the last few years, so don’t be intimidated if you aren’t quite sure what streaming means. Faster, more reliable broadband speeds have made it possible for the Internet to show data in real time. So, instead of downloading a file that will live on your computer, your song or video is data that is streamed directly from a server, and then “decoded” using a music or video player. This resembles the way information passes to your television using a cable or satellite signal and is then decoded to present a picture on your screen.
If you have used YouTube to see a video or the BBC’s iPlayer to watch an episode of a show you missed for example, you have already relied on a streaming service to watch the content you love. Music streaming sites work in exactly the same way, except they are primarily used for songs, audio books and radio programmes rather than films or television shows.
Finding the best streaming sites and services
As you get started, some streaming sites will ask you to download a player in order to listen to the music, while others will have one built into their website so all you need to do is visit the page and press play. To listen to music, you may be asked to create an account. Most platforms offer both free and paid upgrade services, so you can get a feel for whether it’s for you before committing to an ongoing subscription. Three of the most popular streaming services include:
- BBC iPlayer Radio – BBC iPlayer Radio is the place to go if you want to catch up on your favourite programmes across all the BBC radio stations. It’s free to use and you can browse, learn and listen all from the website or by downloading the iPlayer Radio app for your smartphone. In addition to the iPlayer, the BBC has also launched a brand new service, Playlister, where you can find any of the songs featured on any BBC radio programme, listen to them, and create your own playlists to keep the songs you like all in one place.
- Spotify – Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming sites in the world, and boasts an incredible catalogue of music of more than 20 million songs. You can sign up for a free account and download the Spotify player to your desktop, or the app to your smartphone or tablet. You can listen to a certain number of hours of music for free each month, and if you find yourself regularly going beyond that, you can sign up for one of their monthly subscription options that offers access to unlimited music streaming without ads.
- Deezer – Similar to Spotify, Deezer offers a huge catalogue of music you can browse and stream when you sign up for a free account. Paid subscription options help work around the number of tracks you can “skip” in an hour, and this service also has a number of radio stations and pre-made playlists you can choose from if you just want to tune in and go.
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