Music Rewind

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Top 5 Music Discovery Online Radio

These are my favorite 5 online streaming radio for music discovery at the moment. If you’re looking to discover new music on the horizon but have no idea where to start, here are five choices to kick you off on your musical journey. These stations are chosen for streaming quality, music recommended choices, and most importantly, because they are FREE.

1. OurStage.com

URL: http://www.ourstage.com

OurStage.com was created primarily as a platform to launch unsigned and upcoming artists of all genres. With a tagline like “Where the stars of tomorrow get discovered”, the OurStage music engine generates song and artist recommendations based on your choice of genre. Clicking on each genre tab will lead you to a genre page with recommended artists and songs, as well as that delicious radio button that says “Play”. Music quality is top-notch and uninterrupted, a crucial factor for listeners like me who hate it when DJs disrupt your train of thought in between songs. User-generated content voting for songs and joining of fanclub pages help artists to identify their target market as well as general popularity of their songs.

A pop-up player allows you to listen to perfectly-streamed and uninterrupted music while you surf within the pages of the OurStage website. A brilliant idea.

MusicRewind Rating: 4.5 Thumbs-up

2. The Hype Machine

URL: http://hypem.com

A novel idea, The Hype Machine is a music discovery site that trawls the internet space for music blogged about on the blogosphere. With a strict set of guidelines on how they pick music blogs, Hype Machine recommends new songs, remixes, artists and bands on their homepage, but they go one step further by offering a monthly radio podcast (that you can stream live or download as a free MP3) of a set of their favourite picks and recommendations. The monthly HypeM podcasts includes DJ commentary as well as exclusive interviews with music bloggers and sometimes with the artists themselves.

An embedded music player at the bottom of the website allows you to seamlessly switch between song plays (very little lags), with awesome sound quality.

MusicRewind Rating: 4.0 Thumbs-up

3. TheSixtyOne

URL: http://www.thesixtyone.com

The brainchild of two music lovers, this streaming site is named after Highway 61, an American highway that is said to have deep roots and connections to America’s historical music culture, and has received strong support from organization Creative Commons as well as Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman.

Let me just say one thing upfront: This site is BEAUTIFUL. The homepage, which is aesthetically wonderful with creative use of button positioning, will blow your senses away if you are someone attracted to all-things new. However, if you’re a tried-and-true type of web user, then you might find this site navigation a tad challenging.

Music recommended are of high quality and great taste, and pre-selected playlists act as awesome radio channels for your discovery tastes.

MusicRewind Rating: 3.5 Thumbs-up

4. GrooveShark

URL: http://listen.grooveshark.com/

Grooveshark is free, beautiful, and awesome. You can also create up to an infinite number of playlists (I’m at 35 for the moment), and 99% of the songs you want are probably searchable on Grooveshark.

Bad news: the recommendation engine is not the most advanced at the moment. Songs recommended are trapped within the catalogs of only a few artists, ensuring that if you listen to N.E.R.D. you will be recommended Pharrell’s songs repeatedly.

Nevertheless, Grooveshark is an incredible library you can fall back on for songs you never want to forget. Think of it as a cloud-based source for all your favourite songs.

Second downside: it crashes once in awhile. If you have a big heart, forgive the developers and pray for recovery everytime it happens. GrooveShark is an indispensable friend.

MusicRewind Rating: 3.5 Thumbs-up

5. Slacker Radio

URL: http://www.slacker.com/

Launched in the USA in 2007, Slacker Radio opened its doors to Canadian fans earlier this year to little fanfare. Slacker Radio encourages creation of your own radio stations, supported by their recommendation engine. Slacker Radio tilts more towards the commercial side, and will satisfy your sudden craving for some Pop hits. What I personally love is Slacker’s Comedy radio channel, which is a wonderful way to discover past and new stand-up comedians via 1 minute clips.

Downside: It’s only free for 30 days, but the experience for that month is assured of quality and good music recommendations.

MusicRewind Rating: 3.5 Thumbs-up

15/11/2010 Posted by | Reviews/Recommendations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BlueBeat.com Gets Served

I’m sure you’ve heard by now the news of EMI suing BlueBeat.com, a Californian music download website, for offering unauthorised downloads and streaming of Beatles’ content. After being served the copyright infringement lawsuit by EMI, BlueBeat.com has come up with the most genius defense one can ever think of.

Their defense, or rather, the one they are rumored to respond to EMI with in court, is that they have literally deconstructed the original Beatles’ content track-by-track, and then rebuilt it up from scratch, like Lego bricks, if you will. Except, the finished Lego structure is virtually an exact replica of the original content.

While their defense will most probably never hold up against EMI’s lawyers in court, some believe it’s worth a try.

09/11/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reach for the SKY

SKY has launched a beta website for their brand-new music-subscription service which allows DRM-free song downloads and streaming for all UK and Irish music lovers. In case you’re wondering, the DRM-free songs offered are truly DRM-free, untethered as the day they were digitally born (or made, if you will). For a simple fee every month, subscribers get a certain number of DRM-free songs to download, as well as unlimited streaming of music on the Sky music website. So far, as usual, only the pro-digital Universal Music Group has jumped right in with the utmost of enthusiasm.

While Sky assures that there are ‘talks’ for other labels to come onboard, I can assure you that it’s not going to happen anytime soon. If Sony, Warner and EMI are not already laughing at UMG for their overzealousness for such digital projects, then they are definitely bidding their time, waiting in line to see if UMG’s throat gets cut first, and when. These three giant labels are more concerned about profits first, and not about paving the way to building new digital business models.

Or maybe they are actually concerned about the latter, but in any case, they still have naught to show for it.

As of 12 October 2009, all four major labels have come onboard with offerings from their catalogue, making SKY a true model of the new digital music business. Wonderful news!

Sky, a self-proclaimed ‘communications’ corporation, has implemented a sleek look for their beta music site, which can be found here. Simple, elegant, and easy to use, Songs.Sky.Com has all the offerings from UMG’s huge catalogue, which consists of jazz great classics from the VERVE and ECM catalogues, hip-hop gems from the Def Jam catalogue, and of course chart-topping hits from pop and rock acts like the Black Eyed Peas, the soon-defunct Pussycat Dolls, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, Pixie Lott, Snow Patrol, Hoobastank, Keane and much more.

Mike Darcey, COO of BSkyB, sums it up, “We aim to offer an easy and affordable service for all UK music fans, while ensuring that artists are properly rewarded for their creativity.” While it has yet to be proven that digital profits from such straight-to-the-label tie-ups will blow through the roof anytime soon, it is heartening to see that a certain digital music business model is taking shape all over the world. To sum it up:

The All-New Digital Music Business Model
  • Unlimited Music Streaming for up to max. 30sec
  • Unlimited Tethered Downloads
  • Limited DRM-free (untethered) Downloads
  • Nice, softly-priced Subscription Fee (it can take any form other than a straight-up music subscription fee)
  • Easy-to-use Website
  • Easy-to-download at the click of a mouse
  • No hassle, no contracts

And there you have it: the new digital music business model of the 21st-century:

skyhomepage
SKY Songs Homepage

29/10/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment