Music streaming

The Verge’s Favorite Music Streaming Services

No matter what you do in your waking hours, work at home or away; getting around by car, train or walking from your bedroom to your living room; or spend your days watching the kids or looking for a job – you probably spend at least some of that time listening to music. But where do you find this music? And if you already have a site that you visit regularly, would you like to try something new?

There is a plethora of music streaming services now available for anyone who wants to listen and experience. Some offer free and paid subscription versions. Others are completely free.

We asked the staff to The edge to tell us about their favorite music streaming services. Some listen to big outlets like Apple Music, Spotify, or YouTube Music, while others have discovered lesser-known but interesting places.

Here is what they recommend.

Radio Dismuke
Image: Preservation of music from the 1900s

For some reason my partner and I became addicted to popular music from the early 20th century, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s. Over the past few years we have become familiar with the sounds of Cliff Edwards, Bessie Smith, Ruth Etting, Annette Hanshaw, Paul Whiteman, Cab Calloway and Ethel Waters. (Here she is, in one of her rare movie appearances, singing “Birmingham Bertha.”) So we spend a lot of time listening to Radio Dismuke, a little-known streaming service sponsored by Early 1900s Music Preservation, which gives us a diet. constant of pop and jazz from the beginning of the last century. —Barbara Krasnoff


Soma fm

Soma fm

Soma fm started life as a micro-power radio station in San Francisco in 1999, but took to the internet in 2000. It has been one of my favorite audio sources ever since. The site contains tons of stations of different genres. While working, I bounce between Groove Salad (ambient / downtempo), Secret Agent (think classic Bond meets modern sensibilities) and Drone Zone (very cold). In the early 2000s, Indie Pop Rocks was my secret weapon in finding new bands that my friends didn’t know yet. As the holidays approach, Soma’s vacation resorts will make your party twice as festive and half as cheesy. There are apps for this on all platforms, but if you use TuneIn for terrestrial radio, Soma’s stations are listed there as well. It’s all free, but if you use it a lot, find a way to participate a bit – after 20+ years of streaming, Soma deserves it. – Dieter Bohn


Youtube music

Youtube music

Most of my time on YouTube is not spent watching videos; it’s listening to music. YouTube Music is everything I wanted from Google Play Music, and more. Its music catalog is second to none, mainly thanks to users who download music that is otherwise not available on streaming services. It has recent hits and full albums if you want to use it like, say, Spotify, but it’s my destination for listening to older music downloads or obscure tracks, live performances, and soundtrack compilations. of video games. (For some reason I know the ghost ride soundtrack by heart, but I haven’t played the game much.) I’m always a little worried that my favorite playlist or the download of a hard-to-find album gets deleted from the list, but it can – being that rush that keeps me listening to it more often than any other music streaming service these days. –Cameron Faulkner


8 tracks

8 tracks

I’ll admit that I don’t listen to 8tracks regularly these days, but using it is a predictable way to trigger a whiff of nostalgia. The streaming service was launched in 2008 and allows users to download playlists of at least eight songs (or 8 tracks). You can search playlists by their tags (which can include artists, genre, or “mood”), but you can’t see the songlist in advance. They are revealed as you listen. You also only get three skips per playlist per hour. Forced Discovery has helped me find songs and artists that I would never have heard. 8tracks closed in December 2019, but was brought back to life by a new startup called BackBeat last April. All the playlists I created in high school are still intact, but they are very embarrassing – so I keep this username a secret. —Nicole Wetsman


KEXP

KEXP
Image: KEXP

KEXP, a Seattle-based public radio station, is my favorite radio station in the world. He mostly plays alternative and indie rock, but there are also weekly blocks with completely different genres like blues, Latin music, songs entirely from artists based in the Pacific Northwest, and my wife and I. especially enjoy reggae on Saturday mornings. We regularly stream the station to our kitchen speaker while dining or doing household chores. The music selection is always excellent, and it’s also a regular reminder of the city where we met and fell in love. –Jay peters


To Live

To Live

Like The edge’Resident Post Malone fan, I recently discovered Aux Live when a recording of his performance at PostyFest in 2019 was shown. My first intention was to only keep the subscription long enough to watch this concert, but I ended up really enjoying the service. Aux Live is a music-driven service with a range of concerts and live documentaries across a wide range of genres and legendary artists. It works both in the browser and through the app. It costs $ 4.99 per month, but that seems reasonable given the large number of artists featured in the service. —Kaitlin Hatton


Qobuz

Qobuz
Image: Qobuz

After I bought a portable DAC to listen to high resolution music on my phone, I was looking for a place where I can actually Listen to higher resolution music. I found Qobuz, which allows you to stream songs with up to 192kHz sample rate and 24-bit depth. You also have the option of purchasing songs or albums in high resolution and uploading them to the Qobuz store without having to subscribe to the service. Revisiting some of my favorite albums I was listening to back in my iPod days gave me a new appreciation for these recordings, and I ended up paying more attention to how they were mixed and mastered. —Andru Marino


Spotify

Spotify

Alright, alright, I’ll be the annoying member of staff recommending Spotify. Yes, other streaming services may offer better audio quality or better preservation, but Spotify has a nice user interface and compatibility with almost any streaming material on the market, and that’s really all my tastes. basic musical needs. And soon, with the launch of Spotify HiFi later this year, audio quality will get a big boost. It helps that I’ve been using Spotify for almost a decade at this point, so it has almost unlimited data on me to create custom playlists to suit my tastes. Their daily mixes are far from perfect, but they’re good enough that I use them regularly when I don’t care about picking a specific band to listen to. —Jon Porter


Apple Music

Apple Music
Photo: apple

I use Apple Music for a very specific reason: because it allows me to listen to music that not on Apple Music. Let me explain. A solid 10-15% of the music I listen to isn’t on Spotify or any streaming service. Whether it was something I did or a friend of mine did, a tear of a long forgotten song posted on YouTube or SoundCloud, an album too copyright infringing to be allowed on them. streaming services, or just music that’s on Bandcamp but not streaming services, I still want to have a good way to sync all the music I love across all devices – and Apple Music does a great job. I just drag something into the app formerly known as iTunes, and within moments, it shows up on my iPhone, syncs with my iPod, and can even be played through my HomePods. I’d write more about how much I love this aspect of Apple Music, but honestly I’m starting to sound like a boring hipster, even to myself. —Mitchell Clark


Live music archive

Live music archive

Did you know that you can listen to over 200,000 concerts in lossless audio quality for free? And I really mean free. The Live Music Archive, which is part of the Internet Archive, hosts a huge vault of live performances from a wide range of artists who have given their blessing for concerts to be exchanged among fans. Yes, there’s a ton of material from the Grateful Dead and jam bands, but the LMA also has hundreds of recordings of acts like the Drive-By Truckers, John Mayer, Elliott Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, and more. . Every once in a while I’ll start digging through the archives and land on a gem I’ve never heard of before. Most are publicly recorded shows, as commercial releases (naturally) are not allowed.

Now, Internet Archive is not exactly known for its intuitive navigation, and the Live Music Archive site can be very complicated to use. Fortunately, there are apps like this for iPhone or this one for Android that serve as easier to navigate portals for everything in Live Music Archive, with features like offline downloads. –Chris Welch


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