With the controversial news that Spotify is to cut back access to their catalogue of free tunes, we thought it was a good opportunity to celebrate some alternative sites where you can go for all your streaming needs.
1. Although Grooveshark sounds like the name of a range of an awful 90s surfy clothing line, it’s pretty special. It’s courted its fair share of controversy because all the music is uploaded by users not record companies (hello ‘legal issues’). But this is good news for music fans, because it means that their the catalogue is exhaustive (Stats alert: they stream 50-60 million songs a month to 5 million users). And, as a massive bonus, you can also access some rare, out of print stuff (which you’d never be able to find on Spotify).
2. We7 is perhaps the most like Spotify in terms of allowing you to listen exactly what you want, when you want. Plus you don’t have to register and you can create your own playlists by queuing up tracks from their rather big catalogue (3 million and counting). Another advantage is that because it’s used within your browser, you don’t need to download any extra software to use their player. But like Spotify, you have to endure quite a lot of ads to get to the good stuff which can be annoying.
3. Mflow is pretty good too although it’s not, as some people have called it, ”iTunes meets Twitter”. Yes the social networking aspects are kind of fun (they attempt to marry your online music purchases with all things Facebook and Twitter) but for me it’s more about the streaming, which is pretty decent. While they don’t have as many tracks available as Spotify, they have a very nice ‘new releases’ section (we clocked newish albums by Katy B and Low on a recent perusal).
4. Deezer is a fairly random French site. 'Random' because some key artists either have a rum selection of albums to choose from (Lou Reed's 'Lou Reed Live' anyone?) or are reduced to terrible ‘tributes to’/ 'sung in the style of..'compilations in lieu of original tracks (David Bowie, Kate Bush). However, they do have a pretty good back catalogue of indie and, um, Serge Gainsbourg to choose from.
5. Everyone loves The Hype Machine, right? OK it's not a streaming site per se, but provided you're searching for something fairly new, you can listen to whole new albums. I typed in TV On The Radio and got to stream to pretty much all the songs from ‘Nine Types Of Light’.
6. Jelli’s been hailed part of a new, online radio experience. It’s been likened to a multiplayer video game, which seems a bit much but it’s pretty good. After you sign up, you get to tune into the genre of your choice and then other listeners can vote what tracks make the playlist. If you don’t want to participate, you can just search for the tracks and artists you want. And you'll probably find what you're looking for, as their database is pretty vast.
Spotify limits free access - weren't they supposed to be the good guys?