Music Streaming Services


 There's lots of choices out there.

Millions of people are listening to music via a streaming service. And, there are plenty of choices available. Spotify and Apple are the most popular, but Amazon and Google are contenders too. And now, an early music streaming pioneer is making their move to get back in the game.

Kris Wouk of Digital Trends reports that Pandora is making a change to their newly introduced premium service. The new Pandora Premium costs users $10 per month - but the user response was not quite what Pandora had hoped for. So, they are making some changes. Now anyone can take advantage of Pandora's premium service - for free. What's the catch? You need to watch a 15-second ad before the music kicks in. But, once you've done that, you can listen for as long as you want and it's ad-free, unless you decide to search for something different. Searching for a new song, album, or artist will require you to view another 15-second ad.

Supporting Web Links

Discussion Questions/Activities
  1. Poll the class to see which music streaming services they use. Do they subscribe to a service or just use the free versions? Do they use more than one service? If so, why?
  2. Divide the class into small groups and ask each group to select one of the music streaming services to research. Groups should explore all aspects of the service. Is there a free version? A paid version? How extensive is the song library? Are there ads on the site? Are some popular music choices absent from the site? If so, why? Groups should answer these questions, as well as any others that may arise. Each groups should create a presentation to share their findings with the class. At the completion of the presentations, compare and contrast the various services. Is their a service that seems clearly superior to the others? If so, why?
  3. As an individual project, ask students to locate and explore a smaller, less popular streaming site. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a site? Students should write a brief synopsis of their findings.

Comments

  1. Emily Clinton
    1. I have occasionally checked out other music streaming websites but the only one I've used consistently is the free version of Pandora (and now I take advantage of the paid version after watching the 15 second video). Pandora is very simple to use and aesthetically pleasing. This streaming service also makes great band/song choices for their stations. I have noticed a few times that the station will display the wrong name while a song is playing. That's not a major deal breaker for me though. I also really like that the lyrics are almost always displayed under the album artwork.
    2. I chose to research Jango. There is only a free version. After listening to several stations, I believe that it does have quite an extensive library of music. There is one small space for an ad under the album artwork or picture of the artist. I listened to three different rock stations (New Hard Rock Albums, Classic Metal Hits, and 80's Rock & Hair Metal). This streaming service seems to focus on lesser known bands. The only station that played music I recognized was the 80's Rock & Hair Metal station so it would seem some of the more popular bands are missing, at least from those stations. When liking (or banning) a song, you have to click either the thumbs up or thumbs down and then confirm the choice. Pandora and Slacker Radio simplifies that you merely just clicking the thumbs up or thumbs down. Jango does offer you a selection of similar music stations to what you're currently listening to as well as letting you see the recent stations that you've used. If you create an account, there are some options for seeing your favorite songs. You can also check out which songs you've ban from playing. Jango allows the user to control if explicit songs play which is a feature I didn't notice on other sites. Pandora automatically plays the edited version of songs. Searching for other stations or specific music seems very easy on this site. It's pretty similar to Pandora in that regard. Under the song name (that is playing), there is an option to play the video. It's a link to the YouTube video of the song but it will play without leaving the Jango site. I honestly didn't (wouldn't) use this feature very often or even more likely, I wouldn't use it at all. This streaming site (at least for me) did seem to lag quite a bit compared to Pandora and Slacker Radio.
    3. I looked up Slacker Radio for the smaller streaming service. This site is a little too busy for my tastes. The site's homepage seemed clutter with station choices. However, the few stations that I tried did play great songs and offered a wide variety of each genre per station. I really enjoyed that you could choose to ban a specific song or even completely ban an artist. Slacker Radio does offer the option to search for a specific band and then create a station around that band; however, the search feature was not extremely obvious (compared to Pandora or even Jango). This site gives a limited number of free skips per station. The number of skips is displayed clearly at the bottom next to which song is playing. I really liked that aspect. In between songs, there were small audio clips. Some of the clips were ads for various products/services and some of these clips were a radio personality or even a few musicians speaking about different things. They introduced the next song typically. Once it was a musician speaking about a time he accidentally met Chris Cornell. One of Soundgarden's songs played after that story. Slacker Radio seemed to play more ads than Pandora does which is a major disadvantage. I also really didn't care for the speaking parts in between songs. One of the biggest reasons I listen to internet radio as opposed to traditional radio stations is to get away from radio personalities. I want to just listen to music.

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  2. I have tried Pandora on my phone and really enjoyed it. But I downloaded I heart and it had a lot of interrupted songs and advertisements.

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