A guide to lesser-known music streaming sites

Headphones and keyboard, concept of digital music

Not everyone can afford to go to the movies on a weekly basis or have access to television channels from which to watch the newest shows. To curb the influx of illegal downloads many large entertainment production and distribution companies have set up sites that give everyone with Internet access the opportunity to see their favourite television shows, movies and music around about the same time that they are screened or released.

These streaming or viewing sites can best be described as sites that constantly send data over the Internet to end-users. Thus one can listen to a song on a particular site before all of the data has been sent because it is constantly being delivered. One of the earliest examples of streaming media was elevator music and today Internet television is becoming popular.

Even though you may not have thought of it as such, Youtube and Vimeo are two of the most well-known streaming sites. But there are so many others available out there, some free to use while others involve payment plans. Everyone knows about the major music streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify and Last.fm. So we’ve decided to take a look at some of the lesser-known music and Internet radio streaming sites available:

This Is My Jam (http://www.thisismyjam.com)

This site is effective because of its simplicity. You create an account and simply choose one song that you have had on repeat to showcase to other users. That one song then becomes “your jam” for seven days and you (as well as other users) can listen to it as much as you want. After those seven days you can choose to keep the jam or change it for another one.

One of the great things about the site is the fact that you do not need to be a member to listen to user selections. They are displayed on the site’s homepage for you to listen to. If you do decide to become a member you will receive recommendations of users that have similar music tastes to your own, thus helping you to find music you will like but have not discovered yet.

If you want, you can use it as an app through the This Is My Jam Spotify app (Spotify is a highly popular music streaming site but unfortunately not available outside of the US) or export your playlists as a Spotify playlist.

8tracks (http://www.8tracks.com)

This is another simple site that will give you access to music that you may not have heard before. There is no need for sign up but you are welcome to do so. You simply choose what genre of music you want to listen to (i.e. rock or classical) and then what type of mood the music must be (should it be upbeat or calming). A list of songs will then be shown to you and you can listen to these all you want. Or alternatively just explore the many users creating their own lists and then latest lists that have been uploaded.

8tracks is not created by the use of algorhytms but by the users themselves. Members of this site create their own “mixtapes” with personalized descriptions, song titles, song albums and cover art that others can then listen to based on their mood. It is completely free and available all over the world. This is also a great platform for DJs to showcase their talents.

Sky.fm (http://www.sky.fm)

Sky FM is an Internet radio site that is not associated with the Sky News. Simply log on to the above web address and then select the station that you prefer. Some of the channels they have include 90s hits, dance, hip hop, R&B, pop and Bollywood. There are more than 60 channels so there is one for every type of music taste.

The great thing about using Sky FM is the fact that you when you choose to listen to a particular channel, it opens up an small, inconspicious box that you can hide away without having to keep the large tab for the site open. From that box you can change the volume as well as change the channel you are listening to.

There is no signing up needed for the use of this site but this means that there are occasional interruptions such as ads (they are few and far between, however). If you do not like this, you can sign up for a premium account which gives you ad-free listening time and the audio is somewhat better.

Similar: Last.fm (http://www.last.fm)

Hype Machine (http://www.hypem.com)

There are many music blogs out there and many bloggers publish music on their blogs with links to (sometimes) free and legal downloads. But there is no way that one can get to all of them every day to find new music or links. Hype Machine delivers all the music blog picks to one place where you can listen to them free of charge and there are links posted as to where it was found and where you can download the tune.

There is an app download available for both Android and iPhone. The site also presents lists of the most popular songs on the site as well as featuring unreleased albums and the most favourited blogs by users. There is also a section where you can see what other people are listening to to make it even easier to discover previously unheard-of bands.

Noon Pacific (http://www.noonpacific.com)

Noon Pacific is a music streaming site with a difference. Every week you get an e-mail from the Noon Pacific organizers with a “mixtape” of songs. These are not necessarily songs that were chosen based on any characteristics of your taste in music but rather songs and bands that were discovered by others through blogs and recommendations that they think the world should know about.

This site is a great place to discover music that is not well-known or on the verge of breaking out. It might fall into your taste or it may not but there will always be something there that can peak your interest. When you want to listen to the songs in the “mixtape” it will take you to their music streaming site. You can also listen to previous “mixtapes” on their site for free to see if you like their usual selections.

Stereo Mood (http://www.stereomood.com)

Your mood differs from day-to-day and therefore what you listen to will differ from daily as well. This streaming site offers you the question “I feel…” and then you choose your mood (such as “I feel happy” or “I feel sleepy”). Your playlist will then depend on the mood you have chosen.

The music very often consists of more independent artists than your radio-friendly regulars but the selections are so well-suited that you will find something that you love – maybe even an entire playlist. The mood lists are created by users who upload a song and then tag it with a particular mood. This means lots of diversity and finds that are unusual.

Other sites that you can look into: Exfm (http://www.ex.fm) and Grooveshark (http://www.grooveshark.com)