A guide to music online

How to listen to millions of songs over the internet – a guide to music online

by Jonathan Weinberg, Spring Chicken Technology Editor

In our last Spring Chicken technology piece, we touched on ways to get access to television programmes through the Internet, but what about music online? If you’re a music lover rather than a fan of the box, then you don’t need to miss out on your own favourite brand of entertainment, the offering of music online will amaze you.

Just as you can ‘stream’ all sorts of TV thanks to the internet, you can also press play on a vast library of tunes – from musicals to something more modern – with more available than you could ever wish to hear.

To get you started, here are 4 steps to tuning into music online – and radio – over the internet:

Step 1 – Sign up for a streaming service

When something like a TV show or song is played across the internet using your mobile phone, computer or tablet, it’s known as ‘streaming’. This has changed the music industry beyond all recognition. Where once you had to go to a shop to buy vinyl, tape or CD, it is now possible to download songs – for example, onto an iPod, for a one-off cost. But streaming services work differently giving you access to the biggest selection of music in the world at the touch of a button.

One of the best and easiest to use services is Spotify [https://www.spotify.com/uk/]. You can get started for free: just click the button on the homepage and sign up for an account.

If you are using an Android mobile or tablet, then Google’s Play Music service [play.google.com/music‎] is also a similar option for you.

Step 2 – Find something you want to listen to

Once you’ve got Spotify onto your computer and have opened it up, you’ll find it has one of the simplest interfaces to use. The key to it all is the search box, usually found in the top left corner. Just type in the name of one of your favourite artists and a list will pop up with suggested tracks and albums of theirs. Click on the one you fancy, press play and it’s easy listening from there on in.

Now the only drawback with the free Spotify service is your music flow will be interrupted by adverts between some songs. This is how they make their money to keep it free. But if you try the free service for a while and find you like it, you can upgrade to the premium service and pay a monthly subscription which will remove the adverts. You’ll soon find the hours flash past as you spend your afternoons constantly searching through the digital catalogue looking for albums you loved and songs that meant so much to you. But remember, you can only listen to Spotify when you are connected to the internet.

Step 3 – Buy music as a download

All mobile phones and tablets can store music tracks to their memory meaning you can take your favourite songs around with you to listen to all day long. This option gives you the opportunity to listen to your chosen songs without needing to be connected to the internet. But it’s also more costly, as you need to purchase each track or album you want to put into your digital collection.

If you have an iPhone or iPad or Mac computer then Apple’s iTunes is preinstalled and you can simply search for an artist, song or album and buy it. Your iTunes music can also then be accessed via a computer, giving you the option to listen to it easily at home, as well as when you are out. There are other services too. You can also buy songs and albums from Amazon. Just click on the Digital Music option in the menu.

Step 4 – Listen to internet radio from around the world

This is our last option but it’s the most fun. Using the internet you can search for and find radio stations from across the globe. So whether you want to hear soul from Seoul or jazz from New Orleans, then it is all at your fingertips.

The best service for this on the web, and through apps for your mobile and tablet, is called TuneIn [http://tunein.com/] Simply sign up for an account and you can search the entire directory. If you want something a bit closer to home then you’ll find access to local radio throughout Britain and there’s plenty of talk stations too if you like getting in on the news and the debate. In fact, there are more than 100,000 radio stations to flick through so you’ll never be short of audio enjoyment. Happy listening.

Have you got a tip or some advice for fellow Spring Chicken readers when it comes to easy internet listening? If so, let us know

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