If you feel like your hundreds of gigabytes of music in your music library is not enough, or if you just want to find out about music so your niece will think you’re cool, we’ve got a list of apps that will expand your musical horizon.
Pandora Radio (Free) – One of the longest running streaming radio services, Pandora’s official app is a great way to discover music you never thought you would like. The innovative “Music Genome Project” creates playlists based on what you “like” and “don’t like” and what you want more or less of. You may hear a song by Johnny Cash followed with a song by Shaggy and the sound that links them together is the “deep, resonating vocals.” Create a station based on a band or song and Pandora does the rest. You can listen all you want for free, but for $36 per year or $3.99 per month, you can remove those pesky advertisements.
Spotify (Free) – This may be the most popular music service around. It is available in various places around the world. What makes Spotify unique is the ability to listen to entire albums on demand and the social networking nature of the service. You can send playlists to friends and see what they are listening too. You can share your music updates through Facebook. You can only listen to Spotify Radio on the iPad for free, but for the Premium subscription of $9.99 per month, you can get unlimited use of the service, including downloading albums for offline listening. Chances are, most of your friends already have Spotify, so you won’t be alone when listening to the newest album by Katy Perry.
Songza (Free) – Sometimes, you don’t know what you want to listen to, but you know you are in a certain mood. Songza will create a playlist for you based on what you are in the mood for. The service utilizes playlists created by hand by music fans and experts who build groups of songs for certain activities. Are you studying for an exam or working out? Check out what the Songza “Concierge” has to offer. You can listen to playlists for certain activities, or check out brand new music from various genres. If you know what type of music you’re in the mood for, like Indie Rock, you can listen to songs that are being blogged about or music that is recommended by working deejays. Whatever you don’t know what you are looking for, find it with Songza.
iHeartRadio for iPad (Free) – You know you’ve listened to it in the car on your way to work. Flipping through the channels, you hear a song from you past and suddenly, iHeartRadio is your new favorite broadcast station. You’re not alone. The digitally programed radio station is broadcast across more than a thousand channels around the US. The iPad app lets you access any and all of them. You can browse by genre and location and find what is happening in your town, or create a custom station by picking from more than 14 million songs and letting the app develop a playlist based on it. You can also fine tune your preferences with the Discovery Tuner.
Slacker Radio (Free) – This is my personal favorite streaming music service. The iPad app is laid out well. The song and album selection is fantastic. If you subscribe to the Premium service for $9.99, you can do almost anything with your music. This is practically the same as Spotify. Both services are amazing, but each does it a little differently. For example, Spotify lets you listen to albums on-demand with your free subscription, but Slacker requires at least the $3.99 “Plus” account. The reason I prefer slacker is the way albums are presented by their original release date instead of a new re-issue date. I know it is nit picking, but that’s what makes it better to me.
Rdio (Free) – This digital music service focuses heavily on the social networking aspect. Users can discover what their friends are into, meet people with similar music taste, and listen to someone else’s playlist in real time. Basically, listening to Rdio is like listening to mix tape that people are virtually passing around at parties. To access free music, anytime anywhere, purchase Rdio Unlimited for $9.99 per month, which includes mobile access as well as full integration on your desktop or laptop computer. Each additional subscription reduces the overall cost for up to three subscriptions for only $22.99.