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6 Ways to Listen to Music Online (Without Spending a Dime)

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The following post is from Lauren Rothlisberger of Get Me Geeky:

6 Ways to Listen to Music {Without Spending a Dime} at
source: Stephane

Music is woven in our everyday life; it feeds the soul. It can set the tone of our entire household. Whether we are cleaning, doing quiet work, or prepping for a 35 person BBQ, the music lines the room with energy.

On February 7th it was 50th anniversary of the British invasion. The Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan show. I love the Beatles. Through my parents they (and many other bands) made a great impact on my music taste. I asked my Mom recently, “How did you discover new music when you were a teenager?”. She explained that they would all watch the Ed Sullivan Show and head down to their local record shop to buy the new records.

So with 50 years past, it got me thinking how much the music industry has changed. Really how much our access has changed. This is not news obviously. I started thinking about how I listen to music, and how my kids in turn are being exposed to it. Music used to be a narrow path controlled by the record companies and radio stations. Now we have the opportunity to blaze our on path through personal exploration.

Depending on the amount of control you want to have (or not have) you can use several of the site/apps below. These apps can help you discover new music or let you settle into one of your favorite old albums and reminisce about a different time and place.

Some of these you may already be familiar with, while others are not as common, but all offer some pretty awesome features.


Ok, this is clearly not a new discovery unless you have been living under a rock. iTunes not only is a store to purchase music, and a tool to manage it all, but now it is also a way to listen to music without spending a dime. For that you can tap into iTunes radio.
iTunes comes with a couple other fun features. You can play your music through your TV using Apple TV. You can also share with anyone else on your network using “Home Sharing”. Any music purchased through iTunes have a digital right managed lock on it. This is an attempt to limit music pirating. Some people like to buy Amazon MP3s which are not locked and then import then into iTunes.

Pro: This is music you own.
Con: The iTunes 11 upgrade was not well received and continues to confuse users.


Next up is Pandora. This was one of the first internet radio sites on the scene. I still have a special place in my heart for Pandora. You create a station based off a particular artist or genre. For example, I can put in “Mumford and Sons” or “Workout Pop”, and Pandora will play music based off that request. This is still a “go to” for me.

Pro: Good way to discover new music. When you put in an artist Pandora uses an algorithm to pick the next artists.
Con: The field of play can be narrow.


Songza is a event, mood, location based playlist. It doesn’t just create a list based of a certain artist, but instead tries to invoke a certain mood. Let’s say you sign onto Songza on a Saturday night. You will get options like “Dinner Party with Friends”, “Date Night”, or “Family Game Night”.

Pro: Great to use when you have friends over and want a more unique mixture of music.
Con: Sometimes it can go down a rabbit hole of stuff you don’t like or have never heard of.

“Internet radio created by people, not algorithms.” That is their tagline. 8tracks is the mixtape of today. A pretty direct dig at Pandora, they are claiming their playlists are more genuine and real. Choose a theme or genre a discover playlists put together by real people.

Pro: It is nice to have people behind the project. It feels a little more real.
Con: Music is def a personal preference, so it depends on how much you have in common with the person behind the list.


At first I didn’t “get” Spotify. I thought it was just another place to listen to playlists. It turns out Spotify is amazing. Unlike many other sites you can listen to an entire album. I realized awhile ago that one thing I missed about buying CDs with the full album is discovering those B side songs that were full of soul, but just not right for the radio.

Pro: It is easy to listen to newly released music, especially the whole album.
Con: You have to pay for the premium account to use it on the iPhone. It is free to use on your computer.


Grooveshark is a little bit of everything above PLUS, you can broadcast your own music. If you are into discovering really new music, or you are a budding artist yourself this is the place to be. Also if you are set on becoming a part of the music industry check out Soundcloud.

Pro: What a great way to get yourself out there.
Con: With artists able to broadcast themselves, you could run into music you are not crazy about.

How about you? What is your favorite way to channel music into your life?

Lauren Rothlisberger blogs and consults over at Get Me Geeky. As a military wife and mom of three girls five years old and under, she loves focusing on technology and productivity and finding new ways to simplify her life. She recently started putting together MacMinis, which are easy to follow videos for Mac users, and also wrote an ebook, Evernote for Moms.