• Sundeep Bhatia

Everything you ever wanted to Know about Audio streaming but were afraid to ask

The way that we consume music is changing beyond all recognition. Up until the Internet age the emphasis was on owning physical products whether they were LPs,CDs or Tapes. We all listened to a handful of local or national radio stations. In recent years many of us have grown accustomed to downloading sound files from sites ,such as Apples iTunes Store or Google play. However the emphasis here is still on physically possessing sound files. With the advent of Spotify,and similar sites,another way of consuming music has originated which does not involve owning physical music. Instead we either use our computers or smartphones to access websites or applications which give us access to music of every description. In some cases we pay for access. In other cases there are free sites and applications often supported by adverts. Radio still exists but has changed beyond all recognition. It is now possible to access radio stations from around the world playing every conceivable musical genre. I am filled with wonder at this emerging technology and have been reviewing some of the applications and websites available to give beginners an idea of what is out there.

SPOTIFY Spotify has three categories of membership. One is free and has adverts. One offers unlimited access without adverts. Premium membership offers unlimited higher quality streaming on all devices for £10 a month. Spotify is astonishing.The range of music on offer is encyclopedic. There is a delight in compiling playlists online. The Premium sound quality is very good . On 11th December Spotify announced that,for the first time it would provide a free limited service on both tablets and smartphones. If you can put up with the ads then the free option is a good way to go. However the sound quality is inferior to that of the premium service. Moreover ,on smartphones ,you cannot choose the precise track you want to listen to. Spotify’s free service is a good way to sample new music.

DEEZER The sound quality is as good as Spotify and there is just as much choice. I have only sampled this on its mobile app. The user interface is not as friendly as Spotify and it is harder to search for new music.

BLINKBOX This is Tesco’s music streaming service. It is completely free. You start by selecting an artist or genre that you like. Blinkbox then creates a Radio station based around the artist or genre you have chosen. Sound quality is reasonable and the app is easy to use. There are a few adverts between the music but this is a worthwhile app.

BLOOMFM This works in a similar way to Blinkbox.It produces an eclectic choice of similar tunes to broaden the musical palette. I liked it. You can use the free version to stream or can borrow 20 tunes for a £1 a month. You can keep exchanging tunes throughout the month. Sound quality is good

QOBUZ This is a new player in the UK.Its unique selling point is that its premium service allows you to stream music at better than CD quality .However that option comes at a price of £20 per month.

TUNE IN PRO My preferred option for selecting internet radio stations. You can easily select the location,language,genre and stream quality of the stations you listen to. Streams are stable and the app is a pleasure to use.

GOOGLE MUSIC This makes life very convenient and,unlike its itune counterpart,Match,is free. If you set up an account then this will store a copy of up to 20,000 songs on your computer in the cloud so that you can access it from any digital device anywhere (provided you have wifi). Sound quality is reasonable.

There is a world of legal free music to listen to out there! Enjoy!

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