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Thread: Streaming Audio

  1. #1
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    Default Streaming Audio

    What is your favorite streaming audio platform to listen to music, news, talk, podcasts or anything else? Do you prefer free audio platforms (usually ad supported) or paid subscription platforms (such as Apple Music and Spotify)?

    The biggies in the industry seem to be:

    Spotify - lots of music and albums to stream +social component. Free + subscription optional.

    Pandora - music of all genres in a radio format. Free or subscription.

    Apple Music - paid music streaming.

    Amazon Prime / Amazon Music - paid streaming, commercial free. Lots of music. Added perks with Prime.

    Google Play Music - subscription or free music streaming + free music storage for up to 50,000 of your MP3/AAC files to their servers.

    Stitcher - Free Podcasts, music, online radio + premium content.

    iHeart Radio - Free radio and music streaming + recently launched paid tier. They also have podcasts.

    TunedIn Radio - Radio & music streaming, worldwide stations. Free and paid tiers.

    Accuradio - Genre based music streaming.

    LastFM - Music streaming, music, "scrobbling" free + paid premium tier.

    8Tracks - Custom music playlists you build. Was mostly free but now mostly subscription based.

    The61 - Lots of indie music here but not so sure if the platform is highly used as it was once before. They reverted back to their old design last year or so.

    Audible - Audio books and other non-music content. Subscription only.

    Most of the streaming services can be accessed through websites, Android and iOS devices, and OTT devices such as Roku and Apple TV.

    I've tried all of them and use several in addition to listening to content the old fashioned way - MP3s/AAC through iTunes/iPod + computer devices... and the old standbys... CDs, vinyl records and tape.

    I'm sure I also missed a few mainly because I haven't tried them.

    What is your preferred method of streaming audio if you do at all?

    For totally cost free alternative there is always traditional AM / FM radio.

    I would put links in all of the above but I am sure we are all smart enough to know where to find these.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    I use free iHeart and TunedIn for radio only (e.g., sports, Hawaiian music and public radio stations) on my Apple Air and Android phones.

    I've got a much-listened-to collection of oldies and am not into more-recent music.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    Man, I have severely mixed feelings about streaming services. On one hand, I love having access to the enormous libraries these services offer. On the other, if I'm going to have access to all this great content, I want to have some control over how I get to listen to it, which means paying for the premium service. I don't mind this so much, except that I don't like renting music. I want to own my music, because who knows what things are going to look like later? If I pay ten bucks a month for renting the music, in ten years I'll have paid $1,200 and have nothing to show for it.

    You know how much music you can own for $1,200 if you shop the cut-out bins? A lot.

    Ten bucks a month isn't much, if you listen to a ton of music and if you think of it more as $2.50 per week not to listen to commercials and to be able to listen to whatever you want whenever you want. This is how I try to look at it. I still purchase a good deal of music, but not nearly as much as I used to, since now I don't have to take chances the way I used to. I can listen to a whole album before deciding I need to have it in my collection, and most of the time, I don't.

    There are bands I want to support, no matter how good or bad their work is. So when Mastodon's new album comes out at the end of March, I won't be bothering with previewing it. I've already got the CD on order. There's a new album by Opeth that I haven't listened to on Spotify yet because I know I'm eventually going to buy that CD anyway.

    And there are several musicans I really like who either take pre-orders in order to fund their next albums or crowd-fund their albums, and I'm a big believe in this kind of support.

    So yeah. I pay for Spotify, mostly because when I decided to take the plunge, it had the biggest library (Apple Music wasn't yet a thing). So far, it's been great, and I don't have many complaints, but if I didn't have a limitless data plan for my smartphone, I'm not sure it would be worth the price to me. I also chose Spotify because it Last.FM scrobbles my songs, something Apple Music also does.

    I have Amazon Prime, but I seldom use the streaming music service because pretty much everything I need is on Spotify, and because I can't scrobble my Amazon listens.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    Forgot to add Tidal to the list of streaming services. It's owned by a company partially owned by Jay-Z, and offers the usual $10/month premium plan and a $20/month "HiFi" plan, which has streaming lossless (FLAC and ALAC) formats. I'm not sure I buy that it's truly lossless and I haven't tried it out, but if lossless music were that important to me (and sometimes it is), I'll buy the CDs. Oh, and the higher price also translates to higher royalties for the artists.

    I also subscribe to Major League Baseball's MLB at Bat service. I pay $20 per season for access to all official MLB games' audio feeds. I can listen to any game as it's being played, and I can choose whether I want to listen to the home team's broadcast of the game or the visiting team's broadcast. This is important if you have a favorite team and prefer to listen to its team, which is always more knowledgable about your team than the other broadcasts. I don't think this is quite what Mel had in mind with the original post, but hey. It is streaming audio.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    Man, I have severely mixed feelings about streaming services. On one hand, I love having access to the enormous libraries these services offer. On the other, if I'm going to have access to all this great content, I want to have some control over how I get to listen to it, which means paying for the premium service. I don't mind this so much, except that I don't like renting music. I want to own my music, because who knows what things are going to look like later? If I pay ten bucks a month for renting the music, in ten years I'll have paid $1,200 and have nothing to show for it.
    I hear you on the mixed feelings. I like streaming music but not enough to pay for it. If I pay, I rather buy the record, CD or at the very least the MP3. I feel more secure with CDs and records since they are physical. MP3s I constantly worry about my hard drive crashing... Because of that I am constantly making back up copies to other drives / media as well as uploading to the Google Play Music cloud.

    As for control, I guess that is why I continue to use iTunes or make playlists on my Google Play Music service. Nice thing about Google Play Music they let you upload/back-up 50,000 music files to it. You can play it back in a stream or download it back to your computer or device. And it is all FREE with no commercials in the stream.... Plus you can create your own playlists.

    Google Play Music also allows free access to their other music channels so you can listen to content you don't own in radio station like formats. No custom playlists, includes commercials... but hey, it's free. If I chose to pay I guess I could get it all commercial free.

    Still in the streaming world of audio there is a ton of free music out there. I use most of the major ones and several obscure ones. As long as it is free I will use it. My current favorite free music streamer is Accuradio where they have all kinds of music broken down in genres. Rock, alternative, current hits, rap, oldies, jazz..... you name it.. the usual suspects with sub-categories within each. Never run out of music to listen to with Accuradio. They do have commercials like about 1 per hour of each listening block. Small price to pay for free.

    I also like iHeartRadio and TunedInRadio mainly for streaming specific radio stations or their custom mixes... and yes, audio streaming means more than just music.... I listen to streaming podcasts, news and talk radio stations and once in a while sports. All free from either iHeartRadio or TunedIn.

    So yeah. I pay for Spotify, mostly because when I decided to take the plunge, it had the biggest library
    Spotify is good in its free incarnation for me. If I want to check out a specific album I'll listen to it once on Spotify to see if I like it. Of course with free you get bombarded with commercials, but hey... I tolerate them to a degree.

    If I went back to any pay streaming service, the one I will get again is Amazon Prime. Yes, their music library for Prime is like only 2 million songs last I heard... but it is good enough for me especially when most of the records I stream from there are titles and artists I already own. Plus even without Prime, CDs that I have bought through Amazon are sold with Amazon Rip which means you get an MP3 album of what you bought to stream back o their service or download to your computer without having to rip the CD yourself.

    Another reason why I like Amazon Prime is that you also get streaming video movies and TV which most of the other services don't have. Plus on top of that free shipping to most things you order from Amazon and a host of other features such as cloud storage and photos storage, which I don't use all that much since I prefer Google. Amazon Prime is currently $99 year. They have a monthly plan and a larger monthly music plan with more song selections; can't remember how much.

    As I already mentioned streaming audio can be more than just music to include news, talk, and sports + podcasts. I like Stitcher for the podcasts they have and some streaming radio stations too. iHeart and TunedIn also offer podcasts.

    All three offer some free sports broadcast audio streams such as ESPN Radio. Some local radio stations will broadcast all games of whatever their home teams are... again for free.

    So the bottom line for me as far as streaming goes, FREE is what I like the best. If I buy music I rather own vs. rent.
    Last edited by mel; March 18th, 2017 at 04:25 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    A streamer that most people don't associate much with audio is YouTube where there are a ton of music and spoken word content uploaded all for free streaming.

    So like on YouTube I can listen to entire albums that I have not gotten in digital format... like Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Tarkus" for example. Just go to YouTube and type in the name of your favorite music artist, album or song. It is highly likely that someone uploaded it there for audio playback.

    I think audio playback of YouTube music content has become so popular that there are now apps for Android (and I assume iOS) that allow you to just get the audio streams without the video. Haven't tried them myself.

    Another source for free streams are radio station websites. Hawaii Public Radio streams both stations from their website as well as from other services such as Tuned In. Many stations have their own mobile apps for live streaming. HPR is one of them. Free.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    Quote Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
    I also subscribe to Major League Baseball's MLB at Bat service. I pay $20 per season for access to all official MLB games' audio feeds. I can listen to any game as it's being played, and I can choose whether I want to listen to the home team's broadcast of the game or the visiting team's broadcast.
    $20 for a season's worth is not bad if it also includes the All Star Game, playoffs and World Series. Sounds perfect for the baseball fan.

    However if you like follow only one team maybe it is better just to find that team's hometown radio station and see if it streams for free. The MLB site has links to each team's schedule with several showing local TV and radio broadcast affiliates.

    For example The Chicago Cubs games are carried by a local station at 670 AM... That station streams for free on Tuned-In Radio. It seems like all of their games will broadcast on 670 AM.

    So I guess what I am saying here if you want to follow only one or two teams going the free route may be more prudent than paying for all of the broadcasts.

    The nice thing I've always liked about radio sports besides being free is if you go to the game you can follow along with your radio or these days with your data enabled phone.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    From time to time I would listen to WCTG a station located in Chincoteague, Virginia.

    They tend to play music from the 1980's and 1990's. Sometimes their local ads is kind of catchy.

    The station is on-line at: http://965ctg.com/

    As far as local stations maybe I would listen to KUMU-FM or during the summer months the NOAA station.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    My favorite local station to stream is KNWB B97/B93 FM from Hilo/Kona... a good classic rock format with live DJs on most of the day. They updated their app and also stream on Tuned-In.

    On another note, HowToGeek reports on "The Best Streaming Music Services for Any Type of Listener": Their picks - Pandora, Spotify, Google and Tidal for different listeners/reasons.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    Quote Originally Posted by mel View Post
    My favorite local station to stream is KNWB B97/B93 FM from Hilo/Kona... a good classic rock format with live DJs on most of the day. They updated their app and also stream on Tuned-In.


    Thank you for this recommendation. Like it !!

    For some time, I've enjoyed listening to KAPA on Simple Radio, too.
    Born in Hawaii, too - Truss me

  11. #11

    Default Re: Streaming Audio

    checked it out and it started off nice with Behind Blue Eyes, hadn't heard that on radio since the '70s, then the DJ came booming on and it was commercial time. I thot that went out with the '80s.

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