Music Streaming Options in a Linux World

I have been a avid buyer and listener of music for many years, starting with vinyl through CD’s and now using streaming services. I started with Lastfm several years ago and used it on and off since with an increase in use the past couple of years and because I value this service so I subscribe. However, recent changes which have slowly been creeping in with some functions disappearing I have been wondering just what is happening to it and if it is actually going to stay. The reason for this, is that many people in other countries have lost the service ‘due to licencing’. I am actually thinking there is more to it such as lack of funding because there is now a culture that says that music should be free. I personalty believe in paying for music, either by subscription or putting up with advertising. I still like to buy music either on vinyl, CD or downloads because this supports the bands to allow them to make more music (and life?).

I have found many excellent bands using streaming services such as Lastfm and now spotify as well as podcasts. So what options are there?

For now I am sticking to Lastfm because I like the service it provides but the reliability with radio content not always there or just plain not working…so what are the alternatives?

I have been trying other streaming services recently. The first I tried was, I tried this site 3 or 4 years ago just after it started but everything about it has gone quiet for quite sometime but it is still going. It is OK but I haven’t found it to be what I wanted so the search continued.

Next was, I pretty much liked this site but found it a pain to change the radio everytime I signed in due to the bookmark….I actually found it a pain to keep changing stuff everytime I logged in and it didn’t keep my preferred radio very well.

Next up was Deezer which I tried a few weeks ago, again it was alright but again didn’t fit the bill but (and I may be wrong), its a young site but one to watch. The reason is that it just didn’t play the music that I wanted all the time with stuff creeping in that I didn’t want or like. More skips than any where before.

Then, yesterday I tried Grooveshark, I think I may have tried this before but the website design put me off. I was pleasantly pleased with this site and may stick with them on and off. They played what I wanted and it was easy to use. Also, it is possible to scrobble to lastfm so I can keep that going.

The site that has impressed me the most this week in testing has been Spotify. The reason is that the last time I tried them setting up the player on a linux system was a pain for two reasons. The first was that to use the free option with adverts was to use the windows player with wine and didn’t work very well at all….to many extra bits to install just to listen to music for the restricted time. Secondly, at the time there was also a linux app but only if you subscribed and I wasn’t going to subscribe to use an app that was in Alpha! So I didn’t bother for some time…till yesterday. The linux app is now more Beta than anything and can be used by none subscribers. I found it installs easy on my Linux Mint set up (Fedora machine not available) and works really well. You can also easily add ‘apps’ to add other functions, such as which works fine. It is possible that I may subscribe to the service at some point but streaming on my phone cann’t be trusted and unreliable at present….a requirement because I work away and its not worth £10 a month if I’m not going to use it a lot. It appears that Spotify as a lot to offer and I only touched the surface when I checked it out. Watch this space, so they say.

When it comes to my own music, I use google music which arrived in the UK late last year. Its OK but the app is rather large for phones with restricted memory and requires wifi or reliable phone signal. Its appears to be a good way to back up your digital music but I haven’t had time to fully investigate/research this service.

So what other alternatives are there?

In the US there is Pandora but its not available in Europe and other places without much mucking about with proxies which I cann’t be bothered with.

So what do you use? I welcome other suggestions via the comment box. It would be nice to list all the choices in one location so you don’t have to search forums etc.



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