It’s your good friend and confidante Grant Cushman with another installment of Tech Tuesday. So, travel season is winding down and it’s time for everyone to crawl back into whatever hole you came out of so that you can read applications for the better part of six months. To honor this exciting time of the cycle, I would like to share with all of you the music services that I use to drown out the silence while reading. Like all things in life, each of these services has its own pros and cons which I hope to elucidate on throughout the blog.
Starting off with the one that probably everyone knows: Spotify has become the staple for streaming music (legally). Present in either a desktop or web-based client, Spotify allows users to create their own playlists using a gigantic music library or to connect Spotify with their Facebook (so they can see what all of their friends are grooving to). While it doesn’t have every song in the world, you’re pretty much set if you are a big top-40 buff or if you like pretty much anything that is played on the radio or television. There is a ‘radio’ function that is similar to Pandora–in that it allows you to discover music based on a song or artist–but it’s not quite as intuitive as its predecessor and will often times play songs completely out of a genre.
Stipulations: Spotify will play intermittent ads between songs in order to pay for the licenses for all the music. You can opt for the subscription service (10 bucks a month, which is an absolute steal) that removes ads and gets you access to the smart phone app for music on the go.
Songza is an incredibly unique program that takes form in either a web-based (songza.com) or smart phone app. Like Pandora (but better), Songza lets you choose songs based on a huge variety of factors. However, its main ‘shtick’ would be its music concierge service, which will choose a playlist based on how you’re feeling:
Stipulations: Like a lot of these services you can only skip so many songs before the licensing agreements will stop you. However, after that you can just choose another playlist and keep rocking.
(Hey look, it says Tuesday Morning. TOTALLY didn’t write this blog today.)
8tracks is another service that I use incredibly frequently during reading season which, like Songza, is present in a web-based (8tracks.com) or smart phone app. 8tracks is basically a site where any user can create and upload a playlist based on a series of tags. Those playlists are then voted on and the top playlists are displayed more prominently. Somewhat similar to Songza, 8tracks allows you to choose your playlists based on ‘tags,’ a la:
Stipulations: Same as Songza. 8tracks limits the amount of skips you have. Just change playlists, you bozos.
And last, but not least, is the app that I use most frequently during reading season: Turntable.fm. This is probably the most unique out of all the services I have talked about in this blog so far. What turntable does that makes it stand out is allow for its users to create themed ‘rooms’ that can be anything from ‘Hard Rock’ to ‘Ambient Trip Hop.’ The room then has a series of rotating DJs that will play songs based on the theme. Anyone can be a DJ and the more that people like your song, the more points you get. However, if the majority of the room doesn’t like the song, it skips and the next DJ gets to play a song. Points, like a lot of things in life, are mostly arbitrary.
The reason I like this service so much is because users are forced, through a kind of social contract, to play good music. If a user plays a bad or overplayed track, then they are downvoted and skipped. All of these other services don’t have that human element to it and that’s why this service is generally my go-to while reading (I hang out in Chillout Mixer, if you want to come say hi!).
Stipulations: You can’t force a skip; you either have to change rooms or wait for the song to change.
And that’s it… I know a lot of you LOVE Pandora and will swear by it and give it your first born; but, if I have to listen to Lonely Boy by Black Keys on literally every single station I have ever created, I swear I will throw this computer out the window.
Honorable mentions: Google Play, Soundcloud.