Friday, August 15, 2008

Music at Your Computer

I work out of a home office, so there is no one for me to bother by playing music while I work. Commercial radio is not an option, as it's too corporate, too repetitive, and I only like about 1 out of 5 songs that get played on any individual station. Listening to music on your computer you really have two options - you can download songs, or you can stream music. With downloading you have the songs to transfer to mp3 players or cd, while with streaming you don't. Of course downloading (at least legal downloading) usually costs money. I do download songs, but when I'm sitting at my computer I usually listen to streaming music. There are two basic approaches to streaming: sites like www.last.fm where you choose music to add to your library, and then play that library (or you can listen to other users libraries); and sites such as www.live365.com where there are thousands of preset stations arranged by music, artist, or theme, each with their own library. The diversity of music on Live365 is astounding. Feel like listening to some neo-soul? Live365 has 42 stations of it. Japanese pop? A full 24 stations of it on Live365. Miss those old 1970's commercials for Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute? Check out the station called Mostly PanFlute. There is even a station playing the best porn soundtracks of the 1970's. Boom chicka wow-wow. Live365 gives you a "player" that allows you to browse stations, and also save your favorites using a standard radio "preset" button interface. My presets include "Buffy and Angel Radio MP3", which includes over 600 songs and pieces of music used in the Buffy the Vampire slayer and Angel TV series, and Zappa Radio, which is all Frank Zappa, all the time. If you can't find something you like on Live365, you're not trying very hard.

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