One of the most frustrating things about finding new music is the cost of purchasing new songs or albums. An album in iTunes can cost around $10, and songs purchased individually can cost over $1 each. Recently I began to question why I was even buying music, especially when it is increasingly difficult to transfer music purchased on iTunes to new computers and devices. Instead of continuing to purchase music, I started exploring the alternate option of subscribing to music discovery services like Rhapsody or Grooveshark. These services allow users to listen to music that’s in the cloud, so there is no need to download songs or sync devices. There’s also Rdio and Pandora, but these services offer slightly less music and options than Rhapsody or Grooveshark.
Rhapsody is my favorite of the two options, as Rhapsody also offers an app available for the iPhone. (Unfortunately, Grooveshark only works on jailbroken iPhones.) With Rhapsody, users only have to pay $9.99 for access a single device (or $14.99 for up to three devices) to listen to any song of their choice from Rhapsody’s catalog of over 12 million songs. This music is accessible not only on your computers but also most smartphones, including iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry phones. Music on Rhapsody is easy to manage via the Rhapsody application for the desktop, and with it you can create playlists that automatically sync to your smartphone.
Another great music subscription service is Grooveshark, which is free and offers a Web-based interface; this makes it easier to listen to music when not at home or the office — such as at a friend’s house. Grooveshark is available for most mobile phones as well, except for iPhones that have not been jailbroken. While it is more accessible and cheaper than Rhapsody, the lack of apps for iPhone users makes it a slightly less desirable option than Rhapsody.
For those who still can’t live without their own personal music collection but would like similar access to their music in the cloud, LockerGnome writer Angelo Carosio suggests Subsonic, which allows you to set up a server on your home computer from which you can stream music anywhere — including on an iPhone. Subsonic is a great option if you have a fast Internet connection at home and a computer that you can leave on all the time. With minimal setup, you can have a music server on your PC or Mac, and then access your music with a great interface anywhere you have an Internet connection. There are apps for Subsonic on iOS and Android, and iSub, Angelo’s personal favorite, even includes a tablet-optimized interface for you iPad users.
What is your favorite way to listen to music in the cloud? Let us know in the comments.