The Best Ways to Listen to Music Online

By Joseph Endler

Graphic by Ben Waitches-Eubanks ’17

Catlin Gabel, Portland Oregon

Originally Published here


“I mostly listen to music on Spotify, and I do not pay for the upgraded account,” commented Dennis Christman, an Upper School librarian. This is a common sentiment at Catlin Gabel and beyond, as people want access to music, but without having to pay to listen.

Buying music used to be simple. People would go to a store, buy a CD, and play it on a personal CD player or computer. But as times have changed, the way people listen to music has changed too. There are now many ways to listen to music and a majority of them are now online. But which is the best? Here is a rundown of all the major sites where you can listen to music online.

Pandora offers listeners a wide variety of music, based on personal interest. It allows listeners to create “music stations” based on artists they like. On the website there is a bar titled Create Station. After typing in an artist’s name, the radio is instantly created based on their music genre.
However, there are some downsides to Pandora. There is no way to manually choose which song you want to listen to. This means that all the music you listen to is randomly chosen for you based on the music genre selected. Because of this, a user has to shuffle the channel to find a specific song. Nonetheless, listening to a specific artist or genre of music is made easy with Pandora. It’s fast, free, and has the free edition has few ads. Furthermore, if users purchase the premium version of Pandora, the ads disappear.

iTunes is probably the best known music listening device on the Internet. Although it costs money, it is the easiest way to get the music you desire immediately. Any song or album can be purchased as soon as it comes out, or you can even pre-order. A recent expansion of iTunes is iTunes Radio. It is very similar to Pandora because of its free use for all iTunes users, but you can not manually search songs. The site offers radio stations based on your iTunes purchases.

Grooveshark is a music listening device that allows you to manually search for songs and albums. However, there are a couple negative aspects of Grooveshark. For one, it is fairly complicated to figure out, in comparison with other sites. For instance, it can be difficult to create a list of songs to listen to because of the confusing set-up of the application. It also can be hard to change which song you are listening to on the spot. The site sometimes takes a long time, or glitches, when you want to change songs. It is frustrating to try to listen to a song when the system malfunctions frequently. Although this does not happen very often, it is still a factor to consider. All in all, this is an decent site, and the fact that you can manually search for songs and albums you want to listen too makes up for the various malfunctions the site may have.

Spotify is like a mix of all of the sites that I have already mentioned. It recommends music for you based on what you listen to, like iTunes radio. It lets you search for songs and albums like Grooveshark and also create radio stations like Pandora. There is really not much wrong with this site. The only downside noticeable is that in order to start listening, it is mandatory to create an account. But even this problem is fairly simple to fix, since setting up an account is easy and can be connected to your Facebook. However, a negative factor of Spotify are the frequent advertisements. Unless you pay to upgrade your account, you will sometimes be forced to listen to advertisements between songs.

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (

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