Music Streaming Services: An Overview

Today I want to share with you a terrific infograph that I’ve found, and which covers all the music streaming services in existence. Well, all minus Google Music. For some reason, whoever compiled this decided to omit it. But other than that, everything’s been included – Spotify, Pandora,,… there’s even a corner explaining how Facebook might become a force to be reckoned with sooner than most people think.

And just in case you ever wonder how much musicians are paid whenever you stream a song of theirs, then just jump to the end of the infograph.

Napster Is Back Again

You Read It Here First - Napster Is Coming Back From The Dead

I announced the return of MySpace just last week, and now I find that an even more emblematic service is trying to slip back into the public eye. I’m talking about Napster, one of the most widely-discussed P2P filesharing platforms ever.

“What do you mean ‘slip back into the public eye’? Wasn’t the service dead and gone for good?”, I hear you retort. To which I have to reply, “no, it wasn’t”.

You see, although Napster’s days as a filesharing service were over by July 2001 (when the service was forced to close down after a much-publicized legal dispute with the RIAA), the name “Napster” has changed owners a good couple of times. One of these was Roxio, which relaunched Napster as a 100% legal music service shortly after it was originally closed. It was all to no avail, and most people never noticed. To them, Napster sank from sight when it stopped being a place to get music for free. Period.

But Napster’s latest owners are intent on reclaiming some of the fire the service had on its P2P glory days.

Napster has just been acquired by Rhapsody for an undisclosed sum, and it is to be relaunched as an on-demand service letting users listen to all the music they want in exchange for a monthly subscription. Continue reading

Spotify Launches In The US

At Long Last, Spotify Arrives In The US

Many saw it coming, but it’s not any less impressive because of that: Spotify has officially launched in the US.

Of course, an American launch had been rumored from day one. But that was all it was – only a rumor. A streaming service like Spotify was not something record companies in America would welcome with arms wide open. And they never did, actually. What made yesterday’s launch possible was that Spotify slowly began limiting the access users have to music for free, and also signing agreements with all major American record companies restricting what can be streamed, and at which rate.

Spotify had to acquiesce for the simple reason that (notwithstanding its popularity) the company has been running on a loss almost from the beginning. Only 10 % of its estimated 10 million users are paid subscribers. Launching in the States is the only way to attain long-term sustainability.

The company aims to amass no less than 50 million users in the space of 1 year.

Spotify has a 15 million-strong music library (bigger than Pandora, MOG and Rdio to name three direct competitors), and unlike Pandora and Rdio it enables users to add these locally-stored tracks they own to their online collections.

What do you think? Will that be enough to make the European startup thrive on American soil? Or is it arriving too late for its own good to America? Are you signing up for it?

The Birth Of Facebook Music

Soon You Will Be Listening To Music On Facebook

Big news today as it has just been announced that the next F8 Conference will revolve around one thing: music. I’m sure someone at MySpace is having a heart attack right now…

The Internet has been abuzz with discussions concerning a possible Facebook and Spotify alliance, but Zuckerberg himself denied that. And most people (count me in) also saw such an alliance as unviable. But now it has been confirmed that Facebook and Spotify have indeed been discussing a joint service. And what’s even more interesting, Facebook has also been approaching other music service providers. If it’s not Spotify (again – I stand my previous ground), then it’s surely going to be an America-based startup. Which makes more sense, owing to the legal implications of streaming music online.

We can only try and guess which features Facebook music will have, but it’s fair to assume that a tab reading “Music” will be displayed on the left-hand side of the screen, right with your friends, groups and places, and that clicking on it will let you stream songs live from the one service that becomes Facebook’s music partner.

With Facebook being the most visited site on Earth, this can be the death knell not only for MySpace but also for services like Apple’s own Ping. We’ll have to wait until August to know more, as that is when the F8 Conference will be held and all these questions will be answered for good.

Fanity – Follow Your Favorite Artists


Name: Fanity

The day we realized that social sites were a context in which proximity with celebrities and musicians was almost guaranteed, then that was the day they began being on the map for most of us.

The problem is that by now just too much takes place on Facebook. You might “like” your favorite artist, and still miss on his updates. If you have more than 150 friends (the number of friends that ensures full interactions with everybody according to social media experts) then you take for granted that there are things you are going to miss.

Or will you? Meet Fanity, a web service for subscribing to news by your favorite artists, and have them displayed on a stream of their own.

Using Fanity will free you from having to filter your news feed manually. Just by becoming a fan of the artist in question you will have his latest news presented in such an unpolluted stream. Continue reading

MegaBox – A Familiar Service Now Goes The Musical Way


Name: MegaBox

Who hasn’t shared a file through MegaUpload at least once in his lifetime? The service is up there with RapidShare as one of the premier destinations for sending and receiving data. It is also a good platform for the streaming of clips, as any person who has ever tried MegaVideo can tell you. And now, it s also becoming a destination for those who want to listen to music on the WWW. MegaBox sees to that. It is a service that makes both for streaming music when you are online, and for buying it on the spot (a la iTunes).

What’s more, users of MegaBox are allowed to upload their entire music collections to the cloud, and listening to all their selections from wherever they are. So long for visiting YouTube in order to listen to that song which has somehow become nestled in your head overnight.

MegaBox has been released at the same time as MegaLive. That is a service for broadcasting what you are doing in real time using your webcam. By all reckonings, the Mega family is swelling ranks more than quickly… Will we see some illegitimate offspring along the way?

TuneCrank – Letting Independent & Unsigned Artists Spread Their Music

Name: TuneCrank

The meet-and-greet tradition upon which the music industry operates is a necessary evil… or is it? Websites like TuneCrank are here to bring that hegemony down.

In general terms, this site lets just anybody upload his tunes and have them streamed to whomever is willing to give them a good listen. The process is wholly free, and what TuneCrank aims to do is give just everybody a chance to be discovered, in a framework in which there are no favoritisms of any kind. On TuneCrank, all that matters is the quality of what you are uploading, not whose back you are scratching. Continue reading – Stream Full Albums For Free & Learn How Good They Really Are

Name: MusicLink

MusicLink is a free service for the streaming of full albums. Love the “California Gurls” single by Katy Perry, but wonder if “Teenage Dream” is any good? Can’t get enough of “Only by The Night” by Kings Of Leon and want to know if “Come Around Sundown” lives up to its predecessor? Well, MusicLink makes that easy. You just search for the concerned album, and once you have found it you can proceed to give it a good listen online. You won’t have to download anything. And you won’t have to sign up either.

Just in case you are wondering, MusicLink is as legal as a service of this nature can be because it is powered by Grooveshark. As you know, Grooveshark is a streaming service that was founded in 2006, and which caused the same controversy that sites like YouTube caused when they began gaining preeminence. Yet, Grooveshark has slowly been scoring licensing deals with many major labels such as EMI. Continue reading

iMusicTweet – Sharing Your Songs Through Twitter & Facebook Simultaneously


Name: iMusicTweet

I think we all will agree that sharing music using services like Facebook and Twitter is the most natural step in the evolution of the Social Web. After all, what good is connecting with everybody and telling them about what you do if you can’t show it to them at the same time?

The startup I am reviewing right now enables you do exactly that: spread both individual songs and full albums around, and the best thing might as well be that Twitter and Facebook alike are supported. The way it works is by letting you upload the song or playlist and having it played in your Twitter’s profile page, or streamed from your Facebook wall.

Best of all, you can make your songs both downloadable and embeddable. If you are looking for maximum exposure that is always useful, although I can’t help but wonder (and worry) a little about the copyright of what you are sharing when it is your own work what you are putting about. Continue reading

Spreaker – Social Radio Come True


Name: Spreaker

Not every person with thoughts to share about his favorite artists will sit down and tend to a blog or a personal site. The thing is, there are not really that many other options, and none I can think of is as accessible as blogging.

Well, that is set to change thanks to a startup like Spreaker. We can call it a social web radio service. The site will empower just anybody to create his own radio and broadcast whenever he feels like doing it. There are no fees of any kind to be met, as both royalties and bandwidth expenses are covered by Spreaker.

This means that you can host your own talk show and (for example) invite people from you local music scene that you are in good terms with. You can also create a show devoted to your favorite band and play its songs left, right and center. Hint: if you tune in and catch a radio that plays The Who indiscriminately you know who is behind it. Continue reading