Sunday, July 12, 2009

Internet Radio

I didn't feel the need to use Internet radio. I had my Satellite Radio, after all. But then they stopped including it for free with your subscription, so I needed something else. I listen to music A LOT. I listen while on my computer, at work, walking around the house, running; so really the same ole, same ole iPod list was gettin' old too fast. Even with adding new music every now & then, it got old fast. I don't feel like paying for 20 -30 new songs every week. So, when I saw the listing of radio options that are piling up in the Blackberry apps list, I thought I'd give a few a try. Here's my summary, so far. (By the way, these are all available on the computer or your phone. And these are all FREE!

I tried Slacker Radio first. I like this one. You can select from one of the preset stations or create your own. As songs come on, you can tell it whether or not you like the song or the artist. You can block artists or songs or favorite them. It becomes intuitive and begins playing more songs you like. I had a lot of fun with this. You get to skip songs you don't like (but only 6 per hour per station, unless you upgrade to the pay version). It did a pretty good job of picking songs I liked. It was better when you selected a artist & go from there. When I started with a station (a genre), it was less accurate at picking good songs.
There was something funky with the sound every now & then. (I'm listening on a Blackberry Curve 8900 - could it be something with that? Perhaps this would not happen to you?) I tried different headphones to see if it was me. I'm not sure what it was - but that was the only glich that got me to look elsewhere.

Next, I tried Pandora. It has similar in features. But rather than choosing a station, it asks you to name an artist or song that you like - then it starts playing songs it thinks are similar. I couldn't believe it. From that moment on, it played song after song that I not only liked, but loved! Then after a while, I wanted to try another genre. So I entered another artist & again, it played song after song that I loved. The cool part is setting up different stations depending on your mood.
By the way, it also has the 6 skips per hour per station, like Slacker. But I found that I need to skip way less, since it picks such great songs. You can also bookmark songs. And there is no funky stuff going on with the sound, like with Slacker.

The other radio app I tinkered with was Flycast. This is an app that plays radio stations who stream their programming through the Internet. I was interested in this one for AM radio. There a few programs I like to listen to in the car. But for whatever reason (my geographical location, the amount of interference, etc.), I don't get the best AM reception driving through the small towns that I frequent. But I am able to get them trough Flycast crystal clear and again - free! Now I can listen in the car to the AM radio programs that I want using my phone. (the volume is great on the BB 8900, btw, with headphones or not.)
It has FM stations from all over too. But the AM feature is what I need & enjoy.

There are around 50 radio apps on the Blackberry apps list I use. There are far more online.
In fact, I've heard* alot of great things about this one:
Blip.fm (click here for more about how you can stream Blip.fm through your iphone or ipod touch - way cool!)

More:
Last.fm
Live365
Shoutcast

*thanks to Jeff Johnson for the link and info about blip.fm.

You choose what works best for you & have fun listening to the music you like.