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Back to Basics:

Popular Music Websites Hit the Right Note

No matter how you like to listen, there's a service composed just for you

Now's a great time to be a music lover, with so many options available to listen to your old favorites and discover new ones. The number of online services can be overwhelming, however, so we've curated a list of some of the best. Time to put on your headphones and give some of them a try.

Spotify
(spotify.com)
This popular music streaming service allows you to create unlimited playlists and works on a variety of devices. You can access it through a desktop application or a mobile app. It enables you to share music with friends and access other people's playlists. Listen for free or sign up for the paid version to lose the ads and get other perks.

Pandora
(pandora.com)
Pandora allows you to choose stations based on artists you like. For example, pick the Beatles and you'll get a great selection of old and new rock music similar to the Beatles in some way. Each station offers standard "crowd faves" and "deep cuts" versions. Listen for free or sign up for paid subscriptions for an adfree experience.

TuneIn
(tunein.com)
For actual radio stations that broadcast over the internet, check out TuneIn. Over 100,000 stations from all over the world are available, and you can filter by the kind of content you want — such as sports, news, and many genres of music. Listen for free or upgrade to the Premium version to remove ads and gain access to audio books.

iHeartRadio
(iheart.com)
Love live radio, streaming music, and podcasts? They're all right here. Choose stations based on location or genre, or create custom stations built around artists you love. A sleep timer allows you to listen as you drift off at night and wake up to your favorite tunes. Use for free or upgrade to listen offline and get other nice perks.

Google Play Music
(play.google.com/music/listen#/sulp)
With an extensive collection of music, Google Play Music offers options for finding what you want to hear, including top charts and new releases. You can find radio stations based on genre, era, activity, or mood. The service also includes podcasts. The free version plays ads while the paid version gets rid of them and lifts other restrictions too.

ReverbNation
(reverbnation.com)
A great place to find your next favorite artist, ReverbNation is where bands like Alabama Shakes and Imagine Dragons got their start. Focusing on the pop, alternative, and hip-hop genres, this site offers discovery tools to help you sort through millions of artists, labels, and users. For listeners, it's free. Musicians have free and paid options to share their work.

Deezer
(deezer.com)
This flexible service allows you to enjoy your tunes in several ways. You can explore pre-made mixes from a variety of genres, choose individual songs, create your own playlists, or listen to radio stations. It works on most devices, including wearables and in your car. Use the free version or upgrade to eliminate ads and get offline access.

SoundCloud
(soundcloud.com)
SoundCloud is less restrictive than other services because the tracks are meant to be listened to for free. Hear any song on demand and skip as many times as you like. This is where new artists upload their work, so it's a great resource for music discovery. Use for free or upgrade to get rid of ads, listen offline, and access premium tracks.

8tracks
(8tracks.com)
This fun service focuses on playlists, including those created by you and other users. It's easy to find your perfect mood music, whether you're exercising, cleaning, studying, dancing, or just relaxing. 8tracks is available through the website or through apps, which are available for all major device types. Explore for free or upgrade to get unlimited, ad-free listening.

Organize Your Music Collection

Back in the day, it was easy to organize your music collection. You would just find a spot for your albums or CDs and line them up in alphabetical order. While you may still (or again) have those types of collections, it's likely you also have many digital music files in different locations that aren't always easy to find. Here's a process you can use to get musically organized.

  1. Determine where you'll store all your files and create a high-level folder for them.
  2. Seek out all the places where you have musical files, including other folders, different devices, and downloading services.
  3. Copy or cut those files and place them into your music folder.
  4. Create lower-level folders (such as genres, artists, or eras) to refine your organization.
  5. Now go back through all the files and clean them up. Remove any duplicated tracks, add meta tags and album art, and provide missing file names.
  6. Use this structure to store all future music files.

Depending on how much music you have stored in different locations, this process could take awhile. But, once you have it in place, it will be so much easier to find and listen to the music you love.