How to Stay Musically Current on the Road…for Less!

Seth and I have thrown it into super-get-rid-of-things mode, so our personal belongings are looking kind of sparse.  After ripping all my CDs to my iTunes (and tossing all those annoying, cracked jewel cases), I’m finding that my computer is filling up, making it run slower.  So, I’ve transferred much of my music library to an external hard drive, which isn’t too handy when you’ve got a spontaneous hankerin’ to hear one specific song.

And if you’re traveling, it even further compounds the problem of what in the world to listen to.  Radio stations fuzz in and out, so that’s out.  You can only play through your iPod playlists so many times before you’re tired of hearing the same songs over and over again.  Needless to mention, CDs take up space and get scratched too easily.

We have a few suggestions to help you stay up with the latest music while you’re on the road:

Pandora 

With the creation of Pandora.com, a whole world has opened up to music lovers everywhere.  Operating as an online radio station, Pandora creates a channel based on the music you like.  Plus, it continually refines your playlist based on a rating you can give to songs.  For example, if Pandora starts playing a song you don’t like, you can “Thumbs Down” the song, and you’ll never hear it again.  You can have lots of channels, so when you get tired of listening to the Regina Spektor channel (not that you would), you can switch to the Joanna Newsom channel.  It’s also a great way to discover other bands/artists in the same genre.

You can listen to Pandora on your phone wherever you get cell reception.  (Note: Make sure you have an unlimited data package because you can really eat up your plan by streaming music.)  We even plug our iPhone into the car speakers and listen to Pandora while we travel! While connected to the internet, you can listen to Pandora on your computer; we’re always working in coffee shops around the nation, so most likely, we have Pandora playing in our ears for most of the day.  The service is free, but the free version does have ads every once in a while.  You can pay $36/year for no ads.

Spotify

Spotify is relatively new having just been released in the US (it was all the rage in the UK).  Spotify lets you access music without owning it.  GetRichSlowly.org writer, J.D. Roth writes that Spotify is “a musical version of Netflix streaming, only with less hassle and better selection.”  Just search for the song you want to listen to, and within seconds, you’re listening to what you want when you want it.  The service is free on your laptop, but it does include an occasional ad.  If you want to listen on your phone, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium ($10/month).

I like Spotify because I no longer have to clog my computer with downloaded music.  Sure, I will still download the songs I love, but I can preview them for free to decide if I do indeed love them.  It’s also a great way to listen to other artists right from your computer.

GetRichSlowly.org published a great post about Spotify and the future of music.  Check it out!

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