Friday, May 21, 2010

Music without a poking conscience

Are you a music addict or at least a fanatic? Do you have a music collection that dwarfs the collection of all the items in your house/PC put together? Well, good for you but... wait for it... bad for you too? Cross your heart and ask yourself if all of them were legally bought or at least in someway benefited the artist? I know that the majority of you would say "No"!

You want to have a clear conscience and still be able to listen to all songs from all artists without paying for it? Come to the world of streamed music. When I started out on this quest 10 years ago, the Internet was slow and I mean S.L.O.W. with just dial-up connections with fees both to the ISP and the telephone call charges. At that point, there weren't any streaming sites and the concept of streaming was nascent. It was the height of the Software Boom in India and the Piracy business was booming too. It is a debate for another day that Piracy still keeps booming no matter what goes bust but people preferred to own the tracks with them to listen to what they want, when they want but that scenario has now changed after TRAI defined broadband as a minimum of 256Kbps and all ISPs were forced to upgrade their so-called Broadband connections of 64k and 128k connections to 256k minimum.

Now came the era of decent speeds and simultaneously better streaming formats and technologies. Podcasts became ubiquitous and YouTube proved to be the mammoth success with all sorts of videos being shared from all over the world without flooding each other's mailboxes.

Granny's Radio Party

Then came umpteen Internet radio stations play latest hits for free with a little bit of unobtrusive ads that can be put up with. After all, you are getting the songs for free but this still did not cut it as the playlists were decided by the radio station and it wasn't song on demand. With everything on demand, songs forced on to your ears were a bit too much. To our rescue came the saviour in the form of Streaming sites for audio just like YouTube is for video. Although they had come to the scene before video (read YouTube), streaming video galvanised this market and put it on top gear.

Today, you google it and there are a million station and streaming sites that let you play your favorite songs with extremely low ad content that doesn't take the fun away one bit and keep your conscience clear as well. You might say that they don't have Indian songs but you'd be surprised. I was.

Here are a few for you, my loyal blog reader:

Streaming:

GrooveShark:  http://listen.grooveshark.com for both Indian and international songs and also has radio

Music India Online: http://musicindiaonline.com

Raaga: http://www.raaga.com

Radio:

Shoutcast: http://www.shoutcast.com has a huge listing of radio stations according to genres, countries, language etc.

Tamil Radios: http://www.tamilradios.com live streams of many tamil radio stations in case you are not in the city that the station plays or of you don't have access to a traditional FM radio set.

Happy Listening and happy reading.