Enjoying music is easier now than ever before. Yet such ease has also allowed the pursuit of this enjoyment to morph into a convoluted sea of choices. Indeed, there are too many online music players out there vying for your attention. The simple act of finding one has become a painstaking, time-consuming process.
That’s why I’ve put this list together – to help you take a machete to this process so you can crank out tunes on your Chromebook on your terms. We’ve found the best ways for you to do just that.
As a side note, I know there are Chrome OS fans all around the world, so I am showing only internationally available options!
Free Internet Radio
Even though terrestrial radio is still riding high in terms of reach, it’s virtually unlistenable to serious music fans. According to experts, it’s not going to get any better. But don’t fret – free internet radio is here to rescue you from the doldrums. There are plenty of free music options out there that spin handcrafted playlists that go deeper than anything on the FM dial.
#1: Free Internet Radio Websites
Cyberspace is replete with several streaming radio stations. On the surface, these stations look like they’re set up similarly to what you may find on terrestrial radio. For instance, sites like AccuRadio and InternetRadio have “channels” that are broken up by genres. But they provide you with a seemingly infinite amount of choice in the process.
For instance, InternetRadio have stations devoted to deeply niched genres such as Kpop and Reggaeton. Plus, these stations are substantially more interactive and user-friendly, something AccuRadio users can experience by being able to skip past as many undesirable songs as they’d like. They don’t exactly skimp on selection, either – InternetRadio is home to about 40,000 different stations for you to peruse.
#2: Standard Broadcast Radio Stations over the Internet
Let’s say you’re not ready to give up on terrestrial radio completely. Maybe there’s a morning show you still enjoy, or there’s a special music program they air on Sunday nights that piques your interest. Chances are, that station you like has an online channel that allows you to stream.
There are also sites dedicated to helping you check out the culture of terrestrial radio in other parts of the country should you so desire. While this type of stream-based offering won’t shield you from commercials, there may be fewer ads than what you’d hear on the terrestrial version. This may translate to extra songs in your ear – including deeper cuts that may not normally get spun over the traditional airwaves.
Music is a social language at its core. So, it makes perfect sense that there would be music-based app built with this social aspect in mind. The German-based SoundCloud is malleable enough to go where you go, whether you’re toting the app on your smartphone or you’re running it through Chromebooks. More importantly, its interface allows fans to connect with each other like a social media platform; a connection that allows them to share songs from the personal playlists that they built up over time. Better yet, this element can even let fans connect with their favorite musicians.
#4: Chrome Extensions
One of the things that makes a Chromebook cool is the bevy of Chrome extensions out there. When it comes to playing music, you are certainly not lacking in app-based options to choose from. Each of these extensions bring something a little different to the table. For instance, the AudioBox app makes it possible to converge your online music outlets like YouTube, Sound Cloud, and Dropbox into one convenient spot.
My Music Cloud, on the other hand, allows storage for 250 of your favorite songs in the cloud, including songs you’ve downloaded from iTunes. And true audiophiles may be interested in Music Plus for Google Play, which allows you to enjoy extra goodies like notifications, playback tool popups, lyrics, and more. These extensions typically require a fee to use them at full capacity, but these costs typically aren’t exorbitant.
Paid Music Subscription Services
For a lot of us, the “music genome project” that is Pandora was the first subscription service that helped us make the transition from Napster’s ill-fated downloads to streams. Nowadays, Pandora’s algorithm-based design has been usurped by a host of subscription streamers that are easy to use on Chromebooks.
The advantage of these paid music services is you get more control over individual songs and artists you want to hear.
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#5: Amazon Music Unlimited
The online retail behemoth got into the streaming game last year with their Amazon Music Unlimited service. Some people will be undoubtedly miffed at the fact that the cost of this service is separate from their Amazon Prime subscription, although you do get it at a discounted price. However, the fact that it offers tens of millions of songs in an intuitive, easy-to-control format and with a free trial may smooth things a bit.
#6: Google Play Music
Google’s polished music streaming service is ready-made to be wherever you are. This may especially be true if you own a Samsung phone, where it will be the default music player on the device going forward. At the same time, it seems ready-made for Chromebook users. Indeed, there are a few Chrome apps and extensions you can enjoy on Chromebook that tie directly into the Google Play service (such as the Music Plus app). These widgets excel at taking your music experience to the proverbial next level.
Arguably the most popular of all the streaming services, Spotify’s intuitive interface makes it easy to find your favorite artists and listen to full albums or select songs. You can also build your own custom playlist to match your mood pretty easily. This device can funnel through Chromebooks rather easily through a Chrome extension, but it’s not necessary. I’ve never had to use it to get my stations to play on my Chromebook.
Self-Stored Music Options
We all remember the way Napster was before its current incarnation. We also remember the thrill of downloading songs from the service and having them be a click away on our PC. While that iteration of Napster has gone by the wayside, the download-based spirit of the service is still with us. Better yet, it’s legal. Take that, Lars Ulrich.
Google Play Music
This versatile service not only lets you stream, but it also lets you store. This versatility is further bolstered by its easy-to-use presence on smartphones and Chromebooks. For those that like to bounce back between the old-school and new-school methods of digital music enjoyment, this app is right up your alley.
#8: Enjoy Music Player
This handy service will do more than just play back stored music. It will also allow you to grab music from SoundCloud. Once you have the tunes on the Chromebook extension, you can do a few neat tricks with the tunes you can’t do on some other services, like fast forward within a track.
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the various ways you can enjoy online music through Chromebooks. The way we consume music has changed radically in the last decade, and the shift is only going to continue. Keeping tabs on these changes is vital, because it makes it much easier to explore this wonderful art.
Please share if you liked the article, or drop me a line to keep the conversation going. Let me know in the comments if you have an even better favorite music service for your Chrome OS devices.