Ten Best Music Websites and Applications

We dedicate this read to all those who can eat, sleep and drink music. The EFNI team went surfing, well internet surfing, to find you some of the finest selection of online music. Here’s our pick of Top Ten choices for music websites and applications.

Well, iTunes essentially is a media player, that let’s you play, download, and organize digital music and video files on your desktop. No prizes for guessing who introduced it- Apple Inc, ofcourse. There’s little wonder why iTunes provided the same facilities on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The application allows the user to purchase and manage audio and video on a personal computer, acting as a front end for Apple's QuickTime media player. iTunes has got a myriad of features, some of the most sought after ones include-Media Management, File Format Support, File Metadata , playlists, video support and books/pdf support. Now that’s one app to add to your gadget!

Formerly known as Music Beta by Google, this and recently re-launched as Google Music, this music streaming service/online music store might soon be locking horns with iTunes. Google music supports streaming music to desktop browsers, Android phones and tablets, or any other device that can use the Adobe Flash platform. According to the official Google blog- users can use a feature called Instant Mix to create a playlist of songs that go well together. Music imported from iTunes will retain playlists as well.

Music purchasing was absent in the initial launch, however with it’s re-launch on November 16, 2011, Google Music introduced a new version of Music, with a music store, Google+ integration, artist hubs, and purchasing reflected on T-Mobile phone bills. The only hiccup is that as of now, registrations are open to US residents only.

Much before the onslaught of Facebook and Twitter, MySpace founded by Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson was the most visited social networking website in the world. Apart from the regular social media features like moods, blurbs and blogs, comments, profile customization and redesigns, music materialized as its most sought after feature.

Although post 2008, a drastic decline in hits affected MySpace, causing it to be ranked as 103rd by total web traffic, bands and soloists still leverage MySpace to promote their music and connect with their breed. Hence the website had become a huge repository for online music. Keep surfing MySpace, one usually comes across decent material.

Launched in 2006, but no longer an infant, ReverbNation focuses principally on the independent music industry. The purpose of the website is to bring together musicians and producers under one roof to connect and collaborate. Its special feature ‘TuneWidget’ links back to additional content, such as music recommended by the band that created the widget. A year after the website’s launch, 2007, Webs (formerly Freewebs) added a widget service that included TuneWidget as an option for its web site users. The same year the band Rehab headlined the ReverbNation summer tour.

In May, 2008, Judas Priest pre-released a track from its upcoming album on ReverbNation.

Yahoo Music (previously known as ‘Launch’ and ‘Y! Music’) carries an extensive selection of artists, their music and biographical information. In the year 2007, Yahoo Music made it to the numero uno position in the jam-packed space of online music, in terms of audience and total time spent.

A viable range of products makes Yahho Music, an attractive destination for music lovers. Yahoo! Music Jukebox and Yahoo! Music Unlimited, Live sets (exclusive video concerts from A-list starts) and Who’s Next (where listerners vote for emerging artists) are some of the popular offerings.

In the same space as ReverbNation, SoundCloud is an online audio platform which allows collaboration, promotion and distribution of audio recordings. So, do not be flagger basted if you bump into interviews and talks aside from music.

The website was originally founded in Stockholm, Sweden, but was established in Berlin, Germany, in August 2007. The core concept was to allow musicians share recordings with each other, later SoundCloud transformed into a full publishing tool that allowed widespread distribution of audio. Soon after its commencement, the website began challening the dominance of Myspace by allowing artists to distribute music and to interact more closely with their fans.

Unlike MySpace, SoundCloud instead hosting audio in their site, allows users to upload their music with a distinctive URL. SoundCloud can also be combined with Twitter and FaceBook and has a number of apps and widgets compatible with various Operating Systems.

Last.fm is a UK based music website and is most for its Audioscrobbler feature. The feature builds a detailed profile of each user’s music taste by recording details of the songs the user listens to, either from Internet radio, the user’s PC or many portable music devices and recommends music based on those details.

Its music catalogue supports full length promotional tracks and free downloads; play-on-demand features and removal. Last.fm has also collaborated with Xbox 360, and as of 2009, Last.fm claimed to have 30 million active users.

Metacritic is a website for people on the lookout for music reviews. Similarities can be drawn with Rotten Tomatoes, but there are drastic variations in the scoring systems. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green, Yellow and Red summarize the critic's recommendation. This gives an idea of the general appeal of the product among reviewers and, to a lesser extent, the public. The scoring games are quite popular, although they have been criticized by many.

Another UK based online music store, although Spotify was originally founded in Sweden. Spotify uses a DRM-based music streaming service offering streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal.

The system is compatible with many Operating systems and gadgets. Music can be browsed by artist, album, record label, genre or playlist as well as by direct searches. Users can play, download and purchase music using Spotify. Users can register either for free accounts supported by visual and radio-style advertising or for paid subscriptions without ads and with a range of extra features such as higher bitrate streams and offline access to music.

A Facebook account has been made mandatory for all new users since 22 September 2011.

Named after the music file MP3, this website is probably best known for its original avatar as a legal, free music-sharing service, extremely popular amongst independent musicians. It was shut down on December 2, 2003 by CNET, which, after purchasing the domain name (but not MP3.com's technology or music assets), established the current MP3.com site.

MP3.com provides valuable information on digital music and artists, songs, services, community, trends and technologies. Ubetoo, a site similar to MP3.com is also worth surfing.

-by Parmita Borah