Listen, Search, and Download – Tenn-Share Learn & Discover (41)

August 4, 2008

It used to be if you wanted to hear a song, you would have to buy the CD or you were at the mercy of the local radio DJ and your giant boom box. Several innovative web sites have simplified listening to and buying music online.

Streaming – Listening to music online

Streaming is sort of like radio – just tune into music that is already playing on the Internet. Unlike radio, there are billions of stations to choose from and anyone can pick the tunes! Here are a couple of popular music streaming spots:

Last.fm is a streaming person radio station that tracks the songs you hear, then alters your personal radio station accordingly. Last.fm is also a social network that lets you discover new music by seeing what other users are listening to.

Tell Pandora who you like and they will play music similar to it. So, if you tell Pandora you like Bell Biv Devoe, it will play them, then Bobby Brown, Tony Toni Tone, and Keith Sweat. You get the idea.

Maybe you need to hear “Billie Jean” right now?

Use a music search app like Seeqpod or Songza to listen to single tracks! Enter a song title or artist, and a search may find it somewhere on the Internet and play it. Search is a good way to preview entire new songs or find alternate recordings.

Downloading – Saving music to your computer

It’s fine to listen to “Forever and Ever, Amen” online, but you’ve got to have it – preferably without all the other tracks on the album.

No problem. You can just buy the song you want and download it to your computer. Downloading is different from streaming a song. When you stream a song on Pandora, you just click play and listen – you haven’t saved the song. If you wanted to hear the song again, you’d need to go back to Pandora. When you download a song, you are saving it for later. Downloading and saving a music file is similar to saving a resume or a photo.

If you’re trying to help someone find a song on a library computer, there are a few things to be aware of. Generally, you can download music on most library computers when the site does not require software installation. There are a lot of web sites that sell music, some require software and some don’t. Amazon and iTunes both have music for purchase and download. For security, libraries restrict users installing software on public computers, so you wouldn’t be able to buy music from iTunes. Amazon doesn’t require special software, they let you buy and download a song right to your flash drive.

Free downloads – What if you find that Randy Travis song for free, on a blog somewhere?

Unless Randy Travis himself has a blog, and is giving the song away free there, you want to avoid this free download. Not everyone sharing files online has the legal rights to; you may find song files put online without permission. Hear more about online copyright from The Real Deal 106: Copyright.mp3 (CNET podcast).

Online Music Activity:

Option One:

1. Browse the Cylinder Archive for some wonderful original recordings.

2. Download an mp3 to your computer.

3. Tell us how it went in the Listen, Search, and Download forum.

Option Two:

1. Visit one of the music streaming web sites.

2. Play a song on your computer.

3. Tell us how it went in the Music: Listen, Search, and Download forum.

Extra Credit

That’s extra awesomeness credit. Look like a rock star in the forums: Make a mix tape and share it with everyone in the Listen, Search, and Download forum.

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Listen, Search, and Download forum.

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