By: Broc Sears
I could be your neighbor.
Luckily not the one with the window-shaking stereo, but maybe the one whose playlist lightly wafts by your porch on a summer day. I love to play music when I work in the yard, and prefer not to use headphones, earbuds, or air pods. I simply raise the volume on my tablet, laptop, or yardwork-friendly Bluetooth speaker.
Here’s a list of streaming services that make spending time outside feel like a luxury.
My favorite streaming service is Spotify, which features more than 45 million songs. I embrace the free version and tolerate the ads, but there is an ad-free paid version available for a monthly charge. On Spotify I can make my own playlists, try others’ playlists, listen to single songs or entire albums, and create a favorites list. Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, and Frank Sinatra are well-represented on mine! Creating a playlist allows you to group your favorite songs together, all in one place.
The YouTube Music library likewise contains more than 60 million songs, has many of the same features as Spotify, and allows for flexibility with listening preferences.
Amazon Prime Music also has a free tier, but only offers two million songs. While selections are limited, however, the experience is ad-free with unlimited skips, provided you already subscribe to Prime.
If you’re more into classical music, the Idagio and Sonata apps allow you to search for your favorite composers and their work, save tracks, and compile playlists.
Sound Cloud is an open platform for listeners and creators. It’s fun, bright, and filled with artists I have never heard of before. Genres range from R&B to Latin, Workout to Chill, and Soul to Global Beats. I can save favorites, create playlists, and follow up-and-coming artists.
Deezer‘s library boasts more than 56 million songs, but I battle its interface constantly. I can find my favorite artists’ albums and listen to Deezer selections, but most of the songs I want to listen to appear as small clips and push me to upgrade to the paid premium service.
Pandora streaming affords a more “curated” listening experience. The service creates playlists from its 30-million song library based on artist preferences. If I choose the Beatles, Beyoncé, Johnny Cash, and a bunch of other artists as my “favorites,” I will hear some songs from those artists in addition to songs from artists with similar styles. Like Sound Cloud, it’s a great way to discover new music.
Jango offers a similar listening experience in which music experts compile stations featuring single artists or a mix of artists. You can choose one of these stations and add your favorite artists but will have to sit back and wait to see which songs pop up. This makes the unlimited skip feature excellent!
If you love live music, LiveXLive has more than 400 expertly curated stations in addition to live music and concerts. It enables you to customize a station with your own artist selection, while similar artists are added to your “broadcast.”
iHeart Radio is the best app for broadcast radio and artist music stations. You can select favorite genres, artists, and songs to add to your library, explore podcasts, and listen to local or regional radio stations.
Once you find a reliable streaming service, soon you will be ZZ-Topping those bushes, rolling stones around the garden edge, and going gaga over your Gaillardia.