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Death of the mp3: Streaming Music Apps for Mobiles Karishma Sundaram | , 2:45 p.m. Nov. 9, 2009 2009-11-09


There were times where people shelled out shored up pocket money to splurge on an audio cassette or on a CD to listen to one of the songs. Of course that particular was topping charts and otherwise making musical history, so it was worth it. Or so mostly everyone told themselves. Then came the era of singles, where the hit song resided in its lonesome glory on the CD. So it went till the arrival of computers and mp3 files. 

Mp3 files brought with them a few months of glorious musical freedom, until hell broke loose with illegal music downloads. Artists threw magnificent tantrums and legislation was finally imposed. Somewhere between that time and now, iTunes and others of its ilk were born. Songs were priced singly, and that’s what people spent on.

However, now streaming music has come into the picture. Streaming music is like listening to on-demand radio. For most of the Internet generation, the radio is an almost prehistoric device regarded with the kind of reverence reserved for fossils. But this old-school technology is the foundation for the concept of streaming music. 

Streaming music plays on the system without downloading the actual song. Much like the radio, the user doesn’t own the song but merely listens to it. It works out to be much more inexpensive, without raising any copyright hassles. There are a number of streaming mobile applications for the mobile phone, a few of which we have listed here:

1. Spotify: Since we are on an Android trip, Spotify is the first candidate on our list. It is a music streaming service works on a P2P-based architecture. The mobile app also operates the same way, and syncs seamlessly with track lists that are on the user’s computer or on the Internet. There is virtually no lag time, and the music is free with ads or there is a small monthly fee for service without ads. 

2. Lala’s iPhone app: Lala has introduced an app to almost make downloading mp3 files a prehistoric practice. The app allows users to stream music at 10 cents a song. While that sounds like a lot for streaming music, the idea is that the 10 cents buys the user the rights to stream the song forever. The app also can be synced with a user’s iTunes account, so they don’t have to purchase those songs all over again. 

3. Napster’s iPhone app: The notorious Napster has decided to extend their subscription-based music streaming service to mobile platforms. While there is nothing ground-breaking here, it still is pretty cool to think of having all content accessible from anywhere. 

4. Slacker: Slacker is an online radio, with proper programming and a number of stations. They have launched a mobile app too. It’s excellent. 

5. Rhapsody: Similar in concept to Napster’s iPhone app, Rhapsody will allow users to stream music from their accounts on their mobile devices. This app is still at the approval stage of the App Store, so there are really no guarantees of availability. 

There are umpteen more apps and services that are available for music streaming. If we’ve left out your favourites, let us know in the comments. 


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