So Which Online Radio App Should You Choose?
Online radio apps sound exactly like what they claim to be -- they allow mobile users to listen to songs played from the Internet. Specifically, they also let people create radio stations based on track genres, albums, and recording artists. Most of online radio apps nowadays grant listeners the ability to upvote or downvote tracks, which also has the effect of further fine tuning the song selection to better fit with the user’s music preferences. Once a user starts playing a radio station, he will not be able to rewind, repeat, fast forward, or select songs. As a matter of fact, the usual controls only include play, pause, and skip (sometimes allowed in limited capacity). So what are the online radio apps available out there?
Sure, Apple Music is an on demand music streaming app, but it actually also offers an online radio service by way of its Beats 1 Radio brand. Beats 1 Radio is broadcasted globally with powerhouse DJs like Zane Lowe, plus exclusive programs hosted by some of the hottest recording artists today. Although the service is free, users are required to have an iTunes ID in order to gain listening access. Users can also listen to stations like CBS Radio News, ESPN Radio, and Bloomberg Radio for free. As a side note, Apple Music offers a service that allows people to curate web radio stations based on song, artist, and mood -- however, these are part of the Apple Music paid subscription.
Select T-Mobile subscribers can avail of Napster unRadio for free, but for others, the service costs $4.99 a month. Users can tune their stations with a thumbs up or a thumbs down, while clicking the Favorite button saves the current song to one’s library and downloads it for offline listening.
Pandora is basically made available for free, because it earns its revenues from advertising. That being said, listeners can expect to hear and see ads very often. Free accounts do allow users to skip half a dozen tracks every hour per station and as many as 24 total skips each for all stations. Obviously, choosing to avail of a paid subscription gets one better results. For one, the ads are removed, and you get to have more freedom in skipping tracks. Pandora One costs $4.99 a month and offers up to 192 kbps quality streaming, plus offline listening and five hours of continuous music (sans pauses), and unlimited skips per day, albeit the six skips per hour per station limit still applies.
Slacker Radio lets listeners build or browse radio stations based on their favorite music. Much of the service’s catalogue is made up of stations pre-created by music fans. Like Pandora, six skips per hour is allowed. Slacker Radio also offers a couple of paid options -- Radio Plus costs $4 while Radio Unlimited costs $10.
TuneIn is an online radio app that actually lets listeners tune in to an actual existing radio station. Users get access to more than a hundred thousand live radio stations from their local area, or across the globe. Radio stations are categorized according to location and genre. But unlike Pandora, TuneIn does allow listeners to create stations. Also not possible is searching for songs or musicians. What users can do instead is search for any stations currently playing their favorite music, and then access that station to listen.
Other online radio app options also worth checking out include iHeartRadio, SomaFM, and 8Tracks.