Sources of free internet music
January 15, 2019 5:26 PM   Subscribe

I need new music/playlists/radio stations to work to, ideally available online for free and with minimal advertising. Basically like Spotify or Pandora but not a subscription model, and I'd love it if I could scroll through a list of existing playlists and choose one (which you can do on Spotify) without having to think of a "seed song" (the way you do for Pandora). For a long time I used YouTube for this, but now they insert ads after every song, and sometimes even within songs, especially on mobile devices.

One source I've enjoyed recently is soma fm, which is an internet radio station based out of San Francisco with about 30 channels/playlists to choose from. They do have ads, but only one or two an hour. Perhaps there are more stations like this out there?

Almost any music with a strong beat will do - electronica, indie, bluegrass, salsa, house, 80s, etc.
posted by danceswithlight to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Freegal MP3 downloads are available through many public libraries, and streaming is available through the website and phone app.

Google Music offers the option to upload your own MP3s and then stream those from the website or app. Combined with downloaded Freegal MP3s, you can slowly build a respectable steaming library for free.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:48 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]

Both of these are more radio-station like than Spotify-like, but I've been enjoying both:

The Lot Radio from Brooklyn

NTS from London (mostly)
posted by dforemsky at 5:48 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

I listen to WFMU all day at work. No ads - plenty of playlists in different genres. Not much salsa but you might find a dj you like and work through their archive.
posted by rdnnyc at 6:00 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

UbuWeb Sound
posted by slater at 6:07 PM on January 15

In addition to WFMU's streams, they run the Free Music Archive.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 6:15 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

Accuradio is more radio-y than playlist-y (songs don't have a set order but they're at least programmed by humans) and there are ads (although not too many) but I like it. They have a few pretty granular stations (although some are better than others) and seem to be adding new ones all the time.

The BBC's Radio 6 is great (although grumble grumble less great since they switched up their schedule grumble grumble) and has a lot of diverse music and shows. There are no ads (other than house ads) but there is talk and news breaks. Shows are up for 30 days so you don't have to necessarily listen live.
posted by darksong at 7:06 PM on January 15

My favorite: Radio Paradise. I listen to it all the time at work. While they don't offer playlists to choose from, they do play an excellent variety IMO.
posted by JonathanB at 7:08 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

Another radio station (not playlist service) with online streaming - C89.5 (KNHC), which I adore because it's a non-commercial dance music radio station run by high school students in Seattle. It's pretty legit - has been on the air for decades, and feeds Billboard's dance airplay chart.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 8:37 PM on January 15

Put an ad-blocker on your browser (u-block origin is good) and on your phone use NewPipe, if you are able.

No more ads from YouTube.
posted by deadwax at 9:42 PM on January 15

I've enjoyed mixcloud quite a bit recently recently, though it's naturally heavily slanted towards dance music and related genes.
posted by cwill at 11:05 PM on January 15

I've recently learned of which has lots of different kinds of shows generally of or adjacent to your tastes. They schedule time slots like traditional radio so it depends on what time you listen.
posted by rhizome at 3:28 AM on January 16

A lot of Bandcamp's stuff is free for streaming, presumably with the idea that you'd buy some of what you try. The Bandcamp Weekly podcast might be a good option for you. Bandcamp has a mobile app as well.

The Hype Machine can be set to play as a stream. Check out their weekly Stack, or just pick a genre/tag to get started. Hype Machine also has an app on the iTunes app store, not sure about Android. Have not used either - but might be good for you.

You said something about YouTube inserting ads in the middle of songs? I have never experienced that, but I also subscribe to Google Play. If they do that on longer playlists, then this won't work for you but - check out some of the channels with longer mixes like these long-form mixes of DarkWave/Synthwave/Retro, Dubstep, Jazz & Electro and so forth. Also ThePrimeThanatos, and Lexius Castro. I particularly like the "It Came From the 80's..." mixes.

It takes some digging, but there's lots of good stuff on SoundCloud.

I also like Indie Shuffle, which will play music back from SoundCloud and other sources (I think). You can select by genre, by popular, or check out their playlists. They also have Android & iOS apps, apparently, though I have not tried them.

Finally, Reddit has tons of music-related subreddits, and there's a Web-based player you can use to browse various genres / subreddits, etc. Takes a bit of fiddling, but worked well last time I went digging.
posted by jzb at 5:06 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

I was gonna jump in and recommend NTS, like dforemesky above.

I'm a huge fan of the breakfast show with Charlie Bones (9am to midday UK time, weekdays) but they've got a really eclectic range of programming and best of all, their shows are really well-tagged for genre, style etc. so discovering new stuff is easy.

Oh, and there are no ads.
posted by Ted Maul at 7:06 AM on January 16

I've been enjoying the random time-and-globe-travelling randomness of radiooooo.
posted by ikahime at 8:39 AM on January 16

Shoutcast has an extensive directory of internet radio stations, sorted by genre, then sub-genre. No word on how many or few ads they each play, but I imagine it's a whole range, from many to none.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:11 PM on January 16

posted by pompomtom at 1:39 PM on January 16

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