When people don’t feel like building playlists to listen to, but still want to be serenaded, they will often turn to internet radio. Since the early 21st century the internet has become host to a slew of growing websites dedicated to playing music stations, often customizable by genre or artist.
Many radio websites and services have been conceived, and many have fallen away. Here are some of the internet radio giants that have been dominating the industry:
Pandora – Probably one of, if not the number one, most popular internet radio service is Pandora. Since its inception in 2005 it has garnered a large following of trusty music fans. Their algorithm of choice is their coveted Music Genome Project.
Spotify– This Swedish-based company made their way into the States a few years ago. Used primarily as a streaming service where you can make playlists or search individual songs, a radio feature also exists, which has been growing recently. With one of the largest libraries of tracks to choose from, Spotify is a major competitor for Pandora’s users.
As with any business of any sort, there are going to constantly be newcomers with hopes of dethroning the current kings of the industry. Here are a few formidable up and coming opponents in the battle of internet radio:
iRadio – Apple’s inevitable response to the waves of internet radio looks like it is going to be a major obstacle in the reigning sites’ paths to wider audiences. With a plethora of iTunes-interactive features, iRadio looks like an obvious choice for any Apple user. That’s the catch though, it is unavailable for Android devices, and has no web browser version. Release date is set for September 18th.
Google Play Music All Access – Launched earlier this year, Google’s contribution to the internet radio world is still making its way through the preliminary bugs. While listening to an Arcade Fire-inspired playlist, Digital Trends’ Molly McHugh described its song selection as “eclectic” and “scattered”. Despite the bugs, Google is sure to constantly update and improve its service to compete with the other players in the field.
Xbox Music – That’s right, Xbox is making a significant step towards a more versatile entertainment brand with Xbox Music. While the music player and some features have been available for the past year or so, Xbox is expanding to iOS and Android. Although, like Spotify, its main market focus is the streaming of selected songs, a Smart DJ option plays stations based on favorite artists. Its flashy appearance and multi-platform integration may make Xbox Music a widespread competitor.
Although I mention only six internet radio services, the list goes on and on. Each service offers up something catchy and worthwhile, especially the ones that are in the process of being released. Techie journalists are already comparing how some of the services will match up with each other (here’s another).
The question is, how will preexisting services like Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio be affected by the newcomers? According to this amalgamation of Google Trends charts, compiled by Paul Lamere at MusicMachinery, all of the major radio services are either “steady” or “rising”, with the exception of Xbox Music. Xbox is in no trouble, however, as the cross-platform jump will surely boost interest and feedback.
Will iRadio usurp Pandora of its throne? Will Xbox Music rise up and make Spotify the inferior music streaming/radio service? Will Google Play fix its woes and shock everyone as a functional and inviting music powerhouse? The dramatic questions can only be responded with a dramatic, soap opera-esque answer of: only time will tell.
Thanks for reading.