There’s never been a more exciting time to be a music lover. Technology continues to expand the myriad of ways to connect with new music and like minded music fans. Instant, easy, free access to music is a goal that many people continue to pursue. While there are scores of services that will play customized “stations” (Pandora, Slacker), allow you to listen to your own music (Google Music, Subsonic), play tracks on demand (Grooveshark, Last.FM) or explore new music (Spotify, MOG, Rdio), there’s nothing quite like listening to compelling DJs, great radio stations and interesting radio programs from around the country and around the world.
TuneIn Radio’s tagline “It’s time to fall in love with radio all over again” is apt. Long before Mumford & Sons’ albums trickled into Pandora, before they were licensed for Spotify and before you heard of them, there were countless DJ’s across the country spinning their tunes. Still to this day, radio stations are the ones exposing artists, discovering music and playing it for the masses.
This week we will look at TuneIn, a service which gives you a way to not only listen to 50,000+ radio stations across the globe but also tune-in to stations that are 100% band-specific (Phish, Beatles, Springsteen, Grateful Dead, Dylan, etc.) Additionally, giving you easy access to every internet-only radio station like Bonnaroo Radio and an ability to record (PVR for the radio!) makes TuneIn a huge winner.
READ ON to find out what TuneIn Radio is all about…
What is this exactly?
TuneIn Radio, formerly RadioTime, allows you to listen to tens of thousands of radio stations from your computer or any mobile device for free. From the web, at http://tunein.com/, you can browse stations, create pre-sets and stream any station you want. From your mobile device, there are free apps for Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Palm and even Samsung’s Bada platform. From home connected devices you can listen from such devices as Sonos, Roku or GoogleTV. Creating an account lets you sync your station presets across all your devices.
So What Can I Listen To?
Band Specific Stations: Fans of many different bands may be surprised to find out that their favorite band has an online station streaming 24/7. In some cases there are literally scores of stations to chose from (hello Beatles!) With Sirius/XM one can tune into the Grateful Dead station, E-Street Radio, and a few other band-specific stations. Of course this is predicated on an expensive monthly subscription. Browsing TuneIn’s selection of free stations yields hundreds of stations all for free. While some are official band-sponsored efforts, others are fan based stations. These stations will stream unheard nuggets, rarities, full-length concerts and other unreleased tracks. While often fans will have most officially released albums of their favorite artists, it is always fun to listen to unheard music from your favorite band. A small sampling of some stations include:
GDRadio.net (note: This terrific Grateful Dead station has been temporarily offline after power loss from Hurricane Irene)
U2 Outloud Radio
Rolling Stones Radio
Bob Marley Web Radio
Interested in finding an artist station to listen to? Just search the band or artist name in the search box. I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan and sometimes need a little Floyd fix. Searching yields several stations devoted to Floyd, as well as stations currently playing the band’s music. I was happy to see a station I spent years listening to when I lived in Philadelphia, WYSP, on the service. As I was streaming some Pink Floyd from a Russian station, I added WYSP to my station presets for a later listening session.
Partial Search Results for ‘Pink Floyd’ with band specific stations highlighted
There are scores of music formats simply not represented anywhere on the traditional radio dial. It’s a good bet you’ll find it on TuneIn. Have a hankering for jazz? Acid Jazz? Hard Bop? Afro-Cuban Jazz? Fusion? Free Jazz? Literally, whatever your musical tastes are, you will find a station streaming exactly what interests you from jam to hip-hop, from reggae to indie and everything in between. If you register a free account, you can even add folders to your station presets that sync across all your devices. So if you find a handful of jazz stations that you enjoy, you can save them in a group. Rock, country, folk, whatever you want.
A sampling of ‘Jam Band’ stations include:
Some may already be familiar with Fresh Jam radio as it is a very popular station that has an iPhone/iPod/iPad specific app that allows you to stream full-length, recent concerts by scores of popular jam bands. While $2.99 is a bargain and money well spent for this great station, you can get it for free with a TuneIn Radio app. This allows Android and other platform users to enjoy this station that was previously limited to iOS users. Often, you are able to hear concerts that only happened a couple days ago that would otherwise be unavailable for listening. Check it out!
Fresh Jam station streaming on TuneIn Radio.
Internet-only stations playing an eclectic mix
There are scores of radio stations that exist on the internet only like the previously mentioned genre-specific stations. Sometimes you may not want to be pinned down to a station with one type of music. There are fantastic stations that stream eclectic mixes of music that allow listeners to enjoy many different artists and types of music without changing the dial. A handful of these types of stations include:
Over the Air Stations
While internet stations are great and bountiful, some of the best programming still exists on the FM and AM dial…and now even HD stations. (And let’s be honest, how many people have invested in HD Radio hardware?) There’s something engaging and compelling about finding a DJ you trust or a station that plays music you find interesting. Unlike Pandora and other streaming options, there is no “Fast Forward” or “Skip” or “Thumbs Down.” This makes the listener stay tuned to something that may otherwise have been prematurely skipped & you might just discover a future favorite band. Listening to TuneIn, I have discovered The Tallest Man on Earth, Bobby Long, Big Talk and scores of other artists previously unknown to me. While sometimes it does take patience, listening to music from trusted sources is one of the reasons Turntable.FM is blowing up. People want to hear what others think is hot, interesting and compulsory listening. While Turntable accomplishes this on a small scale (rooms are limited in size), this is exactly what cultivated the cult following of the popular disc jockeys in the heyday of FM radio. While DJs may not be household names to many anymore, there still exist thousands of DJs that discover artists, popularize types of music and help create the music scene of the country.
Here’s just a handful of stations that have their finger on the pulse of music trends that play an eclectic mix of tunes:
Of course, home is where the heart is and likely there’s a handful of local stations that you enjoy listening to most often. FM radio apps on most mobile phones seem to be flaky at best and often require having the earphones plugged in to act as an antenna. With TuneIn, on your mobile or web interface, you can tap the “Local” tab and all the stations in your area are displayed. I was shocked to discover nearly 100 local stations for the Boston area representing virtually all the stations I’d ever listen to on my dial: news, music, weather and sports.
Sports & Talk
Like their music station brothers, there are virtually limitless options to listen to sports, talk, news, weather or anything else that’s on the radio. It is absolutely thrilling to be able to tune in to local stations when news is breaking somewhere or to listen to a game that’s not on your local dial. For example, this past weekend, I cruised the radio dial working north listening to news stations from North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and finally Vermont as I followed the path of Hurricane Irene. Local Radio & Twitter – a one-two punch that hands down beats the pants off of any other media outlet, TV source or web site for local breaking news.
Find a Cool Show or a Live Event!
With TuneIn, finding your favorite radio program anywhere in the country is a snap. In the search box on the web interface or the mobile apps, simply search the name of the program that you desire. For example, World Cafe on UPenn’s public radio station, WXPN, offers some of the best programming anywhere featuring “new and significant music from the artists that create it.” This week, World Cafe features such artists as the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Bon Iver. While this show streams weekdays at 2:00PM, there are other shows literally every day and every hour that cater to all musical tastes. Additionally, another fantastic feature of TuneIn is being able to play recorded programs. For instance, Morning Becomes Eclectic (“A music experience that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity by combining progressive pop, world beat, jazz, African, reggae, classical and new music) is a great program but I usually can’t listen live. You can hit “Listen” and after a moment or two of buffering, this hour-long program is at your fingertips. Try searching some of these great programs:
Morning Becomes Eclectic (KCRW)
Zane Lowe Show (BBC Radio 1)
In the Groove (WMNF) ( Perfect for Jam band fans!)
Words & Music from Studio A (WFUV)
In addition to phenomenal in-studio performances that you can find on many stations such as KEXP and BBC Radio 1, don’t forget to seek out live events as well. Like the aforementioned Phish festival, TuneIn users recently could have streamed such amazing events as the Newport Folk Festival or the Leeds Festival.
Both Android and iPhone apps have a Pro Version as well. The Pro versions afford the user the ability to record any program you listen to. In essence, a PVR for your radio. You can pause, rewind or play back programming that you want to hear. Imagine this: LivePhish broadcast their recent festival, SuperBall IX, which you could have listened to through TuneIn. For a modest $.99 investment in the Pro version and a quick touch of the “Record” button, you’d have the luxury of being able to replay the broadcast at your leisure. How cool is that? (And don’t forget about those Fresh Jam concerts!)
“PVR” controls for Pro Version
You May Already Be Using TuneIn!
Without knowing it, you may already be familiar with stations, programs, streams and shows that TuneIn can afford you the luxury of listening to because they provide the programming for many different entities. For example, if you have Sonos and have ever used the “Radio” feature: you are browsing TuneIn programming. With TuneIn engaged in talks with all the major auto-makers, you just might find TuneIn built right into your car sometime in the future.
Sampling of “Local” stations available via TuneIn with Sonos
HiddenTrack & TuneIn have ten free iPhone App codes for you to try out the Pro Version. Simply Tweet, “It’s Time to Fall in Love with Radio All Over Again: TuneIn Radio review on @Hidden_Track http://bit.ly/TUNEIN” or “Like” on Facebook. Either way, leave a comment here that you’ve done that and the first ten will get a download code for TuneIn Pro.
What are you waiting for? Go listen to radio!
Much like Hulu, Boxee, Roku and others have enabled people to “cut the cord” from their cable company, TuneIn allows you to do the same from Sirius/XM. With compelling programming, a virtually flawless app, a great web interface and access to virtually limitless stations and shows from around the world, you can “TuneIn” and rediscover radio!
Leave your comments if you’ve used TuneIn, what programs you enjoy or any questions that you may have. And remember, fetch yourself a free Pro code with a “Tweet” or a “Like”.
LAST WEEK’s SONOS PLAY:3 WINNER
Thanks everyone for participating in the Sonos giveaway contest. It is clear there is a passionate group of Sonos lovers already and many more people that would love to try it out. Congratulations to: JW! Please get in touch with me from the contact info below to arrange for shipping. Email, twitter, or voice-mail is fine.
If it wasn’t a random winner & had to choose from best comments, Breanne likely would have won with this gem: “Winning a Sonos would allow me to dance through the living room a little more normally (because then there would be music playing instead of silence). Please enter me in the contest!” Thanks for the laugh!
Still looking for an invite? Spotify has opened up quite a bit and by now, I hope you’ve hunted down an invite if you were interested. If not, get in touch with me and I’ll get one right out to you.
Have an idea for an article? Product, app, or web service you are passionate about? Feel free to get in touch with me.