While the status of traditional on-air radio is increasingly precarious, each day brings new applications and other online platforms designed for sharing audio content.
New alternatives to FM radio are not only broadening the variety of content that’s offered and the ways in which it’s made available, they’re also increasingly efficient. They emphasize a unique user experience, whether you use a mobile app or an interface on your PC. In addition to the abundance of options available to your ears, these platforms have given rise to new ways of consuming audio content that are more intuitive and personalized. Using public transit, working out at the gym, chilling before bedtime or struggling with an Excel sheet for a whole afternoon—each situation warrants a certain type of content. And more often than not, specific content justifies the use of a specific interface.
It’s never been so easy to access such a wide range of content, whether it’s your favourite singer’s new album, the story of Napoleon’s reign, a sunny playlist to help you forget the winter or the secrets of the salmon ricotta pie that will make you the official Ricardo of your group of friends. All you need to know is what you want and where to look.
The entire world’s music and knowledge, from the most mainstream to the most arcane, are available in just two taps of the screen. The only prerequisites are a smart phone, earphones and an application you can download for a couple of bucks (if it isn’t free).
The possibilities for streaming music are endless!
There are currently hundreds of music streaming platforms, and although they might—almost—all seem identical when you just want to listen to some tunes, some have a stronger appeal than others and offer unique features or benefits. These can include:
- catalogue size and diversity
- possibility of uploading your own music
- option to pay through your mobile service package
- “family” subscription (same subscription, several accounts)
- superior sound quality (FLAC or MP3, 160 or 320 kbps)
Ultimately, these details (along with an app’s overall reputation) will guide your choice. And, if you’re like me, once this happens you can expect your phone’s battery to be zapped pretty quickly.
As far as industry giants go, Spotify and Deezer are among the most conventional and efficient options out there. Tidal—owned by Jay-Z and Beyoncé—comes in third. According to the powerhouse couple, it was developed by and for artists (yeah right…). Other notable options are Napster, Google Play Music, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited.
Among the less mainstream apps that tend to favour the artists over the industry, Soundcloud is one of the major players, although its policies have changed slightly over time. The same applies to Bandcamp, which has always put forward more independent productions and been quick to add new emerging artists.
Enjoy the web-based version of these music players, or add them to your mobile. Get them from the App Store or Google Play.
Obviously, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, and after trying out some apps that pride themselves on being more “underground,” one quickly comes back to the basics. You can trust me on that one. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Videotron clients, here is the only music app you’ll ever need
There are so many apps for music buffs that it’s easy to lose your bearings. Stingray Music stands out by combining performance and an impressive musical variety curated free of charge. So what’s the catch? There is none. Stingray Music is a Videotron partner, so the app is included with all TV or mobile subscriptions and you automatically have access when you buy a mobile phone with Videotron.
Get Stingray Music at the App Store if you have an iOS device.
Get Stingray Music on Google Play if you power on Android.
Clients with a Videotron mobile plan can take advantage of exclusive and easily accessible channels. These feature Quebec artists, as well as exclusive content produced by Videotron’s various partners, and themes that have a unique local flavour. Suffice it to say that Stingray Music channels offer you the perfect soundtrack for any occasion and you can access them wherever and whenever you want!
All you need to do is download the app from the App Store or Google Play to the device of your choosing. Then you’ll be all set to take advantage of over 2,000 music channels. Without getting into too many technical details, Stingray Music includes a number of specially designed features that create a super intuitive and personalized listening experience—and that, my friends, is something we all want.
Become a fountain of knowledge thanks to the millions of online podcasts
Finally, since you also enjoy learning about new things, let’s talk about podcasts. Based on the simple principle of information on demand, podcasts allow you to easily and instantly access audio and video content through the Internet. These can include your favourite radio or TV shows as well as content produced solely for the purpose of being shared in podcast format. Podcasts can take pretty much any shape or form and cover an infinity of subjects. Science, sports, tourism, video games and cooking are only a few examples. Not to mention the fast-growing trend of podcasts focused on culture, which can teach you more about history, politics and geography, help you learn a new language or discover encyclopedia-style facts.
As with music, choosing an app for podcasts can be overwhelming. You’ll probably have to do some research to find the right match for you, not only in terms of content, but also interface-wise. Generally speaking, Podcast Addict and Podcast Republic are pretty much the top choices if you have an Android device. For iOS, top marks go to Overcast, Pocket Casts or Castro. But hey, that’s just one guy’s opinion!