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Still Missing Napster?

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If anything this post will make me seem like the old man I am, but remember Napster? Man those were the glory days. Do you know how many unreleased Radiohead and Soul Coughing songs I had access to in my early college days? There was no question (from me) about how cool I was. But, alas, great things can only last so long. The internet was baking a souffle of free music, and then Metallica started yelling, and it unceremoniously collapsed.

No matter how much I try, I can't get my cat to wear headphones.

Please allow me to lead in with the caveat that it is fundamentally unfair to the artist who is attempting to make a living from music. But I justify my past free music adventures by telling myself the following: I always felt guilty about getting free music from the internet (not really true), and I try to make up for it by still buying CD’s and records as often as my broke ass is able to (actually true–seriously, I think I’m the only one left). But nowadays, the guilt is gone because these internet radio sites pay the artist fees and labels and stuff. (I think that’s how it works.) These websites offer you the option to register on the site and have a profile like a social networking site, but I’m not really a “joiner,” so I haven’t “joined” either of these websites, so I don’t know if they both have the same type of thing going on once you get past those hoops. These observations are from and for the casual internet radio listener.

Pandora — I think this is a pretty well known and established site. It does the type in a song/artist and we’ll play you similar songs and expose you to new/forgotten things thing. I have had some good times with Pandora. Sometimes, it’s like it is reading my mind (“Oh, shit! How did it know that I NEEDED to hear Sam & Dave right now?”) and other times it misses the mark (“Really, Pandora? Is Kajagoogoo really that similar to The Sea And Cake?”).

Grooveshark — A recent find for myself, and quite an improvement on Pandora. You can type in an artist and actually hear that artist instead of what the site thinks is similar that you might like. Not just that, you can go album by album, listen to someone’s playlist, or make your own playlist. Going to this website is like having infinite iTunes at your disposal.

Still preferable.

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Joe Petersen - Classist Columnist

Joe Petersen - Classist Columnist

Joe grew up in South San Francisco, spent a decade in Santa Cruz, and
relocated to Brooklyn in late 2008. He has been a waiter, a maintenance
man, a record store clerk, a professional radio DJ, an amateur
newcaster and a movie theater popcorn-slinger. Being broke is his
birthright, as he is from broke stock and has limited prospects. He
likes comic books and is obsessed with soul music.


  1. Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe
    January 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I’m all about Hype Machine

  2. Bob
    February 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Meh, you don’t have to buy CDs if you feel guilty about it. The way to really compensate artists is to attend their live shows (and pay for the tickets!) since if you buy CDs you’re really just helping out the labels. Every tour t-shirt helps.