New downloading styles change listening habits

The music industry has taken a turn for the good. With emerging new artists and underground genres, the music listening world is under reconstruction. Music downloading has expanded from iTunes to many other music providing websites.

By Ellen Lee:

The music industry has taken a turn for the good. With emerging new artists and underground genres, the music listening world is under reconstruction. Music downloading has expanded from iTunes to many other music providing websites.

When iTunes was first created in 2001, the media player application earned instant popularity. Apple originally bought an application called SoundJam and transformed it into the software iTunes is today. iTunes was established to work hand-in-hand with the newest technological fad, the iPod, and with sales of 99 cent songs, the application was met with positive feedback and prominent acclaim.

iTunes users collectively bought songs to add to their playlists and MP3 players, but never really looked at their expenditures on iTunes. When Apple raised the price of each song to $1.29, the change triggered and inspired the creation of free music accessibility through other music websites and applications.

[pullquote]Today, online radios and applications are as common as iTunes itself. Online music sources like Spotify, Groove Shark, Pandora and Sound Cloud have established top-level rankings in the music listening world. [/pullquote]

Today, online radios and applications are as common as iTunes itself. Online music sources like Spotify, Groove Shark, Pandora and Sound Cloud have established top-level rankings in the music listening world.

These prominent online music sources offer a personalized experience at no cost. The services rely on advertisements and premium services, enabling them to be accessible for free. Groove Shark asks for specific artist or song names of the user’s preferences to determine a general sense of each user’s musical taste. The user can also provide positive or negative feedback on the song selection, allowing the website to quickly develop a feel for which artists and genres the user enjoys most favorably.

On Pandora, one can create a personalized “radio” station by simply entering a song or artist name he or she likes. With this information, the music service is able to compile a stream of songs and artists to the user’s station that are similar to the user’s original selection. The user can refine their musical preference by telling Pandora whether or not they enjoyed the song. Songs follows one after another, with a few advertisement and commercial breaks in between, generating a never-ending playlist of songs that appeal to the user.

Spotify offers similar functions as Groove Shark and Pandora. Spotify also has an iPod application, allowing users to export and sync music from their iPods onto their Spotify playlists. Users have control over all songs and can choose the order in which the songs play.

There is also a social networking aspect to the software. Premium users can share playlists between each other, and suggest songs for their friends to listen to. Spotify may have effectively revolutionized the way music is shared with this technology, and their partnership with Facebook will continue to bolster their success.

Youtube-mp3.org is another site that offers quick music downloading. This site is less complex and simply requires the user to insert the YouTube URL of any song of preference and convert it into an MP3 file. The MP3 file is then converted and can be synced into an MP3 or iPod. This site is often used by people who listen to music on their iPods and don’t necessarily use online music radios. It also can be used to find music that isn’t as commercialized, such as remixes, mixtapes and leaks.

Popularizing online music sources continues to debut new ways of music listening and sharing in the twenty-first century. However, the music world still lacks a fully-equipped competitor to iTunes that provides listening, sharing and downloading services. Despite the complexity of developing an iTunes replica, anything can happen in our world of innovative technology.

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