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College Jams: Music Streaming Services That Won't Hurt Your Wallet

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Free streaming music sites help students save a few bucks.

Free streaming music sites help students save a few bucks.

In the increasingly expensive world that we live in, you, a college student, are going to find every way possible to cut costs. Luckily, this very same world has produced a number of music streaming services that can fit your lifestyle and, more importantly, your budget.

While downloading sites like iTunes and Amazon are great for buying music to have on all your devices instantly, free streaming applications like Pandora and Spotify are perfect for college students.

Pandora operates like a music genome, playing a shuffle of songs based on a few recommendations that you plug in. It allows you to create different radio stations based on search options, like "Hits of the '90s" or "Artists Similar to Aerosmith." However, it can get a bit annoying when this randomization becomes too widespread and falls into a rut of bad music. At the same time, as a college radio DJ, I love stumbling on unknown artists that I can feature on my show.

Spotify, while it contains this music genome function, allows you to select specific songs on demand from its selection of millions of titles worldwide. This service is much more user-friendly; it allows you the pick only the music you want — no fluff.

Since the basic versions of these sites are free, you will be interrupted by ads every five or six songs. To avoid these interruptions, you can pay a small monthly fee to go premium, but in the grand scheme of things, a few ads can't hurt when you're hanging out in your dorm or doing homework.

A new site that has been creating quite the stir on the web is Grooveshark. This music streaming service allows you to create a queue of your favorite songs and broadcast them to other listeners on the site. If you're looking for new music, you can always just hop into an ongoing broadcast by clicking "Join Now" to hear stations like "Today's Top Hits" and "Sad Songs." I love the chat feature that allows you to message the DJ to request songs or get more information on the kind of music they are playing. The one downside to this site is the occasional glitches, as it has only recently been launched.

As an aficionado of good old fashioned CDs (the '90s version of me wore out many a copy of Matchbox Twenty's Mad Season and Green Day's Nimrod on his Discman), it pains me to not have the hard copy of all the music I listen to. But, as I mentioned earlier, the world is an increasingly expensive place. Luckily music streaming services help college kids save a couple of bucks. Plus, the 30-second ads give us a bathroom break!
Photo source: Wikicommons