Like Pandora but much cooler, finetune is probably the best internet radio I’ve used yet.

The one thing I really love about Pandora is that you can give the thumbs up/down to songs played, thereby teaching the player what you like and what you don’t; unfortunately, finetune lacks this option. However, finetune allows you to skip through as many songs as you’d like (or should I say, don’t like) thereby allowing you to cut through the crap. Not to say that there’s much crap here - the automatic station creator is actually really intelligent (much more so than LAUNCHcast). The finetune team says that that their secret sauce is made of “7 years of accumulated listener data; Almost 100 Million listener hours; 13,000 user created playlists; a pinch of salt to taste” - and it shows.

I really enjoy firetune’s layout and slickness. The song quality is great, as is the variety. I also like how finetune invites you to explore playlists of other users in a very social but not-shitty-like-MySpace fashion.

finetune has a feature unique to the internet radio stations I’ve used in the ability to tag songs, artists, and albums with genres (or anything, really) to describe that music. Those tags are then publicly displayed across the finetune network wherein you can listen to music that matches the tag you specify.

Another really cool feature is the ability to embed playlists into websites. Here’s my first playlist:

Make your own playlist at http://finetune.com.

Tunes on the Cheap

There are lots of different music services out there, but allow me to highlight some of the most hawesomer ones I’ve come across:

  • AllofMP3 - I’ve blogged about them before, and I’ll do it again. AllofMP3 continues to be my favorite music service because of they’re insanely low rates - just $0.02 per MB or about $1.25 for an entire album. Compare that to $0.99 per song on iTunes and it’s easy to see why I love AllofMP3.
  • Pandora - It’s kinda like radio, but kinda not like anything else you’ve ever seen before. If you’ve used Yahoo!’s Launchcast service before then you probably understand how a radio can “learn” what you like by your ratings, etc. Pandora takes that philosophy and truly goes beyond to learn what you love and make new recommendations. Oh yeah, it’s free.
  • Lala - If physical CDs are your thing, Lala is for you. It’s like a community based Netflix or Blockbuster Online for music - send in your CDs to share, earn points, and spend your points on other CDs. I haven’t used the service myself, but the premise sounds cool.
  • Mercora - Dubbed “the world’s largest jukebox”, Mercora’s music is comprised of a P2P database connected to tons of custom playlists created by its users. While it is P2P, it’s all streamed - since it’s not actually downloaded to your computer and Mercora pays royalties, it’s both free and legal. I haven’t used it, but Eriq has; maybe he could elaborate on Mercora’s services.
  • Yahoo! Music Unlimited - Though it’s not free, YMU has a ton of music available for streaming and also offers tracks to download (though they’re significantly more expensive than AllofMP3). YMU incorporates Launchcast as well, so you can listen to a wide variety of music as the program learns your tastes.

I would recommend AllofMP3 over any other service because of three main reasons: 1) it’s hella cheap; 2) you keep the music you buy, and; 3) you pick the format and bitrate for your tunes. It really comes down to what you wanna do with your music, specifically, whether or not you wanna be able to take it with you, access it at any time, or just let the randomness of streaming radio take you where it will.

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