Listen to music legally, for free

Jacob Nahin

Graphic courtesy of

Limewire, Bit Torrent. Regardless of the name, if you’re getting your music using on one of these services, you should probably stop. The Recording Industry Association of America, with its team of lawyers, has made a lot of press with its lawsuits, forcing universities like CSUN to clamp down on file-sharing. While sharing unlicensed, copyrighted music is illegal, there are a number of free, legitimate services which aim to bring your music life into harmony.

First up is Pandora, an online music service which belongs to a sub-genre known as “music discovery.” Simply create “channels” by entering your favorite genres, artists, and songs and Pandora will find music that matches them. As you use Pandora, make sure to vote on each song with a “thumbs up” or a thumbs down.” This will help the service determine which songs to bring you.

Want to take Pandora with you? If you have an iPhone, a Blackberry, or an Android-based phone you’re in luck. The service offers free mobile apps for all three operating systems. Other services similar to Pandora include and Slacker Radio.

Still, sometimes “music discovery” doesn’t cut it. Whether it’s a song stuck in your head or an on-the-wall decision whether or not to purchase a song, Grooveshark might meet your needs. Similar to Myspace Music, Grooveshark streams music you request to your computer. For example, type “Cold Play” into the service’s “Search for Music” box and you’ll be presented with full tracks from albums such as “Clocks” and “Viva La Vida.” Finally, Grooveshark also allows uploading, favorites and play-lists.