The Internet has helped to democratize the state of music-listening. It has never been easier to fine and share music online, and the tools with which you can do so are increasing in function. From Internet radio to free music-listening online, every type of music lover can find the tool that fits his or her needs.
Music tools can match any budget. Users who want to find free music online can do so, and users who don't mind paying for a higher-quality experience can do that, as well. Really, it's a win-win situation for all music lovers -- no matter what kind of music you like to listen to!
One incredibly useful tool for making it through the workday is Internet radio. Internet radio stations can be set and then forgotten about, allowing you to spend less time focusing on playlists and worrying about which song will play next, and more time listening to the music and doing other things.
The most popular Internet radio service is Pandora. Pandora gradually learns which types of songs you like best, and caters your stations to your preferences. For example, if you set up a Radiohead station but hit "Thumbs Down" on every heavy song, Pandora learns that you don't have an affinity for heavy music.
Unfortunately, Pandora is only available in America. Users in other countries that want to experience something similar to Pandora should try Slacker. Slacker Radio doesn't have the customizable feature set of Pandora, but provides streaming music in radio format.
If you want more control over the music you listen to, try Grooveshark. Grooveshark is like YouTube in that you can search for songs that you want to listen to them and listen to them on demand. If you are craving a particular Bob Dylan album, you can listen to it instantly on Grooveshark.
The main limitation of Grooveshark is that you can only listen to the songs on your computer. You cannot, for instance, load up the songs on your iPod or other mp3 player and listen to them while you run.
If you own an iPhone or iPod touch, you may find Rdio to be right up your alley. Rdio costs just a few dollars per month, and provides high quality streaming of songs. The kicker, though, is the iPhone application. Users of Rdio can, effectively, listen to any song they want, any time, anywhere. While it doesn't compete with Grooveshark's free price, it arguably provides a more versatile and rich user experience.
The many tools available to music lovers only keeps growing in number. This time next year, there may well be a new generation of online music tools, each one leveraging new technologies and methodologies of finding and sharing music. Until then, though, music lovers should try the cutting edge tools available online. It's simply remarkable how much music you can (legally!) enjoy without paying a dime.
Note: all information contained in this article was accurate at the time of this writing.