Like books, letters and social interaction, music too is now an online experience.

These days no one really has the time to sit down after work, slide in their favourite Mark Knopfler CD/DVD and listen to their favourite tracks. Music, once an experience on its own, is now something that people do while going through the motions every single day.

You plug in your iPod while waiting at the bus stop, tune in to the radio while driving to work or stream music through your smartphone while getting your morning cuppa chai. Like most other things we do; information we consume, this too has mainly become mobile.

And now, you do not even have the luxury of time to go through album after album of your favourite artist. The habit becomes even more difficult when there are tons of new artists coming up with great music (No, I don't mean Justin Bieber!) that you might be missing out on. So how can you stay tuned with both the old and the new while being mobile? The answer is online. Thanks to the on-the-move trend there are now a crop of Web sites and services that cater to audiophiles.

Old favourite

Most people - and by most, I mean, those of us who aren’t living in the 1990s anymore - use Google Chrome for Web browsing. And the best part is, the Google Chrome Web Store has a bunch of options to help you with your musical needs. You can download the Grooveshark app on to your browser and one click takes you to millions of songs that you can stream and listen to online. You can search for your favourites and create a customised playlist to listen to. Or, you can try out playlists that others have created.

It's a hit because - If you don’t remember the title of a song but do remember that it features in say ‘Billboard Hits’ last year, you can just type in that as a keyword and all songs which fit the profile will be on display. How convenient is that!

It's a miss because – The buffering times can be painfully slow if you have a not-so-fast internet connection.

Hype it up

This music aggregation blog of sorts has been around for the last seven years or so, but it’s only now that the site has become uber-cool. ‘Hype Machine’ tracks blogs on the Web and detects which songs are the most popular one around that time. It also tells you how many blogs are playing that particular song and hyperlinks them so you can go visit those to discover more musical gems. An in-built music player lets you listen to any track featured in the blog. You can also click on a ‘heart’ to favourite them and come back and instantly access the trippiest tunes. And, of course, there are small tweets buttons for you to spread the joy.

Also available as an iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 app.

It's a hit because - You have an option to ‘Spy’ on what people are listening to not just around the world but exclusively in your State as well.

It's a miss because - The top tunes don’t change much on a daily basis so you might end up listening to the same couple of songs over the span of a week.

Right on track

A rather recent boon to the music services space, ‘8tracks’ is a Web site (and a downloadable app) which will have you sit back and let strangers dictate what you listen to. The only music you can listen to on this service is on playlists created/curated by people around the world. Each playlist is based on a certain theme for e.g. ‘40’s Classics’, ‘Dubstep Remix’ or ‘Ultimate Driving Playlist’.

It's a hit because - All playlists are tagged so you can choose keywords like party, summer, workouts etc and start listening a playlist depending on your mood.

It's a miss because - You can’t skip more than two tracks in an hour. And, there’s no preview of what tracks are included in the playlist.

Online hunters

‘We Are Hunted’, a music aggregation Web site, similar to Hype Machine tracks the hottest songs across blogs, Twitter, Facebook, online forums as well as downloaded torrents. On the interface, it displays the top 99 tracks of the day for you to browse through

It's a hit because - Very simplistic interface and hosts really good new music on the Web.

It's a miss because - It randomly skips tracks in the list.

So, you know what to plug in to now when your boss isn’t around! Unless he’s just finished reading this as well!

(This article was published on August 23, 2012)
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