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You may have a ton of music on your local hard drive that is getting old, maybe you don’t want to buy any music off iTunes, or maybe you just need an expansion of taste.  In any case, online streaming radio is here to save the day!

Today, we will talk about the top 5 online radio stations to fit your musical horizons.

(Note: Check out the radio tag for more related web apps.)

Sky.fm

sky.fm

Sky.fm, although not necessarily a “top-dog”, certainly features the best list of online streaming radio stations out of any site.

Sky.fm does not require a “premium” subscription for any of its radio stations, although it is optional and will get you an upgrade to a 256kbps stream (which is high quality) audio. For free users, radio stations can be played at up to 96kbp (which is slightly less than the standard 128kbps). Premium subscriptions are $4.95 per month.

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Sky.fm features genres ranging from: alternative rock, classic rock, flamenco, raggea, smooth jazz, and so on. One huge reason really hits home though: commercial free. This is extremely rare among online radio stations and is one of the most annoying things about traditional AM/FM radio.

Shoutcast

shoutcast

The most popular of all online radio directories, Shoutcast picks up streams from all across the web, organized in a number of ways that are extremely helpful. Shoutcast makes it easy to find thousands of streaming alternative rock, jazz, reggae, country, blues, etc. Shoutcast can even show you what is currently playing on any specific stream, what the bitrate is, how many listeners, and the format of the stream. I highly recommend checking it out.

Soma fm

soma.fm

Soma fm, with an even smaller listening audience than Sky.fm, features a great variety of Indie, Techno, Trance, Ambient, and Lounge music. Like Sky.fm, Soma fm does not feature ads, but does not have a premium feature (their only source of income is donations).

Each of the 18 stations though features a 128kbps MP3 stream for free. Another nice thing about Soma fm is that they place an entire set list/playlist of currently playing and previously playing songs, which is something that is absent on many online streaming radio stations.

AccuRadio

accuradio

Another extremely popular streaming radio site, AccuRadio has its fair share of pros and cons. Like the previously mentioned shoutcast, AccuRadio offers a wide variety of hundreds of stations of multiple genres, tailored precisely for you (with more of a Pandora kind of tailored radio).

The only con that can be easily determined, is that you must have your web browser open to listen to any AccuRadio station, unlike the more popular and convenient method of downloading a small playlist file and listening through your desktop. Still a very useful streaming site.

1Club.fm

1club.fm

1Club.fm is a relatively popular, multi-genre, radio station directory that will not disappoint. With over 90 different channels, finding your taste is of course not a problem. Simply click a link to any of the radio stations, listen in your browser, or download a .pls streaming audio file for quick access.

The only problem I had when listening to any of the stations was the quality/bitrate of the streams. Of the stations I tested, the only stream rate I could get was 64kbps (which is about half of the average mp3 bitrate). In any case, if your looking for a specific genre you will likely find it on 1Club.

Looking at the related articles MakeUseOf published in the past, I would like to bring your attention to:

3 Easy Tools to Record Streaming Music as MP3 Files 3 Easy Tools to Record Streaming Music as MP3 Files 3 Easy Tools to Record Streaming Music as MP3 Files Read More
The 3 Best Online Radio Players For Your Desktop The 3 Best Online Radio Players For Your Desktop The 3 Best Online Radio Players For Your Desktop Read More

What online radio stations do you listen to? Tell us in the comments!

  1. Megan
    November 8, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Are any of the sites good for free music downloads. I want free music downloads!!!!!!

  2. Hylissa
    October 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    jango.com - quite similar to pandora, but Jango works in Canada!

  3. Gappy
    October 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Nice list, thanks for info. But I think last.fm is most popular service especially in USA, also gappster.com is one of best online radio directories.

  4. sarah
    October 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    YAY! I love 1club. i have met so many great online friends through their portal. they have great stations and a very fun and active community. it is one of my favorite sites on the web that i make sure to visit as much as possible.

  5. dan
    October 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

    i also wanrted to point out that 1club doed offer free 128k streaming for their edm stations. the sound quality is actually very good

  6. dan
    October 14, 2009 at 9:00 am

    good list. my fave online stations is by far digitally imported and 1club.fm. they both have the best selections of edm. i thinl sky.fm is part of the digitally imported network but i could be wrong

    • Will Mueller
      October 14, 2009 at 9:22 am

      Thanks for the info Dan. I will check that out.

  7. charles
    October 14, 2009 at 7:11 am

    It is refreshing to see a list that is not al about Pandora. This is an excellent list of true internet radio stations without the millions thrown in behind them. Congrats to all stations included on this list - they are all class acts!

  8. Jeremy
    October 14, 2009 at 5:54 am

    I have been listening to 1club.fm for about two years and they never disappoint! They have the widest range of oldies, dance, and rock stations I have encountered. They have always remained my favourite online station and they are always innovating

  9. Denis
    October 14, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Wide range of music channels for any taste: polskastacja.pl/

  10. Robert
    October 13, 2009 at 2:07 am

    No list would be complete without streamingradioguide.com

    • Will Mueller
      October 14, 2009 at 9:24 am

      Looks like a good directory. Thanks.

  11. Chris
    October 13, 2009 at 12:08 am

    mikesradioworld.com is also a site I would highly recommend :)

  12. housetier
    October 12, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I can recommend filtermusic.net It's a directory of direct links to streams, grouped by genre. No ratings, no comments, just music :)

    The maintainer also accepts corrections and suggestions via email.

    • Will Mueller
      October 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

      Thanks for the info. I will check that out.

  13. Huepow00
    October 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Um....

    DI.FM? Anyone?

    di.fm/

    Digitally Imported - Electronic & Dance Music Radio 24/7

    • Will Mueller
      October 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

      Actually, Sky.fm and DI.fm are the same company and accounts will work on each. The only difference is DI.fm has a few more dance and electronic channels than Sky.fm.

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