I’ve got some incredibly bipolar musical interests, and it feels as if I’ve been listening to the same 2,000 songs for the past many years. Manually finding new musical interests is a thing of the past thanks to Pandora and alternatives, and streaming music and Internet radio is on a huge uptick thanks to applications like Spotify. You’re probably using one of the two as you read this article right now.
No matter how many automated taste-tweaking applications I go through, nothing compares to the experience that I’ve received for years and years over at SomaFM. When I’m bored of the music from typical Internet radio, Soma is where I go. It’s a radio network like no other.
The first thing you should know about SomaFM is that it’s free. There are no commercials or ads, it is supported by donations from loyal listeners, and it streams hand-picked music 24/7.
SomaFM has over 20 channels, specializing in underground and alternative radio. Some of my favorite SomaFM channels include the following:
- Groove Salad, specializing in downtempo electronica.
- Lush, which is almost exclusively electronica behind female vocals.
- Suburbs of Gao, offering a very fresh taste of Asian music.
- Mission Control, which is awesome and unique as it has NASA mission recordings over top of ambient tunes.
- Drone Zone, featuring atmospheric music and ambiance.
Others include covers, indie pop, alternative rock, dubstep, house, and more. The channels are all really unique and I can promise you’ll hear something you’ve never heard before if you listen in. You can find a full list of the available Internet radio stations on the main page. The stations support listening through Winamp, Windows Media Player, and other popular applications. Many are offered in 128k or 64k AAC or MP3 format.
If you’re interesting in checking out what type of music is being played on Soma, check out their Playlists feature. Here, you’re able to check out their top spins and charts, as well as recently played tracks on every one of their channels.
If you’re a RadioSure user (which you should be), you’ll be pleased to know that the RadioSure database stays updated with all of Soma’s channels.
Listening is as easy as double-clicking the station you want to hear. SomaFM and RadioSure work in perfect harmony and brings a flawless desktop radio experience. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I didn’t have those two around to occupy my ears in times of need.
I’ve personally used the app for my iPod touch and can say that it’s just as awesome and functional as the web interface.
While SomaFM isn’t exactly a Pandora replacement, as it’s only a network of channels and stations, it can definitely be your favorite place to find new and interesting music. Let me know what you guys think of SomaFM in the comments.