Listing to music online has been around for some time, but only in the past little while, has it really become mainstream with so many options to choose from. It really is quite incredible – we have the opportunity to find music like never before, and listen to copious amounts of it!
But there are still some gaps to fill. For instance, audio files can be embedded into webpages, but those webpages have no way to listen to all the music. Or what about controlling the playing and pausing of songs on websites that don’t respond to your keyboard controls? These are just two of the several problems that still exist, despite the great conveniences of music on the Internet.
In this article we’ll talk about seven tools that will change how you listen and interact with your online tunes.
Songdrop (Chrome & Bookmarklet)
You probably don’t only listen to music in one location on the web. You might find about an artist through a song embedded in a blog post, then read about them on a website, which contains a YouTube video of them performing live. How do you take these two audio clips, from different sources, and save them (and future songs) in one place for easy listening? Songdrop is your solution.
How does Songdrop collect these songs? Through its Dropit button, which comes in the form of a Chrome extension and bookmarklet. We’ve actually covered Songdrop in more depth previously on MakeUseOf.
Anesidora is a Chrome extension that allows you to listen to your Pandora stations without having a tab open at all. You can simply log in with your Pandora account credentials and it will load all your stations for listening directly in your Chrome browser. It has created some controversy since there aren’t any ads that play through the extension, however according to the developer, he doesn’t support the lack of ads in the extension:
Unfortunately due to Pandora using a closed API I have no choice in the matter. I offered to give Pandora ownership of my extension and they declined. They do this to themselves.
To find out more about Anesidora, refer to the MakeUseOf article.
Exfm (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
Exfm, a website and browser extension, is a tool that collects displays any audio files from the webpage you’re visiting. For example, let’s say you visit one of Tina’s Sound Sunday articles. With Exfm installed, it will automatically pull the embedded audio files and allow you to play them, even after navigating away from the page.
Below is an image of what Exfm looks like on a webpage, notice the controls, queue and options to “favorite”, share and shuffle.
Want to close that page? No worries – the tracks have already been saved in your queue. However, you now are able to control them through the Exfm button in the Chrome browser.
Last.fm Scrobbler (Facebook App)
The Last.fm Scrobbler Facebook app has been mentioned a couple different times. Probably the one you might remember the most was in the slightly sarcastic, but educational article from Craig about apps you can use to help Facebook invade your life. As you might have guessed, the Last.fm Scrobbler app was one of them.
If you’re playing with a program or service that doesn’t have the ability to post to Facebook, but does scrobble to Last.fm, you can use this as a workaround.
Sway.fm Unified Music Media Keys (Chrome)
Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of compatibility that websites have with your media keys on your keyboard? Instead of being able to just hit the Play/Pause, Previous or Next buttons, you have to go to the webpage and manually click the controls. Sway.fm Unified Music Media Keys takes care of that problem.
Previously, Justin has covered it here and did an excellent job with a thorough review.
One thing to note is that if you’re unable to install this in Chrome on Windows 8, it’s because there is a compatibility issue. To get around this, put Chrome in Windows 7 compatibility mode and the you’ll be able to install and use the extension.
Flutter (Windows, Mac, Chrome)
Would you believe me if I told you that you can control your media player with your hand? Yep, just like the Xbox Kinect. But this time, all you need is your webcam and three steady hand gestures.
Flutter works with iTunes, Spotify, Winamp, VLC and Windows Media Player on Windows and Mac. However, in addition to those local apps, Flutter can also control YouTube, Netflix, Grooveshark and Pandora via the Chrome extension.
Flutter has actually been covered on MakeUseOf before, once by Simon and another time by Dave, who went more in depth, gearing it towards Mac users (but the same applies to Windows users). I recommend you look into both of those articles for more information – it’s been an excellent app for me to use.
I now use it more than ever since owning my new, almost perfect laptop, which has one slight imperfection – no media keys (play/pause, forward, back).
Plus Music (Chrome)
Plus Music is a Chrome extension that focuses on discovering music and instantly playing it from anywhere on the web. For instance, if you’re reading about a new artist, you can simply click the icon, type in the artists name and listen to their music right in the extension. Plus Music has four standout features that integrate into Facebook:
- Artist Recognition: it knows when you’re on an official band page and lets you listen with a single click.
- Similar Artists: Suggests similar artists on Facebook.
- Universal Remote: Control playback in the Facebook interface.
- Easy Sharing: You can find and attach songs to share directly in Facebook without ever leaving.
Outside of the Facebook integration, Plus Music also has great searching capabilities, instant play through right clicking an artist’s name, and smart suggestions. It also can scrobble to Last.fm, share complete tracks – not just a clip and create a mix in the queue.
Now should you use all of these music listening tools together? Technically, none of them should interfere with each other, but I’m definitely an advocate of keeping extensions and apps down to a minimum. So let me ask you: which ones are your favorites?
Have you used any of these before? If not, which ones do you feel would fit best into your own lifestyle? If you have any other recommendations that I missed, feel free to share those in the comments below as well!