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The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile

Ben Stegner 29-11-2017

Are you an audiophile? Are You an Audiophile? These 10 Questions Reveal the Truth You might think you are an audiophile, but in reality very few music lovers tick all of the necessary boxes. Are you really an audiophile? Or are you just a great pretender? Read More If so, you can find hundreds of websites that provide audiophiles with ways to listen to, discover, and buy music. But with so many out there, what are the essential sites you should bookmark?

This guide is available to download as a free PDF. Download The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile now. Feel free to copy and share this with your friends and family.

As is our wont here at MakeUseOf, we have uncovered the biggest sites for music fans in several categories. Whether you want to buy an album, stream endless songs, discover new music, or just learn more about it, these pages have what you’re looking for…

Streaming Music

We start with the best services for streaming music, since buying music is so old-school, right? If you don’t like any of these services, check out the best music streaming sites that have zero restrictions The 8 Best Free Online Music Streaming Services With No Limitations Want to listen to free music without limitations? Here are the best free music streaming services with no restrictions. Read More .


Pandora is the king of internet radio How to Find the Best Internet Radio Stations In this article, we explain why you might want to start (or go back to) listening to internet radio, as well as showing you how to find the best internet radio stations for you. Read More , and for good reason. The service allows you to create a station from any artist, song, or genre and hear music similar to it. Rating the songs allows you to personalize your stations, but it’s also a great service for getting some music going without thinking too much.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 01 Pandora Radio

You can listen to Pandora for free if you don’t mind putting up with ads and limited skips. Pandora also offers a $5/month Plus plan with ad-free radio and a few extra perks, and the $10/month Premium plan that allows for on-demand listening 6 Reasons Why You Should Try Pandora Premium Pandora Premium faces some tough competition. However, having tested this new music streaming service for a couple of weeks, we've come up with six reasons why you should try it. Read More like the services listed below.



If Pandora is the best option for listening to “radio,” then Spotify is the boss of music streaming Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More . In just a few minutes, you can sign up for an account and start listening to any song you want. Spotify has also expanded in recent years to offer a lot more than music, including podcasts and even some videos.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile spotify discover weekly

Spotify’s Free plan includes adverts and limits you to shuffle mode when listening on your phone. However, we think the $10/month Premium plan is a great deal Is Spotify Premium Worth Its Premium Price? Is Spotify Premium worth its premium price? Discover what Premium offers and whether you should upgrade from Spotify Free. Read More if you don’t already subscribe to another service. You can use Spotify’s Web Player, but it’s pretty terrible Everything Wrong With the New Spotify Web Player Did you know Spotify has now given its Web Player a makeover? Well, we say "upgrade," but this feels more like a downgrade. Here's why. Read More , so you should probably just stick to using the desktop app instead.

Apple Music

Apple Music offers a similar package Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More to Spotify, but it’s unsurprisingly tailored for those in the Apple ecosystem. The service prides itself on helping you discover new music and creating high-quality playlists. You can also merge your existing iTunes library seamlessly How to Use Apple Music With Your iTunes Music Collection Here's how to upload your own music collection to Apple Music to access your full library on iPhones, Macs, and other devices. Read More with the music you stream.


Apple Music is available on iDevices as well as Windows (via iTunes) and an Android app. Unlike Spotify, it doesn’t offer a free plan — after a three-month trial, you have to pay $10/month. Since the services are so similar, check out our comparison Amazon Music vs. Spotify vs. Apple Music: Which Is Best for You? This comparison of Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, and Spotify, will help you find the best music streaming service for you. Read More to see which is the best for you.

Google Play Music

On the other side of the mobile coin is Google Play Music. It’s quite similar to Apple Music in that it doesn’t offer free on-demand streaming. However, with a free plan you can upload up to 50,000 of your own tracks The 7 Best Google Play Music Features Is Google Play Music worth trying? Here are seven of the most compelling features you'll find within Google's streaming music service. Read More and listen to radio. Subscribing to Google Play Music also includes YouTube Red, the premium plan for YouTube Is YouTube Premium Worth the Cost? 7 Things You Need to Consider Is YouTube Premium's cost worth it? We look into the pros and cons of YouTube's paid version. Read More that removes the ads and grants paid subscribers some special features.

Google Play Music is available on the web as well as Android and iOS apps. Check out how it stacks up to Spotify and Apple Music Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Here's our comparison of music streaming services Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music on price, quality, and catalog. Read More if you can’t decide.


Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music all offer almost exactly the same package. But Tidal, owned by rapper Jay-Z, works a bit differently. Tidal prides itself on high-fidelity music Is Jay Z's Tidal Music Worth a Second Listen? We weren't impressed by Jay Z's TIDAL at launch. Now, one year on, we thought we’d check in to see if TIDAL is worth using... Read More , and offers two plans: Premium and HiFi. Premium is $10/month, while HiFi is $20/month and provides you with lossless quality music.


The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 02 Tidal Music

Tidal also offers exclusive content, including music videos. It claims to pay more royalties to music artists, but as many of the owners are already millionaires we’re not sure if this is a big deal for most people. $20/month is a lot to ask for HD audio when other services offer “good enough” quality How Audio Compression Works, and Can You Really Tell the Difference? In this article, we'll take a look at how music compression works, and whether it has any real effect on how your music actually sounds. Read More for half the price, though — so we’ll see if Tidal will stand the test of time Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Jay Z recently relaunched Tidal, the music streaming service he acquired for $56 million. Tidal has 99 problems, and the pitch is one. Read More .

Other Streaming Services

We could fill an entire article with various streaming services. But here are a few others worth your consideration if the above don’t fit your needs How to Pick the Best Music Streaming Service for You Do you use a music streaming service? If so, how do you know you're using the best one for you personally? Read More :

Buying Music

Do you prefer to purchase music so you aren’t tied to streaming and can load up your standalone MP3 player The Best Standalone MP3 Player for All Budgets A dedicated MP3 player has many advantages over listening to music on your phone. Which is the best MP3 player for you? Read More instead? Then here are your best options.



Until the music streaming revolution began, iTunes was the destination most people headed to purchase digital music. While paid music sales have declined iTunes Sales Are Declining – Is This the End of Paid Music Downloads? Spotify is replacing iTunes for many users – will that tend continue? Read More , you can still buy music and load up your iPod Touch Should You Buy Apple's Best iPod Touch Ever? The new sixth generation iPod Touch is the best iPod Apple has ever made, but it suffers from one fatal flaw: nobody actually needs one. Read More or iPhone, or listen in iTunes on your desktop.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 03 Buy iTunes Music

Pricing varies, but as a general rule, new songs cost $1.29 each and albums cost $10 or $11. Deluxe albums, older music, and the like may feature different prices. If you buy a lot of albums, it’s hard to justify paying $10 for each one when $10 gets you Apple Music for a month though.


If you don’t have any Apple devices, Amazon is a great option for purchasing digital music. Once you buy some music, you can listen to it using the Amazon Web Player. If you don’t like this, you can also download your MP3s and listen to them through your favorite desktop media player The 5 Best Free Music Players for Windows Downloading music still has its benefits. For one, you can play music even when you don't have internet access. But which music player should you use? Find the best free music players here. Read More .

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 04 Buy Music Amazon

Like iTunes, songs typically cost $1.29 each and new albums go for around $10-$11. If you want to go really old-school and buy a physical CD Don't Sell Your CDs & DVDs! 5 Downsides to Going Digital You name it, there's probably a digital market for it. And while digital is awesome in many ways, it definitely isn't perfect. Here are five reasons why. Read More , Amazon also includes a digital version of the album at no extra cost. In some cases this is actually cheaper than buying the album digitally, like with Michael Jackson’s Thriller above.

Google Play

Google Play Music, which is included on Android The Best Music Player on Android: Google Play Music Reviewed Google Play Music is a music streaming service, a local music player, and a podcast player all mashed into one. And it's great. Read More , offers a similar deal to iTunes if you want to purchase music instead of stream it. Visit the page for any album or song, and you’ll see options for buying it. Per the standard, songs cost $1.29 each and albums cost between $7 and $12 depending on their popularity and the number of songs.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 05 Buy Music Google Play

Watch the homepage for specials if you want to get hold of music on the cheap.

A Note on the Microsoft Store

Microsoft recently announced the end of its Groove Music service Microsoft Is Killing Groove Music Because Spotify Microsoft is killing off Groove Music and helping its users switch to Spotify instead. Because Groove Music is a bit meh, while Spotify is awesome. Read More in favor of Spotify. In fact, this also applies to its music sales. On December 31, 2017, Microsoft will stop selling music and focus on streaming instead. You will still be able to listen to music you’ve purchased in the past through the Groove Music app, but you will no longer be able to stream it.

This means you need to download any music you’ve purchased from the Microsoft Store How to Download Your Groove Music Songs Before They Disappear Microsoft is shutting down Groove Music in favor of Spotify. If you've purchased music from Groove, you should download it now to avoid losing it in 2018. Read More before the end of 2017 to avoid losing it.

Discovering Music

If you want to find new music or take your listening to the next level, these sites will help.


Last.fm has been around for a long time, but it once suffered from trying to wear too many hats and not wearing any of them very well. Over the past few years, Last.fm has completely revamped itself Remember Last.fm? A Fresh Look at the Redesigned Music Service With a new redesign now available as an open beta, Last.fm is heading out on its own comeback tour. But is this music service worth revisiting? Read More for the better. No more radio or pseudo-social network features; Last.fm is now solely about helping you to discover new music.

It does this by scrobbling — keeping track of the music you listen to everywhere and using it to recommend more music to you. This makes Last.fm one of the best ways to discover new music 7+ Easy Ways to Discover New Music You Will Love The depth and breadth of music to be discovered these days is mind-boggling. The problem is knowing where to look. We're here to help with an incredible list of resources just for you. Read More , so use the instructions to link your Last.fm account to your favorite music services and you’ll have new suggestions ready before you know it.


Listening to recorded music is awesome, but there’s no substitute for seeing your favorite band live. BandsInTown helps make sure you never miss a concert Never Miss a Live Concert Again With These 6 Sites Did you just miss a music concert that you would have loved to see? Use these 6 ways to get notified when your favorite bands are in town. Read More in your area. You can set how far you’re willing to travel for a show, and decide which bands you want to see notifications for. It’s an all-in-one solution for making sure you know when the artists you love are playing nearby.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 06 Bandsintown Track Artist

Unfortunately there’s no web app available for BandsInTown. You’ll have to either use the Facebook app or download the iOS or Android apps to do any more than check out tour dates for an artist.


Musixmatch is a premier lyrics website. If you’re ready to stop humming the parts you don’t know How to Find Songs by Humming Lyrics: 4 Music Finding Apps Finding songs and music by humming or repeating fragments of the lyrics is possible with this list of music finding apps. Read More and instead actually learn the words to your favorite songs, this is a great site to bookmark. Enter any song, and you can view its lyrics in a clean layout. Generous contributors have also translated many songs into other languages.

You might remember this service as it was once integrated into Spotify How to Restore the Best Features Spotify Has Removed Spotify may be the best music streaming service available, but it has shed a few features in recent years. Find out how to get the best lost features of Spotify back for good. Read More . If you miss that real-time lyric feature, Musixmatch’s mobile app can tag songs The 3 Best Music Recognition Apps to Find Songs by Their Tune Shazam is the best-known music recognition app, but how does the competition compare? We put three song finder apps to the test. Read More and display lyrics as you play them.


If you follow any independent artists, you’ve probably visited Bandcamp a few times. This service allows artists to set up their own page with their music, merchandise, social links, and more. While the artist usually sets a price for their music, they can also use a “name your price” scheme and even let you download the album for free.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 07 Smooth McGroove Bandcamp

Many YouTube artists that create covers of video game music Video Game Music Radio: The Perfect Background Noise for Geeks There's something about video game music that earns it a special place in gamers' hearts. The seven stations stream all the video game music you could want! Read More , or similar “alternative” types of music, use Bandcamp. It’s a great place to support musicians who can’t afford to host their music anywhere else, and you may even end up discovering your new favorite band.


Jamendo is a community for people who love music. It features hundreds of thousands of tracks from independent artists that you can stream and download at no cost. The interface is extremely polished, too. You’ll find hand-crafted playlists, a radio function, and you can even create an account to track your favorites.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 08 Jamendo Music

What’s great about Jamendo is that the company helps artists make money by connecting them to people who need music for commercial use. Anyone looking for background music for a commercial, for instance, can visit Jamendo and get in touch with an artist who’s willing to license their music. It’s also one of the best ways to discover indie artists 7 Websites to Discover New Music by Indie Artists If mainstream music doesn't appeal, you should check out indie artists online. Here are seven websites to help you discover new music by indie artists from around the world. Read More .


SoundCloud needs no introduction. It’s one of the most popular sites for uploading and sharing your music with the world. Anyone can use SoundCloud for their cover or original song, but there’s a lot more to the service 7 Reasons Why You Should Start Using SoundCloud Today SoundCloud is often thought of as a hangout for indie kids and backyard bands - a place to discover new music. And that's true to an extent, but it's far from the full story. Read More than meets the eye, including some major artists. If you want to find music you’ve never heard before, this is a great site to visit.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 09 SoundCloud Music

SoundCloud offers two premium plans: SoundCloud Go and SoundCloudGo+. The former is $5/month; it removes the ads and lets you save music for offline listening. Go+, which we previously reviewed and found a waste of money Is SoundCloud Go Worth It? Everything You Need to Know SoundCloud Go is a new premium music streaming service designed to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, but is it worth paying for? Read More when it was named SoundCloud Go, is $10/month and includes “premium” tracks. These are songs by “big name” artists like you’d find on other music streaming sites.

Analyzing Music

For our final category, let’s look at the best sites that dive deeply into music. These offer reviews, analysis, and more.


Genius is a site that lets you dig into your favorite music. Any user can sign up to help add information about albums, artists, and songs. If you search for a song, you can then see user annotations over its various lyrical lines. These let fans of a band discuss what they think the lyrics mean.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 10 Genius Lyrics Annotation

For some artists, you’ll even find links to interviews or other official sources where they confirmed the meaning of a song. Rounding out this collection of knowledge are brief bios and links to social media sites on artist pages.

Lyric interpretations are the coolest part of the site, but you’ll find music news and videos too. Join the community and you’ll earn “Genius IQ” points for contributing.


MusicBrainz is what you’d get if Wikipedia and IMDb had a baby that was exclusively interested in music. This site isn’t the prettiest to look at, but it contains a wealth of information about music. Like Wikipedia, it lets anyone contribute How Contributing to Open Source Projects Can Teach You Life Skills We've looked at the benefits of using open source software, but what about the other way around: contributing to them? Can getting involved in an open source project aid your personal development? Read More and like IMDb, it contains everything you’d want to know about an artist and their work.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 11 MusicBrainz Page

You can search by a wealth of different criteria, but it’s a bit tough to navigate around the site for a few reasons. One of them is how the service keeps a separate entry for every album version, including deluxe editions, two-disc sets, re-releases, and the like. Also, it doesn’t organize searches by relevance. If you look up “Rush,” you get a no-name rapper and several other little-known groups before the band you’re probably actually looking for.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 12 MusicBrainz Search

However, if you can look past the hiccups, this site has a lot to offer. It keeps a unique ID for every element on the site, helping you distinguish between two artists with the same name for example. If you look up a track, you can see every album it was released on, including greatest hits albums and covers. Open up a band member, and you might find that they were in other group for a time.

Take a look and you could discover some cool connections!


AllMusic is a good all-round music site. It features news, recent reviews, and editor’s choices on the front page. If you sign in, you can even get personalized recommendations based on your tastes. But we’ve included AllMusic on the list for two standout reasons.

The best thing about AllMusic is its recommendation feature. Whenever you visit an artist’s discography page, you’ll see a blue logo next to the site’s top album pick. Select any album, and you can also see top tracks for that release. This is a fantastic feature that helps newcomers to a band know which albums and songs to check out first.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 13 AllMusic Recommendation

Second is the Discover page. Visit this, and you can search by an impressive amount of filters. You can fine-tune your genre selection 20 Obscure Music Genres You Should Listen to on Spotify Join us as we navigate through some of Spotify's weirdest and most wonderful music genres. There's a chance you won't have heard of any of them before. Read More , recording type, and even moods and themes. Want to find some live acoustic Chicago blues music released between 1980 and 1987 that has a bittersweet mood and an empowering theme? You can look that up here.

The Internet Music Guide for the Audiophile 14 AllMusic Discover

What Are Your Favorite Music Sites?

In this guide we have provided a snapshot of some of the most useful music sites on the internet, whether you’re an audiophile or not. Whether you want to start streaming with a new service How to Move to a New Music Streaming Service Are you considering switching to a new music streaming service? Unfortunately, doing so is fraught with difficulties. However, using these tricks can make your migration a lot easier. Read More , purchase some music, discover some fresh tunes, look up reviews, or just learn about the music you love, these sites can help you out.

Of course, these are far from the only important music-related sites. We didn’t include SongMeanings, a good place for discussing lyrics if Genius lets you down, and Wikipedia, which is, of course, a great place to learn a bit about any artist, song, or album you care to mention.

For even more sites, check out the most important music sites for audiophiles The 7 Best Music Streaming Services for Audiophiles Audiophiles can be a fussy bunch. However, these music streaming services for audiophiles should keep you happy. Read More .

Now we want to know what you, fellow music lovers, think. What websites do you consider essential bookmarks? Do you usually visit sites to listen to music, discover new tracks, or something else? Please add your favorite music sites to the list in the comments below!

Image Credit: peus/Depositphotos

Related topics: Amazon, Apple Music, Google Play Music, iTunes, Last.fm, Longform Guide, Pandora, SoundCloud, Spotify, Streaming Music.

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  1. likefunbutnot
    November 30, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I like Classical Music and herein lies a problem.
    Essentially all of the aforementioned sites cater to what I'm going to broadly call Popular music. Popular music is simple to categorize. Nearly all of it has been created since the age of recorded music and the overwhelming majority of it will be a 1:1 correspondence between one song on one album by one artist.

    Classical music (and to a lesser extent jazz) isn't like that. A piece might have been recorded hundreds or thousands of times by different musicians. It might be grouped by the ensemble, soloist, conductor or composer. Album names aren't really a thing in classical music; an album's title is often just a list of what's in a group of tracks.

    No service that isn't purpose made for classical music handles it properly. Amazon, Apple, Google, Spotify et al are endless pits of bad meta-data. Search is made difficult or impossible as tracks from the same album might be grouped by the conductor name for one track and the soloist on another.

    The ideal fix would be to bring all music data up to the standard of classical music, but that's not going to happen. The people who designed the databases for this stuff just don't understand the scope of the problem and can't be bothered to care. I will give Amazon a tiny bit of credit, in that they at least break classical music out from everything else in their store so that music-for-purchase can be handled with proper rigor, but it doesn't help for their streaming services.

    So if you like classical music, you need stores and streaming services purpose-built to cater to it, like the ones from Naxos and DG. Don't even bother with anything like Spotify. It's just going to create more work for you as a listener.

    • Ben Stegner
      November 30, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      While I'm not a major fan of classical music myself, I totally understand your point and it is indeed a nightmare to search popular streaming services for a particular piece of music.

      I don't know if you're seen it, but we covered a service called Primephonic that's a sort of "Spotify for classical music" and aims to rectify a lot of these issues. That might be something you enjoy:


  2. Billy Jack
    November 29, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Along with the aforementioned Spotify and MusicBrainz, here are some other invaluable sources to find and curate music.

    - Music-Map (like bands) | http://www.music-map.com/
    - Muspy (track artist album releases) | https://muspy.com/
    - TasteDive Music (recommendations) | https://tastedive.com/music
    - GNOOSIC (relational recommendations) | http://www.gnoosic.com/
    - Music Suggestions Ninja (relational recommendations)
    Purchase (FLAC)
    - 7digital | https://us.7digital.com/
    - Bandcamp | https://bandcamp.com/
    - Murfie Music | https://www.murfie.com/
    - Flac It! (shady but real) | https://flacit.com/

    Tagging Software
    - MP3tag | https://www.mp3tag.de/en/

    Music File Manipulation
    - dBpoweramp | https://www.dbpoweramp.com/

    Album/Band Art
    - Fan Art | https://fanart.tv/music-fanart/
    - Reddit Album Art Porn | https://www.reddit.com/r/AlbumArtPorn/

  3. Billy Jack
    November 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I've attempted multiple times to post an extensive list of sites/tools for music discovery and curation but I'm not seeing the post realized.

    • Ben Stegner
      November 30, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Billy, thanks so much for your contribution. Your comment was likely held for automatic approval since it contains a lot of links (which is usually a sign of spam). Thanks for your patience and adding so many additional resources!

  4. SkankinPenguin
    November 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I‘m defenitely missing Discogs in your list... ?