Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying

Damien Oh 30-06-2009

Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying listentocdHow many times have you bought a CD only to find that most of the songs are not to your liking? I am sure most of you have this kind of experience. It is definitely not a good feeling, perhaps coupled with a pain in the wallet. This doesn’t apply only to physical CD that you buy off the shelf, but also those songs that you bought from iTunes store or Amazon.


Won’t it be great if you can listen to the whole songs (or CD) before you buy? iTunes store and Amazon has the preview feature, but they only come with a 30-second preview, which is not enough to sample a song.

We need some alternatives, great alternatives. So, here are my favorite websites where users can listen to CDs before buying them.

1. AOL music

AOL music is one of the best place in the Web that offers free full length songs and music for listening. It has a huge database of songs. You simply pick the songs you want. If the song is not available, AOL will search for it in the web and playback (from the remote location) the song on the fly.

In addition, AOL music always have a “New music releases” section where you can listen to new CD releases for free in their entirety every week.

Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying aolmusic

This is not only a good way to sample the CD before you buy, it is also a good way to discover new CDs in the market.


2. Youtube

At Youtube, you won’t be able to sample the whole CD at one go, but surely you will be able to find most of the tracks (in music video and other forms) in its database. When you search for the songs/artists/albums in the search bar, there is a high chance that you will find what you want in the search result.

Furthermore, with all the YouTube and other video conversion tools previously highlighted by MakeUseOf, you can also convert and download the music video to your desktop, even though the music quality differs a great deal from those in the music store.

Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying youtubemusicvideo

5. Rhapsody

With Rhapsody, you never have to worry about a lack of songs. They have more than a million songs in their database and there is a very high chance you will find what you want. Rhapsody operates on a subscription model (only available in US), that is to say, you pay a subscription fee every month ($12.99) and you have access to all the songs in their database and you can listen to them again and again, unlimited times.


With the subscription account, you can also download the software and access to your favorite songs from your desktop.

Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying rhapsody

If you are not willing to pay the subscription fee, Rhapsody also allows its users to listen to 25 songs for free. That should be enough for you to sample two and a half CD of songs before you make your purchase decision.

4. Imeem

Imeem is a social network that enables its users to share media, including music, video and photos with each other.  In here, you are likely to find the songs/CDs that you want. Some of the music are restricted by the label/artists and features only a 30-second preview, but there are still a great deal of them that are full length and you are able to listen to the full CD.


Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying imeem

5. Baidu MP3 [No Longer Available]

This may not be suitable for everyone, but if you are a Chinese song lover, like I am, then this is the place to listen to free songs.

All you need to do is to perform a search with the search bar and it will fetch the required songs from the artists. You can then scroll to find his/her current album or previous albums. You can click on the link beside the song to hear the full song.

Top 5 Websites To Listen To CDs Before Buying baidu


Other alternatives that did not make the list


I am sure some of you will swear by MySpace. I am not an active user of MySpace and I don’t have much love for it. Personally, I find the layout very messy and it crashes my browser (and computer) very often.

While there are plenty of songs and information in, you seldom have the chance to sample the full CD of your favorite artists. I do use it for occasional listening, but when it comes to CD sampling, I guess there are better sites out there.

If you are interested in purchasing music online, Simon listed out 3 Ultra Cheap Alternatives to the iTunes Store 3 Ultra Cheap Alternatives To iTunes Store Read More . Check it out.

What other websites do you go to listen CD before buying? Do you prefer digital copies or physical CDs? Comment away!

Image credit: SChristineBrink

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  1. Roshan
    July 17, 2009 at 4:41 am

    the best i've used so far..

  2. Simon
    July 17, 2009 at 2:27 am

    i use to find new music & music videos.

    simple interface and millions of choices.

  3. Celeste
    July 2, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Apart from AOL Music's CD Listening party, their site also has a CD Listening party that, while there is some overlap, also carries a number of new releases that don't make it onto AOL's. They lean a lot more towards alternative.

  4. Jalley
    July 1, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Have to wholeheartedly agree with the other users who've mentioned Lala. HQ mp3's, an enormous library of music that's continually growing, the option to listen to individual tracks or any album, and a willingness to listen to user's suggestions for improvements make this my favorite music site.

  5. l3utterfish
    July 1, 2009 at 3:37 am

    I just love the title of this post..
    so correct.

  6. Matthew
    July 1, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Heck, unless you need your music to be portable with Spotify you'll barely need to buy another cd. Doesn't have every band/song obv. (sadly it has no Metallica, last time I checked :(, pretty much everything else though) it has ALOT.

    The free version is ad supported, with ads in the window and audio ads between songs every twenty minutes, but they're barely noticable and a small price to pay. There's also a premium version which gives you extra features, like access to songs before they're officially released (I think...) and removes those ads for a tenner a month.

    • Jalley
      July 1, 2009 at 4:17 am

      Spotify looks cool... but it's unavailable to those of us in certain countries, including the United States where I reside.

  7. Altzan
    June 30, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    LOL at the numerical order - 1,2,5,4,5

    Great list!

  8. Brandt
    June 30, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    uhh... Grooveshark ( should definitely be #1 on this list.

  9. grooveshark ftw
    June 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    another grooveshark fan as it grabs 95% of what i want and i have some odd msical tastes...and yes a second for pandora for the best set and forget e-radio--just take the time to add a good set of what you like and hit quickmix! Have found tons of new artists i like using pandora.

  10. AaronBaer
    June 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Definitely GrooveShark - but I also like to search a band/song out on pandora first - often times I can tell if I'll like a new artist if I like the other music that Pandora compares it too.

    • Damien Oh
      June 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm

      I will only include Pandora in the list if it allows non-US visitors to enter its site. At the moment, I have no way to test it out.

  11. Maddy
    June 30, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I listen to Largehearted Boy's weekly Try It Before You Buy It lists:

  12. David ben-Avram
    June 30, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Do not forget! Great place to listen to any album once!

    • Mike
      June 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

      Ditto on play the whole CD for free.

  13. nayten
    June 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Grooveshark! I can't believe you guys didnt feature that!

    and it's awesome cousin:

    • Justin
      June 30, 2009 at 4:45 pm

      Yeah I don't know how you could write an article like this without making groovshark #1

    • Damien Oh
      June 30, 2009 at 9:02 pm

      Somehow, I guess Grooveshark must have slipped under my radar. After checking it out, I agree that it should be in the list.

      Thanks for pointing it out to me.