Use your smartphone to stream a personal soundtrack for your life!
What’s your theme song?
You know you’ve been there: you’re having the kind of day that makes you wish you had your own theme song (or soundtrack) following you around, Allie McBeal-style!
Well, wish no more. You’ve got a magical, musical device with you pretty much around the clock. Wait, you’re not using your smartphone to stream your favorite music? It’s time you started. Let’s get going with speakers, headphones and the best music streaming apps.
Accessories for streaming music
If you’re going free-range, you’ll want a Bluetooth speaker. It’s easy to set up; it detects your device and blasts your tunes as long as your phone is within a certain range (usually within about 30 feet.) This is a great option for lounging by the pool, gardening or any activity that means you don’t want devices on your body. We’re partial to the great-sounding Wonderboom. (It’s waterproof, too!)
Earphones and earbuds are a good option for activities like running, when you can strap your phone to your arm or waist and keep the good vibes going. Earbuds and earphones are also great when you’re cleaning the house, getting your concentration groove on at work … you get the picture.
Our favorite music streaming apps
Google Play Music and Apple Music are the go-to apps for streaming music to your Android and Apple devices. Sign in with your Google or iTunes login and get started finding your favorite songs.
Spotify is a pretty popular music app. While you can pay for a slightly better service (no ads and better sound quality,) their free app is still nice. You can make playlists and access other user-created playlists to set your musical mood.
Tune-In is the app for streaming radio. Listen to radio stations from around the world. Want to hear your local NPR station while you’re getting ready in the morning? Want to listen to Radio 4 out of England? Tune-in has you covered.
Pandora is free and has the added bonus of discovery: its algorithms are set to styles of music vs. specific songs. When you start a “station,” Pandora will play music that matches the genre of your chosen album or artist. It’s a neat way to find artists you might not have stumbled upon otherwise. There are three ways to use the app. You can use the free, ad-supported Pandora, which allows to you create your stations. The mid-level service means no ads, higher quality audio and unlimited skips and replays of songs. The premium service allows all that with the added benefit of downloads and the ability to search specific tunes.
Even more music apps!
SoundHound is a music app with a twist: you can find out the name and artist of a song by singing it. It works best if your pitch is spot-on.
If your pitch is less than perfect? Open your browser and check out Midomi, a sound-based song search engine. Warble a few bars of the song you’re trying to find and Midomi serves it up.
And, hey! If you want to take off the earphones and check out some live music events, Songkick is the app for you! It lets you track your favorite bands and alerts you when they’re playing a concert nearby.
Get back to the freedom you felt when you first carried around the boombox, except … you know, without the bulky equipment. Streaming music with your smartphone is the perfect intersection of nostalgia and high tech!