Let someone else manage your music collection. For free.
I recently picked up a new notebook in an attempt to become more mobile, and because my Dell netbook bricked while I was home for two weeks during the Christmas holiday, and work had to be done.
Normally I would load up the hard drive with as much crap as possible, and with 450-something gigs to fill, it was very tempting. The music folder on my desktop PC is out of control, with newly downloaded albums and tracks saved in a number of random places. I didn’t want to have to deal with the same problem again on my laptop.
Luckily, my desktop was still Upstate, and I didn’t have access to my collection of media, nor the many work files I store there. Chapter 9 of Leo Babauta‘s Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life was also a great inspiration in keeping a minimalist computer.
However, I was then left without a music solution.
I’ve been using Pandora at home and on my phone for years now, but not being able to select individual tracks nor albums to play is a major downfall.
I’ve seen members of Wickedfire reference Grooveshark many times, and those guys usually know what they’re talking about, so I chose to give it a try. And I’m really glad I did because Grooveshark is easily the best music streaming service I’ve tried to date.
- Huge Selection of Music. Grooveshark has just about everything, including some obscure Drum & Bass, and music of other genres, that most other services wouldn’t normally carry.
- Portability. It is really nice to be able to listen to whatever you want, no matter where you are. For $9/month or so you can also get access via your iPhone or Android device – perfect for on the road.
- More Space; Less Clutter. The biggest advantage of using Grooveshark for all your music needs is that you no longer have to store music locally on your hard drive. I’ll never have to organize my music folder ever again because Grooveshark does it for me.
- They Don’t Have Everything. I know, it’s asking a lot for a free service to provide me with all the music I need, without limitation. I’ve found that, although most all albums are listed, many are missing individual tracks. But I’ll deal.
- Requires an Internet Connection. It’s rare that I don’t have access to Wifi, and my Droid is pretty good at filling in the gaps in coverage. However, I’m more than happy to give up temporary access in exchange for keeping my music collection out of sight, and more importantly, out of mind.
Getting Rid of Your Physical Music Collection
For those of you still using physical media, such as CDs or tapes, you have the most to gain from a service like Grooveshark. I haven’t purchased a physical CD in years, but I still have about 100 albums stored under my bed. And this is how I intend to get rid of them:
- Make a list of all albums in my collection, along with the artist’s name just in case.
- Find said albums in Grooveshark and add them to my ‘music library’.
- Tracks and albums I can’t find on Grooveshark will be ripped from the physical CD, or in the case they are too scratched, will be downloaded elsewhere.
- The CDs and their storage racks will be donated to Salvation Army, friends, or whoever will take them.
This could easily take a few hours to complete, but will make a great weekend project.
I try to avoid Lifehacker when I can, purely because it’s a hassle to keep up with the massive amounts of content they post everyday, but it’s hard to overlook their many “golden nugget” posts.
Today on Lifehacker, they’ve posted about Better Grooveshark, a simple browser extension that strips the ads that Grooveshark displays on the right panel, and replaces it with a lyric search. It will also update your browser title bar with the currently playing track so you don’t have constantly switch between tabs.
Note: The lyrics panel is sometimes a little screwy, and will appear above the other panels. Simply click the little arrow on the right side to minimize/maximize, and it should work itself out.
A very cool plugin, indeed. However, if you’re going to strip the ads, do the guys at Grooveshark a solid, and sign up for their premium service. It’s totally worth it.
What streaming music service do you use, and why? What other apps that operate in ‘The Cloud’ help you minimize your life the most?