How to Listen to Music and Radio Free Online

Old-time record players still exist, but you don’t need them or modern MP3 players to enjoy your favorite music at the click of a button. You can’t see audio data swirling from server to server across the Internet, but whenever you need a sonic lift, you can tap into the Web to capture the free music that flows from online radio stations and other Internet sources.

Let the Internet transform your computer into a free music library.
credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Radio Stations that Learn

If you ever wanted to build your own radio station, you can do it instantly at Pandora. This free music service uses smart computer algorithms to learn your musical tastes over time as you listen to songs and rate them. When you enter an artist’s name or song into Pandora’s “Create Station” text box and press “Enter,” it plays a song that sounds similar to the artist or name you typed. If you like the song, click the “Thumbs Up” button and the software learns to play similar music in the future on that station. Create additional stations as needed and click to play them whenever you like.

Radio on Demand, formerly Listen77, puts old and new music in your ears in just seconds. Type the song you'd like to hear in the site's "Search for Music" text box and press "Enter" to view results that match your query. Search results display song names, titles, and buttons for sharing a track on social-media sites. Click “Play” to listen, "Buy" to purchase the song, or "Playlist" to add the song your personal playlist. You need to sign up for a free account to create playlists. If you don’t want to search for music, click “Charts” and choose one of the songs that appear on the site’s "Top Fifty Songs" page to listen to it.

Internet Archive

Pay a visit to the Internet Archive's audio and MP3 library to marvel at its extensive collection of more than one million free recordings. (See Resource 1, top of page under Audio section to find the number of recordings.) Discover audio music from the distant past as well as recent tracks that modern recording artists have uploaded. If you're in the mood to hear a live concert, the site hosts live concert recordings as well. Locate music by typing keywords into the "Search" box and pressing "Enter." Click one of the results to view a page containing one or more songs and information about the artist and the artist's music. You can then click a “Play” button to listen online.

Radio that Comes with Windows

You don't have to download software or surf the Web to listen to music from the Web. After launching Windows Media Player, click the "Switch to Library" button if you're not viewing the library and then click "Media Guide" to view the Windows Media Guide. Click the "Internet Radio" button to view a list of stations broadcasting in a variety of genres, ranging from Top 40 to Rock. Click a genre and then select one of the stations that appear to listen and enjoy.