What Should I Do If Streaming Radio Is Blocked?

By Harvey Spector

How to listen to music streaming services at work without getting tripped up by content filter blocks.

Many employers block access to streaming platforms such as Spotify or Pandora on their workplace networks. As a result, employees are left with three options:

  • to not listen to music at all at work,
  • to bring a phone or MP3 player and listen to their own files, or
  • to figure out legal ways of circumventing streaming blocks on their work networks.

Why Employers Block Streaming Sites

While some businesses don't like their employees to listen to music at work, most of them block streaming sites because of bandwidth. A USA Today article from 2012 spoke of numerous major companies — including Proctor & Gamble, GE and even Major League Baseball — that had restricted access to sites such as YouTube, Netflix and Pandora because they were sucking too much bandwidth and putting too much strain on corporate servers. In short, businesses just don't want their networks to be jammed for things that aren't directly related to work.

Use Alternate Sites

Probably the easiest way to get around streaming blocks at work is to simply look for alternative sites to use. If your employer is going to block streaming sites, they are going to start with the big dogs, like Spotify, Pandora, Google Play or YouTube (or, for that matter, the recently announced Apple Music). But the market currently supports quite a few music streaming services, so keep going down the list until you find one that works. For instance, Rdio is a great Spotify alternative that is a bit more under-the-radar as far as corporate blocks are concerned.

Beat the Blocks

If you can't find an alternative streaming service that gets the job done, you'll have to turn your attention to bypassing the blocks that your employer put in place. As PC World notes, the best way to do isolate your streaming bandwidth is to use a proxy server. They include both Web-based services and plugins. Essentially, these programs act as middlemen for your Internet activities, using their own IP addresses to request pages (in this case, streaming sites) and returning them to the user.

Proxies are great for getting around Web content filters at work. Just make sure you aren't sending any sensitive information over a proxy server, since the proxy can see everything you do while you are connected to it.