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Four ways to access ad free music on the ‘Net

I went over to Pandora this morning, logged in via my account, and was presented with a very large visual ad offering me the chance to meet singles in San Francisco. It came complete with pictures of fictional women named “sugarfresh16” and “StarCrossedLuvly.” I switched to my Debussy channel and got an Enrico Morricone sound track. I think I’m not a Pandora person any more.

There’s so much free music on the Internet now. Here are four ways to get great music without ads.

Sound Tap

We wrote about this service when it used to be called Radio Collective. Now it is called Sound Tap ( It’s basically a service that aggregates college, community, and public radio shows all over the United States and the world. Of late I’ve been listening to “Hillbilly at Harvard” on Boston’s WHRB. You can get your own account and comment on shows—like them, unlike them, post pictures of yourself, and follow other users.

Bottom line: you can access all kinds of neat college/community radio music shows, listen to them for free, and no ads. Now I’m listening to “Sounds of Ukraine” at CJAM at the University of Windsor.

Library of Congress National Jukebox

The Library of Congress’ National Jukebox is a programmable site that includes 10,000 acoustic recording hits released from 1901 through 1925 by the Victor Talking Machine Company. The last five years of that output took place during the formative years of broadcasting. KDKA in Pittsburgh famously began in 1920. By 1927 there were at least 700 radio stations streaming AM content across the nation.

You can create play lists with the site and listen to Enrico Caruso, Paul Whiteman, John McCormack, and other luminaries of that era to your heart’s content. All for free, and without ads.

Alexander Street Library

Thank you, San Francisco Public Library, for giving Californians completely free access to the wonderful Alexander Street Music Online collection. The SF Public library system is one of a host of awesome libraries offering entire to this terrific database. The collection bills itself as:

  • The largest online collection of music recordings, scores, reference, and video available anywhere.
  • The most comprehensive collection of materials for the study of music, covering every time period, genre, cultural group, and geographic region.
  • The highest quality content—the world’s best record labels, artists, scores, and recordings—together with the most essential full-text reference content.

Check your local library to see if it offers the Alexander Street library to patrons. If not, the service still offers free world and classical music downloads every two weeks.

The way works is that you join a room as either a listener or a DJ. As a listener, you just listen. If you can get in as a DJ, you pick songs. Then you can search for tunes and queue them up with the rest of the group. You have to have a Facebook friend involved to get started, but I found one pretty easily, and I’m not exactly a Facebook maniac. is in beta stage, so who knows how long it will remain ad free. But here’s a neat secret about the service: it has some great classical music rooms. So get in there and enjoy!

I thought of including the Internet Archives in this post, but that isn’t really a streaming service. Any other great places to access ad free music? Let us know.

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