Category Archives: Music

Track your favorite arists’ new CD releases with Music-Alerts.com

newrss.jpgHave a need or desire to keep up with your favorite artist’s latest releases? Check our this slick service. Music-Alerts.com takes the names of your favorite bands and creates an RSS feed that lets you see when the artists you are interested in release a new CD. Currently you can add artists to your custom feed, but not delete them. No problem, just make a new one. This tracks releases on Amazon.com so if yer’ faves are not on there, you might have a little trouble. I love it because as soon as I see an artist appear on there, I know I can go right to isohunt.com to Amazon and buy it if I like. Enjoy!

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AOL Radio – It’s actually good!

Lately I have been using AOL Radio at work. I do have a collection of my own MP3s on my work PC and listen to my playlists, but sometime you just want to mix it up. I like AOL Radio a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of AOL, “the company” or “the service”, but “AOL – The Radio” is pretty cool. I prefer to use AIM to listen.

AIM running AOL Radio Screenshot

You can access their radio stations through AIM (click the headphones icon at the bottom while you are signed in) or by going to their web page.

It is sort of like all those stations you get from the airlines by plugging headphones into the armrest while you are flying, except this selection doesn’t suck. They have a vast variety of categories and sub categories. Like Punk? Try Punk U for new school punk bands or Classic Punk for the older, Sex Pistols-ish type of sound. Related station to that are Emo and Ska. (Although the Ska station only seems to play real old school ska.) There seems to be at least 12 varieties of alternative music, including “All” stations, features nothing but Korn, Dave Matthews or Green Day to name a few. It isn’t just music, either. They do have a small but varied selection of New, Sports and Comedy stations as well. They have a HUGE selection of stations to choose from, over 200:

AOL Radio Station Guide Screenshot

It is important to note that there are also many XM stations, some free for everyone, some only available to AOL members. Still there are some great selections in there like XM’s Ethel (new alternative) and Willie’s Place, which is classic country. (Yeah, that Willie.)

Although they do allow you to rate songs if you are using their web console, it seems it is more for their own research to decide which songs and artists they should play more or less of. It does not seem to personalize your listening experience. You also cannot skip to the next song. These may seem like criticisms, but it depends on what you want it for. After all, it is named AOL Radio. Sit back and let the music flow in. This kicks my car radio’s ass. Locally, we have about 6 stations that I listen to and 3 of those I only tune to when I just cannot find anything I like on the other 3. I listen to my MP3s or iPod when I want to listen to exactly what I choose. I like the option of just plain ol’ listening to the radio once in a while, and this surely meets my needs when I want a passive, “just throw the music at me” type of experience. For example, I never realized how much I like the Misfits.

In summary, it is just a convenient, albeit somewhat mindless way to get music. If you want a more personalized music experience, try Last.fm or Pandora. Welcome to the new world, your computer is a radio.