One surprising thing about the large rice field I find myself sequestered in, it has a pretty sweet T-Mobile 4G signal. Yes, I’m still loyal to the T-Mobs and their most excellent spokeswoman. And, despite being a fan of Apple the stock, I’ve never owned an iPod (although I rocked a sweet Creative Labs Nomad way back in the day when iPods were just a gleam in Steve Jobs’ eye; the 64 meg version was the bomb, it could store up to twelve songs. Astonishingly, these are apparently still available– although the reviews are a little stale.) The only thing I’ve ever purchased from iTunes is two episodes of Party Down (that I will cherish forever).
So how do I get my mobile listening on, you ask? For years I used a stream (pun intended) of low-end mp3 players that worked with Napster-To-Go (you paid a monthly fee and could put songs on your device as long as your account was current). I had a bit of a chemistry problem with the cheap mp3 players though – they could not withstand the deluge of sweat that always ensued during a typical Chilly workout. Somehow, even on a treadmill, I managed to get the damn things wet and they would cease to operate. Spending $60 every two months wasn’t gonna work, nor did I desire to start gasp – paying – for individual songs. So, I just gave up and started running without music, letting the pleasant harmony of my graceful gait fuel my daily runs. And at home I would use Pandora – until I got tired of hearing Michael Jackson songs featured during any possible playlist. (Seriously, the third song on the Slayer station is “Billie Jean” – check it yourself.) I needed some control of the situation – and at the time (a year ago?) Spotify wasn’t in the U.S. yet (and wasn’t going to be free when it hit our shores). What to do?
And then I happened upon Grooveshark. The legality of it is still somewhat being determined, but it is apparently legal (by the words of the law, if not the spirit) as of now and has been operating for years. It works almost exactly like the original Napster did – the songs are uploaded by users. How the f*ck could that work? The songs can only be streamed – somehow this is within terms of the DMCA and Grooveshark apparently has agreements with some labels so I think there is a royalty mechanism of some kind. Also, they will pull songs if the artist requests (Adele disappeared for about a minute, but it looks like she’s back on there. Not that I love Adele or anything) – but that’s all neither here nor there, not my job to provide legal or moral opinion, I am only obligated to point you toward free sh*t so that the title of this post isn’t misleading.
So here are the steps to getting some free stuff on your Android phone:
1. Go to Grooveshark and sign up for an account (Two Notes: 1) I’m not getting anything for this, this is just a public service – like when I challenged Gristedes about the absurb Arriba salsa pricing, and 2) Feel free to use a fake name when you sign up – I went with a character from a Mel Gibson movie)
2. Type in the name of some songs you like and drag them to the bottom of the screen – if you push the play icon, you should hear music and words similar to those you are familiar with based on the song title you typed in
3. Save these songs as a playlist
4. Go to the android market and download tinyshark (Note: Grooveshark provides a mobile option directly as well – but they CHARGE monthly for that, and that’s not what we’re all about. tinyshark is an app that (I believe this is what it does, I could be off by 1,000 miles) works around the need for the paid mobile app by basically mimicking the online version
5. Go to your phone, click on the tinyshark icon and login with your account info established in step 1
6. If you get a good synch, you should have access to your playlist and all music therein; feel free to listen to it wherever you have wifi or a good 4g signal.
7. Thank me later. (Note: I resisted the urge to add: 8. Call me maybe. So maybe you should thank me twice.)