Given the title of this post and this one we posted last week, you might be able to sense a theme forming: We here at FlashRouters proudly stock Rokus, and we want to make sure that anyone who buys one gets the most out of it.
Today, we’re going to focus on the music element of your Roku, specifically the best Roku channels for music. You’re no doubt aware that your Roku offers much in the way streaming television and movies through Netflix, Crackle, Hulu Plus, etc. and, if you’re like a few of us at FlashRouters, that’s really the most you typically get out of your Roku.
But your Roku is a versatile and endlessly useful device in terms of bringing all kinds of entertainment to your living room, with over sixty music channels that bring you anything from internet radio to music videos. So let’s take a look at some of the best Roku channels devoted to bringing some music into your life.
But First, A Brief Disclaimer
Much like we skipped over Netflix in our post about the best Roku TV channels, we’re going to similarly assume that you know about the internet radio juggernaut that is Pandora. To put it simply, Pandora is Netflix’s musical equivalent. There’s a button designed to take you straight to Pandora on certain Roku remotes. We’re more interested in locating the lesser-known or outright hidden gems.
Best Roku Channels for Music & Music Videos
Vevo – The primary appeal of Vevo is their ever-growing catalog of music videos (some 50, 000 and counting from over 11,000 artists), all of which is offered for free.
That alone should be enough to recommend Vevo as a top-tier Roku music channel, but it certainly helps that Vevo’s interface is easy to navigate, separating music videos by popularity as well as genre (there are categories for World, Jazz, Blues, Pop, Alternative, Indie, Children’s Music, Classical, Metal, Rock, R&B/Soul, Electronic/Dance and many more) in order to make them as searchable as possible.
And if you create an account (also free), you can arrange your own playlists, which allows you to re-access your favorite music videos with ease. Doing so will also help Vevo make wiser recommendations for your future viewing.
Spotify – We’ve talked up Spotify as one of the best Roku music channels before – we’ve also discussed it as best free streaming music services available anywhere – but it’s worth reiterating here. If you’re looking for the widest range of streaming music available, you simply can’t beat Spotify.
You’re probably all aware of the deal with Spotify; a free membership gets you a limited amount of streaming, whereas an Unlimited user must pay $4.99 a month for unlimited streaming, and a Premium member pays $9.99 a month to be able to stream and download anything from Spotify to any device at any time.
At the moment, only Premium Spotify members can access the Spotify Roku channel, which is unfortunate for the limited and unlimited Spotify users. But for Premium Spotify members, if you have a Roku, there’s no earthly reason not to add this great music channel.
TuneIN Radio – It seems strange to have gotten this far into a post about the best Roku channels for music without having encountered any internet radio stations (except Pandora). Well, for those of you unfamiliar with TuneIN Radio, prepare to meet the mother of them all.
TuneIN Radio offers just about any kind of internet radio station your heart could desire, starting with topics as broad local radio, music, talk, sports, podcasts, stations by location and/or language. Those topics are then divided into sub-genres, making it just as easy to locate an Icelandic hip-hop station (believe us, there is one) as it is to find a local sports talk radio station.
You can create an account, but it’s not necessary. Either way, it’s simple to enjoy the many pleasures of this internet radio behemoth.
Amazon Cloud Player – To fully appreciate the benefits of the Amazon Cloud Player, it’s probably best if you have downloaded, or download with regularity, MP3s from Amazon. Though many of the albums listed on Amazon can be just as expensive as iTunes, they have a pretty impressive selection of albums that are $5 or cheaper.
Any MP3s you download from Amazon will automatically be added to your Amazon Cloud Player, so if you’ve added the channel, you can appreciate your new albums on the sound system connected to your Roku. Furthermore, you can import up to 250 additional songs that were not purchased from Amazon to your Amazon Cloud Player. Those willing to pay $24.99 a year can add up to 250,000 songs to their Amazon Cloud Player account.
Rdio – Similar in spirit to Spotify, Rdio offers unlimited web access to their huge musical databank for $4.99 a month, whereas $9.99 a month will get you unlimited web and mobile access, as well as the option of offline access if you sync to your mobile phone.
In some ways, Rdio also functions like iTunes, allowing you create a “collection” of albums, songs, and artists that you can repeatedly reference. You can even create your own playlists, and collaborate with other Rdio users on joint playlists.
Most of these activities need to be done through Rdio’s website, which makes finding artists and songs simple and intuitive.
SHOUTcast – Though SHOUTcast internet radio doesn’t cover much ground that hasn’t already been covered by TuneIN, it’s still a worthy addition to your Roku channel lineup. Offering over 49,000 stations from all over the globe, with a range of content that spans from talk radio to international to seasonal, SHOUTcast has a station to match any mood, occasion, or taste.
Best of all, unlike many of the most popular Roku music channels, SHOUTcast brings you this incredible wealth of music and other radio content for free!
SomaFM – Finally, if your tastes skew more specific, perhaps you should check out the more alternative flavors of SomaFM.
Broadcasting from San Francisco, SomaFM collects twenty-two unique channels of listener-supported radio. This internet radio station prides itself on offering the most interesting, eclectic blend of alternative and underground music, hand-picked by the station’s DJs and music directors.
The easy-to-navigate interface of SomaFM allows listeners to find whole stations devoted to tastes as narrow and bizarre as ambient-metal (check out “doomed” if that piques your interest), or ’80’s UK-based synth-pop (“Underground 80s”), or even spy music (“Secret Agent”).
So if you haven’t had any luck tracking down a particular alchemy of genres that suits your style, SomaFM is your best bet for the listener with a distinct sense of what he or she wants.
Roku Music Channel Reflections
It’s strange to consider just how limited, whether by geography or by finances or by time, our listening options used to be. Your personal musical tastes were largely dictated by Top 40 radio, or your local radio station, or, if you were more adventurous, by the occasional crate-digging expedition.
Now, with the help of your Roku and the many internet radio stations and streaming services it offers, you can access the most particular sub-genre of music from a world away, and you can do it for free. It’s never been easier to expand your musical palate. Take advantage!
Have a favorite Roku Channel for music of your own that we missed? Or do you just want to discuss some of the ones we mentioned? Let us know down below!