When I first started listening to music on my computer, the option, as in singular… one option, was simple. You listened to your CD, or you copied the CD to your hard drive as MP3 files and listened to it. Sure, you could download music via Napster (illegally, back then), or other file sharing services, but a few years ago, the iTunes Music Store didn’t exist. Similarly, Amazon and WalMart weren’t selling MP3s online, and other online music stores such as 7Digital were years from existing. And large hard drives made this very possible.
Now, however, streaming music is a legitimate option for people wanting to listen to music on their computers. Because of the advent and easy availability of fast, wireless Internet, it is easily feasible to listen to music via streaming. Rhapsody has long been a leader in this service, and lately other options have become available, such as Grooveshark and Spotify. In this article, though, I’d like to talk about an option I feel needs to be mentioned in that conversation: MOG.
MOG is a browser-based service (also available for a select few portable devices), that allows streaming of a huge library of music (currently advertised at 9 million songs), right to your computer. Unlike some services which require you to install a client, MOG is run through your web browser. You don’t need to upload your own music collection, and while MOG most certainly won’t contain everything you already own, it has a large library of music that’s easy to search and play.
MOG does charge a monthly fee (currently around 5 dollars to use on your computer, or double that for portable devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Roku. Mobile devices, however, also have the option of downloading that music so they have access even while offline. All this uses a nice interface with high quality music. MOG also offers a free 14-day trial so you can get used to the service and see if it’s for you.
Finally, there exists a Google Chrome webapp for MOG that provides a nice dark interface. This can be accessed (even without Chrome) at the following URL: www.mog.com/chrome.
Using MOG is very easy. Once logged in, simply search for your favorite artist or song. A list will come up, arranged by artist, album and song title. Once you’ve found what you like, you can begin playing it immediately or – if you’re currently listening to something – add it to your queue to be played at the end of your current playlist.
By default you’re shown a list of new releases and editor’s picks, and can also view lists of top artists, top albums and top tracks. Entire albums can be played or queued, with individual songs rearranged to suit the way you want to listen to them. Radio stations can also be created based on an artist, so you can listen to a never-ending stream of music you like. Or you can just queue it all up by hand.
It’s because of this hands-on approach that I feel MOG is a much better choice than free options such as Pandora (which I also love). Pandora creates stations; you don’t. With MOG, the entire listening experience is created by you. This is similar to Rhapsody, of course, but Rhapsody doesn’t offer the quality streaming (MOG offers 320 kbps MP3 files, compared to Rhapsody’s 192 kbps), nor the slick interface. A paid account is also cheaper with MOG, which costs $4.99 for unlimited streaming, and $9.99 for streaming and download for mobile devices. Rhapsody does offer an account that offers streaming and downloading onto up to 3 devices, but it costs $14.99, and Rhapsody offers no streaming-only option to compete with the basic $4.99 account from MOG.
All in all, I feel MOG is an absolute fantastic choice. The music sounds great, it’s fully licensed (so no potential legality issues, unlike Napster of old or Grooveshark right now), and the interface is simple, easy to use and looks great. The service in my testing was stable, glitch free and I love the huge selection. As I said above, it didn’t have everything in its collection that I have in mine, but for those times when I’m away from my music library, 5 dollars per month isn’t a bad price at all.