Whether it’s clubbing anthems, rock classics, weepy ballads or just a Saturday night in front of X Factor, music is one thing most people can’t live without – especially at this time of year.
As the Christmas party season gets underway, it’s time to crank up the tunes, pump up the volume and put those dancing shoes on. Not to mention time to grab that Xmas classics CD and get all festive.
But thanks to massive advances in technology, there are now more ways than ever to enjoy your favourite tunes. This guide will give you the basics on making the most of your music collection, and going beyond it.
So whether you want to beam music wirelessly around your home, have a jukebox to go or get your own personal gig guide, this is the place to start.
And if you like any of the tech but don’t own it, well, you could always ask Father Christmas!
It’s almost impossible to think about music and not have Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone/iPod touch as the first thing that comes to mind. Whether it is iPod docks or iPhone apps, a whole system has been built around these devices and either are a must-have for every serious music lover. That’s because, as you’ll find throughout this guide, the iPod/iPhone don’t just play your music, they control it too.
Most people have already heard about Spotify, the internet and smartphone service that gives you the ability to stream almost any song ever recorded. But if you haven’t dipped your toe in the water yet, then a great reason to give it a try is Spotify’s new tie-up with Facebook. All it takes is a couple of clicks and you’ll be able to hear music through your Facebook homepage, share your song choices with friends and even listen to tracks at the same time.
The essential piece of technology in our essential music guide, this wireless music system will play all the music stored on your computer, more than 100,000 internet radio stations and services such as Spotify. Each Sonos speaker costs £259 or £349, depending on which size you go for, and you will also need a £40 gadget called a Bridge to plug into your wireless router. You then simply pick up your iPod/iPhone/iPad or Android phone and control what to play on each speaker – you can create different themed rooms with more than one Sonos unit. Or if you’re after one loud banging bash, pick ‘party mode’ and let the same tune blare out around the whole house. All that’s left is wondering how you ever lived without it.
Read our PluggedIn review of the new Sonos Play 3.
Sonos may be the market leader in wireless music systems, but as with all forms of technology – there’s always a powerful rival not far behind. The makers of Jambox are certainly setting their stall out with a boast that “it’s simply the smallest, best sounding wireless speaker and speakerphone on the planet — all for £159.99.” With a range of colours, and small enough to fit into a handbag, Jambox is aimed at a younger audience and is winning over fans fast.
Sometimes the simplest ideas are also the most brilliant, and that’s the case with the Songkick app. Download it onto your Apple device and it will immediately search your entire music
library. A few seconds later you’ll have a list of when those artists are coming to a venue near you, and a link to buy tickets. Perfect for a pre-Christmas boogie!
Another app that fits into the simple but indispensable mould is Discovr. Type in an artist, and a flowchart will start – showing you similar and related bands and giving you biographies, videos and web links for each – that expands and develops with each click.
The IMDB for music lovers, there’s enough on this website to keep you fascinated for months. It has full biographies and discographies for every singer and band in history and the ability to search by genre and mood. So if you’re looking to discover some new songs to play on your new wireless music system, this is the perfect place to start. We’ll leave you
to decide whether your starting point it raucous rock ‘n’ roll, provocative pop or just good old-fashioned choral classical.
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