MusicNet@AOL service to concentrate on the newly acquired Music Now. Good transfer. In contrast to its predecessor, the brand new service is accessible to all customers, not simply AOL subscribers.

All you could stream any of Music Now’s 1.5 million songs are a PC (the service does not work on Macs), a Net browser, and an Web connection (ideally broadband, although dial-up is supported). Apart from an non-compulsory utility that is solely mandatory if you wish to obtain tracks, there’s nothing to put in; you’ll be able to hear from any laptop and from any locale—at work, a good friend’s home, the airport, or wherever—simply as simply as for those who have been at dwelling.

Although nonetheless in beta, the service displays all of the polish of a classy, established product. Its easy, understated dwelling web page accommodates 4 navigation tabs, a search field, and neatly organized highlight sections that embody new releases, high songs, and the nifty Every day Playlist. At first blush, the final looks like little greater than a radio station, however it’s significantly better: It features like a Net-based auto-DJ, choosing a batch of tunes primarily based on the songs and artists you have performed earlier than.

The navigation tabs, accessible from any web page on the location, allow you to simply swap between Music Now’s catalog (Get Music) and your private, Net-based library of songs, albums, artists, and playlists (My Music). Lacking, however sorely wanted, is a Radio tab, which might clear up a vexing downside: the service does not provide a grasp checklist of accessible radio stations. As an alternative, they’re haphazardly scattered throughout varied artist and style pages. As soon as you have discovered a station you want, including it to My Music for later listening is simple, however I might favor to may browse stations as a substitute of simply stumbling upon them.

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Be aware that almost all of those options can be found to subscribers solely; non-subscribers are restricted to the Get Music tab, the place they will purchase tunes for 99 cents every or play 30-second snippets.

Hear Anyplace
In case you’re a subscriber, the true fantastic thing about Music Now’s the digital mobility of your private library: It goes the place you go. Including playlists, artists, songs, and stations to your Music Now account creates a type of digital jukebox you can entry from wherever you are logged in. What’s difficult is making an attempt to combine this jukebox with any non-Music Now tracks (MP3s, WMAs, and different codecs) saved in your arduous drive: The one means to take action is by bodily downloading the Music Now tracks, then enjoying every part in Home windows Media Participant (bit charge stays at 128Kbps, no matter whether or not you stream music or obtain it).

Streamed tracks seem in a small pop-up participant that is primarily based on a mix of javascript, HTML, and the Home windows Media Participant 9 ActiveX management. The participant’s simple interface contains primary shuttle controls, a shuffle possibility, and a drop-down menu for shortly tuning to a playlist, radio station, or hotlist. (Hotlists are primarily radio stations tied to a selected chart, style, or artist, and their content material adjustments dynamically.) A particular icon enables you to add a tune to My Music, obtain it, and add it to a playlist.

You’ll be able to immediately add something in your My Music library to a playlist. However when you can pretty simply modify the monitor order inside playlists, you’ll be able to’t transfer or copy songs between them, and a scarcity of drag-and-drop capabilities positively slows issues down. As well as, the pop-up participant shows solely the at the moment enjoying monitor (with album artwork, a pleasant contact). You’ll be able to’t modify tune order on the fly or skip to a selected tune.

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Music Now works greatest with Web Explorer. Though I used to be in a position to entry the service from Firefox, making an attempt to pick out a tune or playlist made the web page go clean—I needed to click on the Again button to return to the Music Now service. In line with AOL, improved Firefox help is “on the roadmap.” Browser however, nevertheless, you may want Home windows Media Participant 10 to switch tracks to a conveyable participant (something that is suitable with PlaysForSure will do). I examined it with Inventive’s Zen Imaginative and prescient:M, and every part labored easily—besides that album artwork did not switch, which was disappointing.

Pay to Play
Like a lot of its opponents—together with top-rated Napster—AOL costs $9.95 per 30 days for limitless streaming and downloads, and $14.95 per 30 days if you wish to add a conveyable participant to the combination. Songs value 99 cents every whether or not you subscribe or not. I am glad you’ll be able to stream music on as much as three PCs at a time; this makes it potential to share one account between a number of members of the family in numerous areas.
Later this spring, AOL plans to supply downloadable music movies as a part of its subscription plan. Not solely will you be capable of watch limitless movies in your PC, you can watch them in your transportable participant as properly. Be aware to AOL: Whilst you’re at it, think about linking Music Now together with your lately launched In2TV service for download-and-go episodes of traditional TV reveals.

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Within the meantime, I am having fun with Music Now immensely. The power to entry my music from any Net-connected PC is a significant profit, and for about the price of one CD per 30 days, I can pack my MP3 participant to the brim with music. And I haven’t got to trouble with the gradual, clunky, and sometimes complicated software program that tends to lavatory down different subscription companies. AOL Music Now’s so easy to make use of that nearly anybody can determine it out: So long as you’ll be able to work a Net browser, accessing the service’s mammoth content material catalog is a cinch.

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