There are a number of sites available that claim to offer free music but which ones are truly free? Below is a short list of a few websites that offer music streamed online for absolutely free, no questions asked.
This is likely the most popular free streaming music website. In order to listen you simply need to go to their site, create a profile with a username and password, then make a 'station'. The concept of making a station is based on Pandora's ability to match artists similar to those you list in the station. For instance, I make a radio station and call it the "Rolling Stones" station. I list different artists or songs I like to tailor the station to the different music I like. Pandora uses these songs and bands and matches other similar artists to the ones you've listed. Pandora is the best way I know to catch wind of a good band I've never heard. I will typically begin playing music on the site and when a song comes one that I have never heard that I like, I write it down and add it to my list of CDs to buy that I keep on my phone. If songs play from artists or songs you don't like you can simply click the 'thumbs down' ont he song info screen and the website will never play the song again and will try not to play similar types of music. Pandora also offers you the option to link your account with your facebook account so you can see which facebook friends like certain bands and also have those bands on their radio stations.
Periodically, there will be advertisements on you radio station, they are short and infrequent. It's a small annoyance for great free music. Pandora offers paid subscriptions which eliminate all advertisements, allow you to customize your page, eliminate the pausing of music due to inactivity on the computer.
Every month, Pandora allows users to listen to 40 hours of music for free. After you have eclipsed your 40 hour limit you have the option to pay .99 cents to continue throughout the month or you can wait until the next month for the 40 hours to reset.
Last FM is similar to Pandora in that you create 'stations' and the site recommends and plays music similar to the groups and songs you list in each station. There are a few things that set Last FM apart from Pandora.
The first is the way you can sync Last FM with your iTunes library. It can read you library and recommend music to you based on the songs you listen to most. Another difference is the way the website offers info for each artist on the page while the song is playing. Pandora requires you to click a link (not openable in another window) to get info about a band, which stops the music. Last FM offers you some information about the artists without needing to open a new window or stop the music.
With Last FM there is also a more direct method of recommendations. You can list a band into a station or search for it within the music tab and the site will automatically list different bands you might like based on you preferences. Pandora plays its recommendations but does not simply list them for you to explore.
Rhapsody is the oldest of these three sites and my least favorite. It is visually ad heavy and doesn't allow the streaming of so much music for free. I can get on and play different songs for free but it leans more toward the sales side of music on the web. It will not automatically stream music from song to song unless you subscribe for a fee. It is reasonable (currently $10/month) but lacks some of the features that have become such a draw from sites like Pandora & Last FM. There is a recommendation feature similar to that offered by Amazon, pretty basic and not as far reaching. You will likely not be made aware of any new bands, only popular comparable music.
Regardless of what format you prefer, these three sites will likely satifsfy all your listening needs over the internet. Happy listening!