Music to Live By

It’s summer, and that means barbecues, gardening, and spending a little extra time with friends and family. You’ve got the food, the friends, and the great weather. What do you need to make this tableau complete? Music, of course! But CDs can get tiresome, and sometimes your FM stations just don’t play what you want.

The solution to your dilemma, as it so often is today, can be found online. There are a number of online ‘radios’ out there that can provide the perfect soundtrack to any activity. Whether you want to make a playlist, or just let music run in the background, there are plenty of options out there. Below are two of our favorites. They’re easy to use, free, and (for those who remember Napster) completely legal.


Pandora is the best option if you’d like to have continuous background music. On the surface, it is a radio. You begin by searching for either a song or an artist that you like. Then, Pandora will create a music station that plays songs/artists similar to the one you picked. You can create as many stations as you want.

However, Pandora goes further than that. You get to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ songs as they come up, and Pandora takes that information into account while perfecting your radio station. You can also tweak the style of your station by adding different artists to it. Say, for example, that you create a Neil Young radio station. But maybe you’d like to listen to Crazy Horse as well. That’s not a problem- you just click the ‘add variety’ button and you’re all set.

Pandora is a great ‘radio.’ However, if you’d like a little more control over what you listen to…


Like Pandora, Spotify is free. You download it to your computer/mobile device in order to begin listening to pretty much any song you can think of. Spotify takes it one step further, however, with the inclusion of playlists. You can create a playlist, however long you’d like, thereby specifying exactly which songs you will listen to. These playlists are also available to other Spotify users. It’s an easy way to try out new music.

We created a Spotify playlist that you might enjoy. If you’re a Spotify user, just search for “Total Home Summer Songs” to enjoy a mix of bluesy, modern music.

We hope you enjoy these programs. Let us know which you prefer, and how you use it!

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