What is online music streaming?

Online music streaming is a departure from downloading audio files on your computer or phone to play them back later. This article looks at how you can enjoy the latest online songs without the need for downloads.

Music is food for the soul, in so many ways. Each of us responds differently to music. Some of us tend to get completely engrossed in our favourite music, while others need to have songs playing in the background as they work. Whatever the genre of music you listen to, you certainly have some kind of response to it.

You now have access to your favourite music via online streaming sites.

What does online music streaming mean?

  • Online music streaming is, essentially, the process of getting audio files on your phone or computer, without downloading audio or music files.
  • You only need to have the right online streaming platform (typically, a music app) that helps you ‘stream’ the music files on your digital device in real time.
  • The online songs platform has a range of songs to offer, across different eras and genres. The best such apps have, for example, songs across different languages, genres, time frames (retro Bollywood to rap music, for instance) that you can access at any time on your phone or computer.
  • All you need to do is download the music app on your digital device, and start streaming songs right away.
  • Most online songs today are available for streaming free of cost, while some apps may charge a nominal monthly fee for the stream.
  • In both cases, you can choose to create playlists, download your favourite songs, and set your preferred genre and language, for the app to suggest new music in both.

How does online music streaming work?

As mentioned earlier, you don’t need to download any music files to listen to online songs on streaming apps. Earlier, you would download music files in MP3, OGG or WMA formats. Today, all you need is the streaming service or app, and a receiving device such as a speaker or phone to playback the music in real time.

  • No copies of the songs are downloaded or saved on the receiving device like a phone or computer. You can choose to download songs, which are then saved on your phone’s audio files directory. But this feature is normally available only on paid streaming music apps.
  • You can hear the same online songs over and over again – you just have to replay the stream. This only takes up phone data, or bandwidth on your Wi-Fi.
  • The audio file or online song is transferred to your computer or phone in the form of small ‘packets’. These packets are constantly buffered on the receiving device, and played right away. Normally, the stream stops midway if the network connectivity is poor, which hampers the buffering.
  • If you are streaming music on your computer/laptop/tab, you will require a working Internet connection, a sound card and speakers on the device, and sound software like Windows 10 Music Player, for example.