Former DJ Tests Music Sites

"I'm not cool or hip anymore," says Bonnie Roop, a 39-year-old stay-at-home mom living in Queensbury, N.Y. Ms. Roop used to follow music closely; she worked as a DJ for Bryant University's radio station in Rhode Island back in the late '80s and early '90s. She had access to a huge library of music and favored bands like Jane's Addiction and Guns N' Roses.

Ms. Roop's priorities changed. While music isn't at the forefront of her interests anymore, she says she feels guilty about not following her favorite artists the way she used to.

We asked her to try a few online music tools that are considered cheap and easy ways to get back into the music. Here are her thoughts on some of these services.

Streaming-music on the Web

www.jango.com: The site was straight-forward and easy to navigate, Ms. Roop says. Simplicity is key for Ms. Roop, she says, because she can be impatient and doesn't want to feel like she is wasting time. She punched "Aerosmith" into the site's search engine and it automatically began playing the band's tunes. But Ms. Roop, a big fan of Aerosmiths from the '70s, wasn't pleased when the first song played was a more recent recording. "I'm a little offended that that's the song they picked."

Music Search Engines

www.songza.com: Songza had a great variety of songs and obscure live performances, which Ms. Roop says was a big advantage over other sites. She was excited that she could hear Aerosmith's halftime performance during Super Bowl XXXV, she says. But "I found the recommendations for Aerosmith very bizarre," she says. "Ike and Tina Turner and Journey?"

Music Sites with Social-Networking Functions

www.last.fm: "I liked all the options," like the extensive collection of videos the site offered, Ms. Roop says. "But I wouldn't use them all." The recommendations that the site gave after she searched for Aerosmith were relevant. But it didn't tell her about any bands she never heard of, she says. The layout of the site was confusing for her though. "It was all gobbledygook," she says. And she felt that Last.fm heavily pushed you to buy music. She liked having the option to buy to an extent, but felt that the site was a little too commercial for her, Ms. Roop says.

www.imeem.com: This site was too heavy on the social-networking side for her tastes, Ms. Roop says. After searching for Aerosmith, "I got a bunch of other people's play list which I found so creepy," she says. The site lets you see what other members have been listening to lately. "You keep your play lists and I'll keep mine!" While music is social, she thinks it should be shared among family and friends, not strangers, Ms. Roop says. After trying imeem, "I will lecture my daughter about social relationships and the importance of being social and not sitting at a computer talking to strangers," she says.

www.ilike.com: While this site also has some social-networking functions, Ms. Roop says it is not very intrusive. iLike was easy to navigate, and she easily found songs that she was searching for, she says. "It isn't as scary for me," she says, and she liked that the site didn't have very many ads. iLike was also simple for her to navigate, and she easily found songs that she was searching for, she says.

Write to Joseph De Avila at joseph.deavila@wsj.com

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit

www.djreprints.com

More in Media & Marketing