Depending on where you access the internet, you might not actually have access to all that the internet has to offer. For example, you may want to access unblocked music sites with music players while at school. In some circumstances, if you access the internet at your workplace or school, you will find certain sites to be blocked. The reasons for such blockages are many, but whatever the reasons are, it’s always frustrating to have one of your web surfing options taken away from you.
This holds especially true in the case of music sites: when you’re at school working on homework in the library, sometimes you’ll want to put your headphones in for some background music. Unfortunately, music sites are often those blocked by the filters used by schools and workplaces. To understand more about this phenomenon, including websites that you can go to if you do find yourself hitting a firewall, check out this Digital Recourse guide to unblocked music sites.
Unblocked Sites: When and Why?
When schools and places of business set up their internet configuration, they will often institute filters to block out sites that they don’t want people using their network to access. There are some obvious categories that would fall into the “blocked” realm, such as pornography, but in other cases, it might seem like a company or school would have all that much reason to block a website.
Why might schools and businesses block out music sites? Here are just a few:
- Productivity: This is a big reason filters exist in many workplaces. When you’re at work, you’re on “company time,” meaning that any time spent on the internet doing non-work things is a kind of time theft. In order to nip this in the bud before it can even happen, companies will place filters on websites that (a) are extremely distracting and (b) serve no use for an employee’s job during work hours.
- Prevention of Illegal Downloading: Many music sites either link to, facilitate, or even promote the illegal downloading of music. These sites include Mediafire, Uploaded, and the Pirate Bay. What will often happen when an institution puts filters is that a wider net is cast than is intended. This means that a filter will extend beyond what those who asked for the filter initially envisioned, and some sites will get blocked because they appear to be sites promoting illegal downloading, even if they don’t actually do so. When you see a site blocked on your network’s filter, you shouldn’t immediately assume that those hosting your internet connection deliberately sought out to block that site specifically; it will sometimes happen that other sites get brought under the umbrella of a filter. Many filters have an intentionally broad reach, a consequence of which is that those implementing the filter can’t vet every single possible site that fits under the rubric of the filter.
- Viruses: If a site is perceived to be hosting viruses, an anti-virus filter could well block it. This holds true even if it is a site that you have used multiple times before without any virus issues. Anti-viral software and filters are happy to err on the side of caution, which results in some sites that are in all actuality safe being classified as a potential threat to those using the network.
As an important post-script to these points, it should be said that we at Digital Recourse do not encourage going around your internet filter for illegal or inappropriate reasons. If you are trying to get around a filter at work to avoid doing work, that is wrong, as is looking for illegal music download sites. If a site has been flagged for virus issues, it’s best to avoid it for the safety of your computer — especially if you’re at work, and the computer is not actually your property. Frustrating as filters can be, they often do have good reason behind them.
Like it or not, if you’re on an internet connection with a filter, you’ll just have to deal with and find other solutions to the search you’re looking for. Don’t act defeated when a filter blocks your path: the internet, being the heteroglossia of content that it is, will provide you another solution.
Unblocked Music Sites
First, a disclaimer: the sites you’ll see mentioned below are not universally “unblocked.” It could be the case that one or more of these will end up getting blocked by the web filter at your school or workplace. By and large, however, these are sites that tend to remain unblocked even where there are filters that block access to music sites.
This is one of the easiest music websites to use. If you go to the Grooveshark URL (http://groovesharks.org/), you’ll find an easily searchable database of music that spans wide and deep. The cataloguing of the website can be a bit scattershot — songs will sometimes be titled incorrectly or misspelled, for instance — but on the whole Grooveshark is easy to navigate and free to use, which makes it one of the most appealing options for streaming music on the web.
SoundCloud is a great resource for those looking to share and listen to music. With SoundCloud, you can upload your own music to a profile page. You can also explore the pages of other artists on SoundCloud: those on SoundCloud include young artists sharing their first songs and big-time artists who want to give fans a taste of their newest music.
PureVolume is an outlet where you can find out a wealth of information about artists you’re interested in. You can listen to songs, read artist biographies, and also find out tour dates so you can follow the artists you love whenever they’re near your town. PureVolume also regularly posts news stories about artists on its site, so it’s really a one-stop shop as far as information is concerned.
Other unblocked music sites you might consider include:
You can also Google the song or album you’re hoping to listen to, and see what results turn up.
What About Tor?
One commonly known workaround for getting around an institution’s web filter is the use of the anonymity browser known as Tor. In using Tor, your internet connection is re-routed through a globe-spanning connection of computers, the purpose of which is to keep your web browsing habits as anonymous as possible. A consequence of this rerouting is that your computer is taken out of the realm of your local internet connection, which then allows you to get around your local filter. Tor is a free software that can easily be put to use on most computers.
This, however, does not mean that Tor is without its complications. Because Tor aims to keep the identities of those using it private, it has become a place known for lawlessness on the worldwide web; terms such as the “dark net” are regularly bandied about in discussions of Tor and other attempts to promote total (or near-total) anonymity on the internet. You can feel free to chose Tor as a way of getting to blocked music sites, but know the following before doing so:
- Speed: Tor’s functionality, which operates on an “onion routing” system, routes your computer through a series of networks around the globe. Predictably, this makes it not terribly fast as far as browsers go. If there’s something you absolutely need to get to that is blocked by your school or business’ filter, Tor might prove useful, but otherwise its sluggish speed will just leave you questioning if it’s worth all the trouble.
- Illegality: The internet is home to lots of seedy behavior, but Tor is a playground for it. Even if you do your best to avoid any unsavory corners of the internet, your computer could end up stumbling into something that would put your computer at risk. An extension of Tor’s total secrecy is that anything can happen on the Tor network, which has its upsides and downsides.
Tor is not a browser that you should install on a work computer; were an employer to find a computer with Tor on it, she or he would have a few questions to ask, and with good reason. On your home computer, Tor can prove a workaround to the problem of blocked sites, but all told, it’s better to look for alternatives than potentially sketchy workarounds.
Usually, it’s important to recognize the value of computer filters; they are usually put up for a reason, and if you know the reason why your school or workplace has a filter up, it’s best to respect the filter. But if you absolutely need a way to get around a filter, it’s best to think about the alternatives you might have rather than the workarounds to get around any filters in place. The web is an infinitely capacious resource; when you get shut out of a website you were hoping to visit, there is probably another one out there that does the job just as well, if not better. There’s plenty of music listening websites out there, which means no matter what filters you’re facing, you’ll still be able to listen to the music you love.