Gaming to Streaming Radio

Gaming is just better with background music.  Regardless of styles, versions,or  generation gaps we can all at least agree on that.  When gaming, what do you listen to?  More importantly, how do you listen?  Personally, I like streaming radio.

Streaming radio is all over the web these days, with the two top spots probably going to Pandora radio and last.fm.  Personally, I like last.fm because it works with my Xbox.  If you happen to have Kinect (I do), you can voice command last.fm to skip tracks or stop altogether.  In game, this makes  all the difference.  The only drawback is you have to wave at the Kinect every now and then, to let it know you’re there.

Whether you’re using Pandora or last.fm, the trick to streaming radio is scrobbling.  Scrobbling is simply telling your radio station whether you love or hate any given track.  They use this information to build a perfect radio station, so you can use it to build a perfect adventure.

Here’s where it gets fun.  Each radio station will have you start by entering an artist or genre you want to listen to.  Try everything.  Typing in “Arabian” will give you some great desert adventuring music.  Likewise, typing in “water” get’s you a nice ambient beat.  Once again, scrobble!  If you love or hate a song, they need to know!

If you really like a song, take note of the artist and try a radio station with just their name in it.  As you do this, you’ll start to notice some familiar music popping into your playlist.  Keep taking notes, listening, and narrowing it down to three choices.

Now that you have a few artists perfectly suited to your adventure, make a Multi-Artist radio station.  You can enter up to three artists at last.fm, not sure about Pandora.  Here’s my personal favorite gaming station:

  • Totakeke
  • Num Num
  • Keef Baker

Keep in mind my scrobbling will have made it different from what you may hear.

In the Shadowfell, we’ve been gaming to Sunn O))) (also great to spook trick-or-treaters!).

Perfect for when you’re at home, but what about on the road?  This is where Pandora takes the lead.  Both sites have a mobile app, but you have to pay for last.fm.  Pandora is free.  While a phone doesn’t produce the best sound possible, it’s still better than nothing.  Music really adds a lot to public play, it seems to negate the public feel by creating ambient noise cancellation.

If you have a specific song in mind for an encounter, you’ll have to find some other means to play it.  You could pause the station, play your song, then resume easy enough, but now you’re defeating the whole purpose.

Streaming radio takes the work out of background music.  We DM’s have enough on our plate as it is.  Worrying about the music too can be frustrating.  I’ve even given the players control of scrobbling before, now we all have a station we can agree on.

So again.  I ask you not, what do you listen to, but how?

last.fm

Pandora

Advertisements

About j0nny_5

Mid-thirties and work a full-time job in beautiful northern Colorado. In my free time I play D&D, video games, and walk my two beautiful Bouvier des Flandres.
This entry was posted in DM Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Gaming to Streaming Radio

  1. Arbanax says:

    Great article shame it doesn’t work if you’re outside the US of A! But I like the idea and will see if I can find a station that does the same thing in Europe.

    Ab

  2. Gurban says:

    Check out Radiorivendell.com. Fantasy streaming radio.

    • j0nny_5 says:

      I surely will. Thanks for telling me about it!

    • Rob says:

      Great article! Music while gaming really helps.
      We listen to Radio Rivendell all the time when we play d&d. The Hobbit/Shire music from Lotr always starts up when we’re fighting a boss though, We used to just use the LOTRs soundtracks.

      • j0nny_5 says:

        Rivendell radio is pretty good, I especially like that it can be added to a multi-artis station at last.fm as well. Speaking of soundtracks, I got my hands on the Dead Space 2 soundtrack. Creepy! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Kilsek says:

    Since I discovered Pandora, our gaming groups using nothing but free internet radio during our D&D sessions. Time-saving, easy to use, typically free, and perfect for mood-setting – with a dash of customizing, as needed.

    Some of my friends still use Pandora at their place, though since they became more ad-heavy this year, I’ve now put Jango in my top internet radio spot – for any kind of customized music station, in and out of D&D. No annoying, constant audio ads like my once beloved Pandora!

    If you try Jango, I think you’ll instantly become a huge fan and never go back, whatever music you enjoy and want to hear.

    Radio Rivendell is also impressive for fantasy-themed music. Last month, when I was looking for alternatives to Pandora, that was also an excellent choice.

    • j0nny_5 says:

      Thanks for the tip about Jango, I do really like it. It seems to play more of the actual bands I base a station around. I’m getting tired of all the ads too, last.fm included. It’s real nice having it available on the Kinect though and it’s hard to abandon two years worth of scrobbling I tried Rivendell, it’s good, but usually not as upbeat as 4e combat demands.

  4. Great article. Two of my players are college music majors so I just have the two of them control an ipod. We have town, battle, and adventuring playlists set up. I try to paint the image of the scene through narration and by the choice of music they make, I can tell if we are on the same page. It works as a feedback system for my DMing abilities, you could say. We use mostly music from Two Steps From Hell, Zack Hemsey, and Craig Armstrong.

    • j0nny_5 says:

      That sounds awesome. I’d love to have someone in my group controlling the soundtrack. Like you said, the “polling” alone would make it worth it.

  5. Pingback: Music for Your D&D Game: Jango « Leonine Roar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s