In decades gone by, listening to your favourite music was somewhat difficult if you had tastes that were not considered mainstream. Lovers of genres like soca who live outside the Caribbean relied on speciality retailers to get the latest vinyl records, cassettes and CDs.
Thankfully, times have changed and the internet has made many things possible that weren’t before. It’s possible to chat with loved ones around the world and do business with people hundreds and thousands of miles away. We can even play games against others without being in the same room, including everything from blockbuster console titles like Call of Duty and classic casino games with free bets and spins.
For lovers of soca music, it’s possible to listen to an extensive library of songs by streaming them online. Everything from the early soca that emerged in the 1970s, through to the many sub-genres that have spawned from it.
A dedicated streaming service that promised to be the “Spotify of the Caribbean” was launched in 2016 by Abay Israel and Andre Thomas. However, it was not a success and no longer operates today. Fortunately though, online streaming services have been trying to grow their catalogues of soca music in recent years.
In fact, US service, Audiomack, began actively expanding its soca offering in 2019. The New York-based company had been categorising soca music under reggae as they didn’t have enough to warrant a separate section.
This has been a trend seen on other platforms too, with some soca producers saying they get more exposure and make more money by listing songs under the reggae categories of streaming services. Many argue though that doing so limits the growth of interest in the soca category in the long rung.
To expand its soca offering, Audiomack began asking artists to upload their soca music to its platform. The company’s Director of Afrobeats and Reggae, Tanya Lawson even made a special trip to Trinidad & Tobago to promote the initiative.
The company hopes to encourage up and coming artists away from using YouTube to publish their original songs, and to using the Audiomack platform instead where they can get paid for doing so.
Today, it has a separate tag for soca music with sub-categories of bouyon, calypso, chutney, groovy, parang, and steelpan/steelband. The service also has several thousand soca related playlists including collections dedicated to songs from individual years and classic and timeless tunes.
Audiomack is free to sign up and use, and promises “limitless music sharing and discovery”. The service can be accessed through your web browser, and with apps available for iOS and Android devices, you can listen to your favourite soca tracks wherever you are and whenever you want.
Soca Switch Radio
Soca Switch Radio broadcasts exclusively online from Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain. It combines a mix of popular soca artists and lesser-known musicians, giving you the broadest mix of soca music available anywhere.
While you don’t have the option of picking which songs you listen to, it’s a great way to explore new soca songs to add to your collection.
Listening to Soca Switch Radio is easy. You can stream it online, directly from its website, or from a number of other online radio platforms. This means you can find Soca Switch Radio on TuneIn, Streema, Online Radio Box, Live Radio and Trinidad Radio Stations.
Soca Addicts Radio
Soca Addicts is another online radio station that is dedicated to soca music. Unlike Soca Switch, the station is broadcast from the United States, with its base in Albany, New York.
You can find Soca Addicts Radio on most online radio platforms, including Radio.net, TuneIn and Radioline. It’s also available through the Soca Addicts Radio website where you can also find videos and songs of up and coming artists.
The station is run by a small community of soca lovers from New York with the aim of promoting the genre and helping soca fans find more of the favourite music online.
Amazon Prime Music
Soca music is available to stream for free for Amazon Prime customers. This is great for customers who already pay for the Amazon Prime service that also gets you free premium delivery and access to its video streaming platform.
Its library of soca music is not huge and it can be difficult to find it since there is no soca genre listed on the platform. However, if you’re already a subscriber then it’s a nice addition to any other services you use.
Spotify is one of the biggest online music platforms available today. It has a free version which is supported by ads and has restrictions around skipping tracks, there’s also a premium version that gives you more control over what you listen to and the ability to listen offline. This is great for times when you want to soundtrack your life with soca but don’t have access to the internet.
While it isn’t easy to find soca music through the genre sections, there are plenty of soca playlists that you can use to find your favourite tracks and discover new songs. The range of soca music on Spotify is vast, with several day’s worth of soca packed into these playlists.
While YouTube is not always the most practical platform to stream music on, especially if you don’t listen to the premium version, it can be a great way to discover new soca artists and unique remixes from both amateur and professional DJs.
It has one of the most extensive libraries of soca music you will find online. All of it is on-demand and you can skip tracks and choose what you want to listen to, unlike the free versions of some streaming platforms.
Since you can connect YouTube to just about any device, it’s great for parties since you can connect your smartphone to your TV and turn it into a jukebox.
If you pay for the premium version of YouTube, you can also listen to soca music on your smartphone without having to keep the app open, making it a great option for streaming on the go.