Film and TV

The Broke Music Fan's Guide to Denver: Free TV

It's been a while since music fans depended on TV channels like MTV to get their fix of new and favorite music. Today devices like Roku and Apple TV are becoming increasingly popular as people realize that the big cable companies are charging a hell of a lot of money for average-to-horrendous service. Yet with a decent Internet speed and a few choice subscriptions, you can get pretty much anything you want for less.

This writer has a Roku, and the great thing is that there are a ton of public-access and indie channels, showing all manner of freaky drive-in movies, exploitation and sci-fi mini-classics — plus lots and lots of music.

Most of the music channels are free and many are created by members of the public; as a result, the quality varies dramatically. But hunt around a little, and you can find decent TV channels playing every genre of music, including those that make a big splash in Colorado. Here are some gems that can be found with a Roku channel search:

8. Flashback 80s
It’s like watching MTV back in the glory days of MTV, minus the mouthy VJs. The great thing about this channel is that it will play any and all music from the decade, so you might be watching some new romantic band like Duran Duran, followed by a hair-metal anthem by Warrant, then some old-school hip-hop, then a punk track. The sound and picture quality is superb.

7. Urban Nation
There seems to be an excessive amount of ads on this one, but once it’s flowing, it’s awesome. Old- and new-school R&B and rap picked perfectly to keep the mood consistent — this is a quality channel.

6. Dead Shows
Essentially a jukebox for choosing from the huge amount of Grateful Dead videos and songs stored online. Deadheads will rejoice at the sheer volume on here, allowing them to listen to the same song recorded countless times at countless venues around the world. And we all know how popular the Dead still are around here.

5. Dance Trippin’ / Electronik
Dance Trippin’ allows the viewer to pick from a massive collection of videos from clubs and events all over the world, of DJs of all electronic-music sub-genres. Want some dubstep? Help yourself. How about house? That’s there, too. Everything in between? Go for it. Meanwhile, Electronik is more of a classic channel in that the videos are streamed for you, no choices to be made. The benefit here is that you don’t have to keep picking up the remote and picking tracks, and the guys responsible for lining them up do a great job.

4. Metal Mania
Coming at metal from the more extreme side of the genre, this is a channel that will help you let off a little steam. Lamb of God will sit comfortably alongside Emperor. Just select it and let it do the work for you.

3. Raw Country
From the outlaws to the old-time bluegrass peeps, Raw Country plays anything that looks and feels dirty and dusty, as opposed to the CMA-esque, rhinestone-encrusted contemporary pop country.

2. Pop Music
Another jukebox-style channel. There are actually tracks on here by any artist considered popular, so this is “pop music” in its purist form. Indie rock, electronic music, R&B — it’s all here. Naturally, you’ll also find the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

1. Check out these cheap live shows for a deal IRL.
When you're done with free streaming of your music, here are a few options happening this week in Denver:

Josh Blackburn / Willie & the Po Boys, Saturday, August 27, Platte River Bar and Grill, free.

Summer Concert Series, Sunday, August 28, Jefferson Park, free.

Diamond Empire Band, Monday, August 29, Walnut Room, free.