How To Listen To Turntable.fm And Pandora Outside The US

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This past weekend, Turntable.fm decided to shut down access to their service to listeners outside the US. According to a notice on their site, Turntable cannot offer their service to visitors outside the US anymore due to “Licensing Restrictions”.

Turntable.fm is not the first web service to shut down access to non-US listeners. Pretty much every music service worth listening to, doesn’t let users outside the US listen in.

So, when I tried to login yesterday evening and found myself blocked, I decided to do something about it.

Turntable.fm and others figure out the country a visitor is from by geolocating the IP address of the visitor. This means that to use their services outside the US, all you have to do is make them believe that your IP address is from the US. Easier said than done, eh ?

Well, actually, it isn’t THAT difficult. There are a few different ways that you can spoof your IP address and one of them is by using the open source tools developed by the TorProject.

What is Tor ?

According to their website

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.

Tor works by creating a relay of proxies around the world and directing traffic via them, thus making sure that anyone tracking your IP address will actually be seeing the IP address of the relay and not your real IP. By default, Tor redirects traffic via any available relay around the world. For our purpose, however, we’ll be configuring Tor to redirect traffic only via US based relays. But, for that, we need to install Tor first.

Installing Tor

The TorProject distributes binaries for Linux, Windows and OS X and the OS X binaries is what I used. Installation is as simple as can be using the wizard based installer for Windows and the .DMG app bundle for OS X.

Once you’ve installed Tor, although you can control it using the CLI but the smarter way of interacting with Tor is by using the bundled Vidalia control panel. On OS X, the application to launch is named TorBrowser and when you launch the application, it launches Vidalia which in turns launches the Tor daemon in the background and connects you to the Tor network.

Tor - Vidalia Control Panel

Configuring Firefox to use Tor for browsing

Tor runs as a non-caching proxy on your desktop and to use it you need to configure your browser to use Tor as a proxy. If you’re using Firefox, open the preferences pane and go to the Advanced tab and click the Settings button.

Firefox Network Settings

Now, select the Manual Proxy Configuration radio button and enter localhost as the HTTP proxy and 8118 as the port. To be safe, also tick the Use this proxy server for all protocols radio button.

Firefox Proxy Configuration

Firefox will now use the Tor network for all communication. The only problem is, like I said, Tor, by default, will use any random relay around the world for routing data. We want to make sure that our data is only routed via US based relays.

Configuring Tor to use US relays only

Back to the Vidalia control panel. Open the Settings pane and click the Advanced tab.

Edit torrc

Click the Edit current torrc button and add the following lines to the configuration file.

ExitNodes {us}
StrictExitNodes 1

Press the Ok button and Vidalia will instruct you to reload tor.

That’s it. From now onwards, whenever you browse using firefox, all your traffic will be routed via a US based Tor relay. Want proof ?

Pandora

Now, you can enjoy listening to Pandora and Turntable.fm wherever you are in the world. This same trick can also be used to access services that are only available in certain geographies such as the BBC iPlayer or Spotify.

Was this post helpful for you ? Have you ever wished you could access any blocked site from your country ? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 

Sharninder:
Programmer, blogger and a geek making a living shifting bits around the Internet. Sharninder is the owner of Geeky Ninja

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44 Responses

  1. emerysteele says:

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial! I am using tor for turntable.fm and it works great. The only issue is that tor has high latency so it is pretty much impossible to get a DJ spot.

  2. Abhilash says:

    My browsers dont seem to be able to use tor. I keep getting the error, proxy is refusing connections. doing this on linux and firefox.

    Also, the linux Vidalia client doesnt seem to have the “edit current torrc” button.

    • Sharninder says:

      I checked the windows and Mac version of vidalia. Those had the option so I assumed all of them will do.

      The error you’re getting is probably due to some configuration problem with tor. You sure tor is starting up correctly ?

  3. boxbeat says:

    I am able to get to the lobby of turntable.fm, but all i see is a black page and the copyright info. Has anyone run into this and figured out the problem? Do i need to open some ports up?

    • Sharninder says:

      I faced the same problem but after trying a few times was able to get in. I think browser session is just timing out because of the high latency. Hit refresh a few times and you should be able to get in.

  4. emerysteele says:

    You may also want to try clicking on the button that says “use a new identity”. This will change Tor’s route and possibly give you a connection with lower latency. Keep trying this if it doesn’t work the first time. It should work eventually.

  5. boxbeat says:

    Hmm, I tried several refreshes, and new identities. The page doesn’t take too long to load (15s), but doesn’t display the content. Which browser do you use? I’ve tried the Firefox version that comes with the Windows Tor install and Chrome 12 as well but got “514 Authentication required” with that.

  6. boxbeat says:

    Sweet, I’ve got it working now. The problem was most likely the version of Firefox that comes with the Windows Tor install. I now have it working perfectly in Chrome.
    (I previously had the wrong proxy port # in Chrome, correcting it to 8118 worked). Thanks everyone for your replies!

  7. zee says:

    thanks for the great tutorial..!!
    1 question…
    how can i set tor to work with 2 or 3 relays only…?
    i mean….USA and UK only…
    please help me…
    thanks.

  8. zee says:

    thanks mate….!!!

  9. loun says:

    I cant seem to get the edit torc thing to work. I dont really know where abouts to add the lines for a start and when i try it just coms up with an error…. please can someone help me!!

  10. Brad says:

    Hey, thanks for the tutorial, everything work great except when i went to get on turntable its telling me that i have to be friends of friends with someone on facebook to get in, even though i have friends on turntable.
    thanks

  11. Amy says:

    Thanks, though having an issue when I add the exitnode to Vidalia, get error message saying ‘Unacceptable option value’. Can anyone advise what I’m doing wrong…

  12. PaulP says:

    How Brad?

  13. emerysteele says:

    If you are having issues with turntable.fm load time, try adding the following lines to the torrc file.

    CircuitBuildTimeout 30
    KeepalivePeriod 60
    NewCircuitPeriod 15
    NumEntryGuards 8

  14. Gabe says:

    Even after I have edited the code in torrc to force US relay, it doesn’t always give me a US IP address. Many times I’ve run tor, then open pandora only for it to tell me that I have a Germany or Netherland IP address. Why :( :( :( :( ?????

  15. John says:

    I’m using http://www.UnoTelly.com to get around the block for turntable.fm

    It’s free and also supports Spotify, Netflix and other USA-only services. I’m so tired of record companies blocking everyone else outside USA. When I went to Europe, Spotify is so huge!

  16. Nish says:

    Hi

    I keep getting this when I try to add the, ‘ExitNodes {us} StrictExitNodes 1′ lines : –

    Unacceptable option value: Int keyword ‘SocksPort 9050 # what port to open for local application connections’ is malformed or out of bounds.

    Any ideas?

    • Sharninder says:

      I haven’t really come across this error so can’t really help you there. Hopefully, some of other readers have seen this error and have an easy fix for you.

    • Liam says:

      I had the same thing. I managed to sort it by clearing all of the standard configuration text that is already there and then copying in what I actually wanted. Now works a treat.

  17. jason says:

    Exactly the same promlem as NISH.

    I have no idea about these things,but i followed every step. The only thing whats not clear is where to put exactly :

    ExitNodes {us}
    StrictExitNodes 1

    At the bottom or the top and must i use as well “#” ?
    Using windows 2007

  18. Green says:

    Thanks,
    But i find a vpn solution really more fast and stable
    http://pandoraoutusa.blogspot.com/
    hope it help who find trubles with Tor

  19. Schott says:

    Ok, this worked very well thanks. Is it possible to do this with my phone. so i can listen to pandora on my phone from South Korea.

    • Sharninder says:

      Well, you can technically make this work on your phone but it won’t be easy and if you’re asking this question, my guess is that you won’t be able to handle it yourself.

  20. Schmitt says:

    Yea, I did some more research and found the orbit program for my android phone. But I’m thinking I would have to root my phone to get it to work. Think I read somewhere that without root, orbot only works with a few apps like orweb or something along those lines. So I’m deciding on rooting the phone. It’s a droid x2, but I can’t use it here in south Korea, had to get an iPhone over here. But the wifi on the droid still works.

  21. Alex says:

    After some struggles with Tor, I gave unotelly a shot and it’s working great so far.

  22. timmy says:

    hi, i was unable to connect tor to my browser, neither firefox nor chrome. does anyone hv the same problem???

  23. dane says:

    I was able to get to and log into turntable using this guide, however the actual music requires the Flash plugin which does not work.

  24. proggy says:

    just use the http everywhere extension in firefox

  25. Gen says:

    I get no message asking me to reload tor nor error message after I entered the
    ExitNodes {us}
    StrictExitNodes 1
    line and clicked yes, but it’s not working??

  26. James says:

    There is another really cool trick, which is a little bit easier to use http://vpnfreedom.com/turnablefm/how-to-use-turntable-fm-outside-the-us/

  27. Mark Ackley says:

    You can easily access pandora anywhere in the world using AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield VPN.
    It gives you a US IP address and works with Windows XP/Vista/7/Mac.

    Check it out here: http://www.hotspotshield.com

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