Most of my life I have strived to find new and interesting music, but I am often far too busy to really dig deep and find new artists everyday. Now that I am done with college and have a real job, I find that I have even less time to find new music or even stay up to date with all of the new bands.
I have, however, found some great resources that keep me in the loop with minimal time and effort.
Free Music Listening Sites
Pandora is an easy to use music discovery website that has been a favorite of mine for some time. Pandora allows you to create “stations” by putting in your favorite band or bands. Then, Pandora will play songs from that artist and artists that have a similar sound to your main artist. I like Pandora for its no frills approach, as it doesn’t throw a bunch of extra stuff at you.
Last.fm functions much the same way as Pandora, but focuses much more on the social network side of things. Of all the websites and services on the list, I use Last.fm the most. I have found that it has a huge library of tracks that doesn’t stop at the end of mainstream. Their library has exposed me to lots of unknown and underground gems.
StumbleAudio was covered in my previous post Discover New Music with StumbleAudio. It is a great service that is easy to use, but it has a smaller library that is mainly focuses around smaller unknown artists.
The Hype Machine
The Hype Machine is a very unique website, in that, it aggregates all kinds of MP3 blogs from across the Internet into one place. This way you can find out what bands everyone else is talking about and discover them for yourself.
Musicovery presents a much different experience than most of the other services on this list. At Musicovery, you choose genre, mood and timeframe in order to discover new music. This is definitely a very unique way to discover new music and is worth checking out.
Skreemr is an MP3 search engine that returns webpages where MP3’s of the artist you searched are posted. This allows you to easily listen to your favorite song by that artist. Skreemr also gives you the option to search for similar artists.
iLike is a music social network that is similar to Last.fm, but iLike integrates with your iTunes through a sidebar. This allows you to easily get recommendations from iLike and find more people with similar tastes in order to find find new artists.
thesixtyone allows its users to “bump” up tracks by different artists. It functions in a way that is very similar to Digg, but it is only for music. This way you can find great songs and great artists by using the knowledge of the other users on the site.
Amazon is a site that just about everyone should be familiar with. Back before I knew all about the sites listed above, I would go to Amazon and see what else customers bought when they bought an album I liked. If you keep doing this, you start going down a rabbit hole and can find some great music. The little snippets that Amazon lets you listen to provide you with a great way to sample the artists as you come across them.
What list of places to find music would be complete without blogs? There are lots of great music blogs out there that keep you up to date with current artists and events. I subscribe to Stereogum and Pitchfork in my RSS, and I highly recommend them.
Where else do you discover new music? Comment below.