Great ways to find new music online

I decided that I’d put together a list of some of the best sources for finding new music(that I’ve discovered at least – comment and share yours) to listen to online(some available for free download even).

On-Demand Music Streaming Services

These services offer mostly browser-based services for streaming recommended

  • Pandora – The godfather of online streaming services. Select one of your favorite bands or songs and create ‘Radio’ Stations which use their music matching algorithm to find stuff they think you’d like in the same genre. A favorite of mine is “The National” radio. They’ve also got apps for mobile devices as well dedicated streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, TV’s and Blue Ray players. Free version limits to 40 hours a month with ads and limited skips of tracks you don’t like. Pandora One allows a desktop app and unlimited music
  • Spotify – The new kid on the block(stateside at least). Spotify is a streaming music service that indexes your local music and also has a library of online music you can try out new stuff. They allow 20 hours a month on the free service then charge a monthly fee for unlimited streaming. Spotify can also sync to your mobile devices.
  • Grooveshark – Grooveshark is like Spotify, but has a little more limited library. They offer a point system where you can answer surveys to upgrade to their full unlimited service too. Probably my favorite of these as it offer the most service for lowest cost.

Here’s an article from LifeHacker with more details on each of these plus Lala and Last.fm too. I didn’t care for the last two as much as the other 3 I’ve detailed. Rdio is also another great streaming service with mobile support, but doesn’t offer a free option so you’ll be paying for their well sized library.

Live Playlist Services

  • Turntable.fm – An online music deejay’ing community.  Themed rooms exist where up to 5 DJ’s spin songs and add DJ points to their profile.  Turntable features a Chat interface to allow you to talk with other people of like minded musical tastes.  A great way to share music with friends and discover new music through themed music you already like. Turntable also allows you to add music to a queue and save it there for future playing or add something you hear that you like to your turntable queue.  You can also add to Spotify and other services from Turntable – Check out the Wired Power Tips for Turntable.fm.
  • Listening Room.net – More private invite listening room with chat features.  This allows you and some friends to enjoy the same song and chat about it.  Owner of the room decides what can be played in the queue.
  • Outloud.fm – Very similar to Turntable.
  • Playlistnow.fm – Music streaming service based on what activity you are doing.  Unique twist on music discovery.

Music Sampling Services / Artist Promotion

These services specialize mostly in indie or smaller label artists. They allow you to download some sample tracks or make a donation to download tracks where the donation goes mostly to the artist.

  • Epitonic – This service offers editor playlists of indie bands. They’ve got some really good stuff that even hits mainstream like The Shins, Fleet Foxes, and Sufjan Stevens for free download. This is a great place to play the music online prior to downloading. They submit new tracks each day and some are only free for a limited time so scoop’em up while you can.
  • NoiseTrade – Offers donation based music for download.  Give what you think the music is worth, or try some out then donate later.

Online Music Stores: The Big Boys – iTunes or Amazon MP3

  • Both iTunes and Amazon offer samplings (30-90 secs) of their music prior to purchase, especially using iTunes Genius service you can find some recommendations based on your current library especially using the Genius feature on iTunes.
  • Weekly freebies on iTunes or Amazon.  Each service offers free selections weekly – check some out.  I’ve gotten some decent stuff here in the past.

Music blogs or lists

There are tons of blogs with lists of music.  Music mags and charts like Spin Magazine, Billboard, etc. offer top charts of music  Here are some lesser known blogs or lists.

  • FiveTracks.com – These folks come up with a lot of top 5 lists that are odd or quirky.
  • Heard on TV – This is a website that give just what its title says, a database of music heard on TV shows. With so much great music being used in TV commercials and in episodes, you can often discover great stuff through shows you like. Try a few here. Some discoveries I’ve made are: Kathyrn Calder’s – So Easily(heard on Warehouse 13). Bear McCreary’s cover of All Along the Watchtower(Battlestar Galactica) and a multitude of songs from So You Think You Can Dance.(including Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts).  A few more of these are: TuneFind and AdTunes
  • NPR Music – NPR does a First Listen series where you can stream an entire album that’s just being released.  They often have some really good stuff.
  • Last Bit of Sanity – A blog of a friend where they discuss new music they’re enjoying.

Social Media/Your Friends!

  • If you’re reading this you probably find out about new things through social media like Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. Hit up your friends on Facebook, Twitter or the like and follow some of your favorite bands on these services as they often talk about their favorite music at the moment. I follow many of the members of a favorite band of mine Atomic Tom(more on them in a future post / review of their new “In Parallel” dropping Sept 13th or concert review following their Oct 29th show at Jammin’ Java) and they each often talk about the bands they perform with or music they’re digging at the time.  They’re also hosting a Livesteam chat online Sept 13th to celebrate the release of “In Parallel”.
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