There are countless websites dedicated to the topic in one way or another. While it’s cool to discover new music, download free tracks, and read about the latest releases, interacting with musicians and like minded people and sharing what you love is the real thrill.
In this article I will introduce three social music networks that allow you to break through the surface and connect with the beat.
As the name suggests, Rank’em is all about ranking music. The true fans are asked to rank artists and their music, so that those yet unfamiliar with the material get an idea what is most popular or what the best work is from a specific artist.
After you signed up, you are asked to select a few artists you like, although this won’t affect much of anything. The main purpose of the site after all is ranking. And this is what you should do for your favorite musicians. On their profile pages you will see the following prompt.
I started ranking songs for the Stereophonics. You can select up to 20 songs and when you’re happy with your list, submit it and rate your own fanstanding, i.e. how big of a fan you are.
Naturally, your ranking will affect the overall ranking for the artist. This is what the Stereophonics’ ranking looked like after my input.
Now if you didn’t know the Stereophonics until now, but would like to know what they sound like, you would now know that you should check out the above listed songs, as they are the most favorite among their biggest fans. If you’re already a fan, you can share this list with your friends on Twitter or Facebook. Obviously, the more people who rank songs, the less biased or more reliable the ranking results will become.
Unfortunately, you cannot listen to music samples at Rank’em, you will have to turn to other sources. Some of the other social music networks may be helpful here.
ReverbNation is a page where the people behind the music can connect with everyone else. Artists, labels, venues, or the management sets up their own profiles and in the best case offers music to the fans.
One of the most powerful features of the site is its ReverbRadio. The display and controls are located in the top right. However, you set it up through the ReverbRadio menu item in the top left. Pick a station from a list of genres and define which artists of that genre your station should play. The options include Top 20 Artists, My Favorite Artists, and artists with their Hometown within x km of your city.
Since the radio is embedded in the top menu, it will keep playing as you browse ReverbNation. And when you discover an artist page that provides music, you can add it to your player.
Furthermore, you can save songs from the radio to a playlist, omitting any songs you didn’t like and including only the ones you want to hear again. Your playlists will be made accessible on your profile or you can actively share them through other networks like Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter. And this is where you connect.
GarageBand was one of the biggest and most liked indie music networks online. Sadly, after 11 years of being awesome, it closed its gates in June this year. Part of GarageBand’s spirit is retained in iLike, although iLike is no longer just about independent music.
The motif of iLike is to ‘Discover New Music with Friends’. The idea is that you share what you like with your friends. For this purpose you are offered to download the free iLike Sidebar, which integrates with iTunes and Windows Media Player and delivers iLike services and a few extras straight to your desktop.
Another step of the signup process is that you share which artists you like. A page of suggestions will be displayed to you.
Finally, when you go to your iLike homepage, you have basically set it all up. Through sharing your Zip code, you have activated the concert suggestions. By liking a set of artists, you are now receiving their updates, whether it’s new releases or concert dates. Now all that is missing, is finding friends or like minded fellows to share with.
Apart from connecting with people, you can listen to music via the iLike player, create your own playlists, and find free mp3s from unsigned artists.
There is a whole lot more to discover at iLike.
TheSixtyOne used to be another great social music network. However, the social aspect was discarded when the site was redesigned to focus on music discovery. Fortunately, some smart folks have ‘saved’ it and created Old TheSixtyOne.
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- How To Broaden Your Musical Horizons Online by Tina
- 3 Best Sites For Alternative Music Lovers by Tina
If you enjoy discovering new bands and legally downloading free music, check out our Sound Sunday series.
How do you prefer to share your favorite music?
Image credits: spartsam