Remember when you had to sift through hundreds of CDs to discover new music? Those were fun days, but they’re mostly gone. These days, you discover new music online, and we’ve already covered some great ways to do this.
Two problems tend to arise when looking for new music online: intrusive ads and geographical limitations. If you want to listen to new music every day without dealing with any of these, one great option is 8tracks. But did you know 8tracks is more than just a website? Turns out 8tracks also offers a Windows 8 Modern app, and a pretty darn good one. Even if you hate Modern and everything to do with it, you don’t want to miss this.
Finding New Music
If you’ve never heard of 8tracks before, I recommend that you read Erez’s full review of the website. To sum things up quickly, 8tracks revolves around mixes. People create mixes and tag them, and you, in turn, find them according to the type of music you’re looking for. This is not the place to find full albums by certain artists, but rather mixes which fit certain moods, genres, etc.
When you first start using 8tracks, you can immediately start listening to some mixes from the staff picks, featured or trending lists. Alternatively, you can use the Explore options to track down some mixes that fit your exact mood, activity, or favorite genre. You can also combine several tags to make your search even more specific.
Once you find a search term that nails down what you like, you can add it as a preset search. Next time you want to listen for mixes like these, the presets will be available with one click from the top toolbar or from the app’s homepage.
The 8tracks app comes with a built-in music player which stays at the bottom of your screen no matter where in the app you browse, and keeps playing no matter what you’re doing with your PC. You can also view the player in full-screen for the full experience.
If there’s a mix you especially like, you can use the pin button to pin the entire mix to your Start screen for easy access next time. There are also handy YouTube and Amazon links next to every track which automatically search for the artist and track on these sites.
If you’re on a regular PC, and the Modern interface is not really where you live, 8tracks also works well in split mode. In fact, I’m using it right now as I write these lines to listen to some music while I work. It’s great for keeping an eye on what it is you’re actually listening to while still concentrating on your work and without having to switch windows.
This is also handy for controlling your music without having to switch over to the Modern area of Windows.
Every once in a while, you may see a small ad if you scroll the homepage all the way to the end. I only saw an ad there once, and even when it is there, it’s really unobtrusive.
Sign In For An Even Better Experience
While you can enjoy all the music you want anonymously, creating an 8tracks account unlocks some useful features. If you don’t have an 8tracks account, you can create one from the app, or sign in using your Facebook account. You will now have the ability to favorite tracks, like mixes, follow users, and much more.
While listening to a mix, the heart button will save the entire mix as “Liked”. The star button next to the track will favorite and save only that specific track. From the mix, you can also click through to the mix’s creator, and see what other mixes they’ve done. If you like what you see, you can follow this user to make sure you’re aware of new mixes and to have quick access to their other mixes.
From the top toolbar, accessible by swiping down with your finger or right-clicking anywhere with your mouse, you can easily jump between the app’s different areas, including your liked mixes, favorite tracks, preset searches, and other ready-made lists of tracks. You will also see a “Recommended” list, which will keep getting better the more you use the app.
If you’re using one of 8tracks’ other apps, such as the iOS or Android app, everything you save using this app will be automatically synced with the rest.
A Great Player, But Not A Client
8tracks for Windows 8 brings all of 8tracks’ music-playing and discovering features to your desktop. While it can’t play your own music files, it’s an excellent option for when you’re sick of your own music and want to listen to something new. Discovering new music is effortless, and it’s easy to keep discovering more of the same.
One thing it’s not, though, is a full 8tracks client. Meaning, you can’t create mixes with it and share them with the world. For that, you’re still going to have to use the 8tracks website.
Even if you’re a Modern app skeptic, I highly recommend that you try 8tracks. It might become the first Modern app you’ve ever used regularly.
Download: 8tracks for Windows 8
How do you discover new music? Any favorite music players for Windows 8? Share your thoughts below.
Image Credit: Headphones by Marilena Marchese via Flickr