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Music has become a natural part of our everyday life. Imagine music missing from movies, department stores or tv commercials. Music is more than decoration, though. Sites like Pandora and Last.fm have hit a beat with those not wanting to miss out on great music, popular or not.

My passion is concerts and although I love music, I hardly ever find the time to just sit down and listen to an entire album. Usually, I have material of the bands I like best or am going to see next on my mp3 player to listen to while I’m on the way.

So how do I find out about new bands and releases I like? It’s a five step process…

1. Radio

A good radio station provides more than just good music. In case there is not a good one in your area, you can switch to online streams or podcasts for the same features.

My choice is MotorFM, the radio station of the record label Motor. They mostly play rock, pop, alternative, few mainstream tunes, few commercials, quality news broadcasts, and segments on all kinds of topics. That combination is extremely convenient for me.

They do provide an online stream (however it’s a German radio station.)

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Talking about radio stations also reminds of me the program called Screamer Record Streaming Audio with Screamer Radio Record Streaming Audio with Screamer Radio Read More which can record and save playing radio tracks to your PC. Check it out.

2. Newsletters

When a band releases an album, they take it on the road for promotion. Since I love concerts, I kill two birds with one stone by simply following tour dates to find out about shows in my area and new releases.

Renee wrote a great article on Keeping Track of Live Music In Your City Keeping Track of Live Music In Your City Keeping Track of Live Music In Your City Read More . Unfortunately, some of the services described are either exclusive to the US or, when community driven, they don’t cover all artists or venues. I found that to be true for all online services I tried, including the Last.fm concert calendar.

Hence, I decided to subscribe to a few major tour management and ticket service newsletters, which keep me up to date on who’s touring my country (Germany). In my case these are MLK, TrinityConcerts, Eventim, and Hekticket .

3. MySpace

For a quick glance at a band’s type of music, MySpace Music is an excellent source!

So when I see tour dates for a band I don’t know yet, I search for them on MySpace to see whether or not I like their music. It also gives me the chance to learn some more about the artist at the same time.

MySpace recently changed the interface of their music player, which not only looks much better, but is also a lot easier to control now.

On MySpace Music they also have a section for concerts. However, even though the profiles are managed by the artists themselves, they are not always up to date. Currently, I have three tickets for three different shows that are not (yet?) listed on the respective artist’s MySpace site.

4. Napster

Once I’ve found an artist I like, I usually buy a ticket for their show and download their music. Since I don’t have the time and patience for semi-legal or bad quality downloads, I use Napster. It’s no longer free, but the monthly plan is reasonable. While I have the program open I also scroll through the latest releases.

For a free and legal alternative I recommend ClipInc, one more tool that allows mp3 capturing from hundreds of preset radio stations.

5. Random Discoveries

Now and then I do find the time to listen to music online. Then I like to use Last.fm, musicovery or StumbleAudio.

Musicovery plays music based on genres combined with mood or tempo and it has an amazingly creative interface. Switching from one song of the current collection to another is easily possible.

While Last.fm certainly is the most popular tool with a huge database and some exclusive material (currently a preview of the new Keane album “Perfect Symmetry”), I like the simple interface of StumbleAudio much better. Besides, it uses OpenID What Is OpenID? Four Awesome Providers What Is OpenID? Four Awesome Providers Read More .

If you’d like to know more about Last.fm, I highly recommend Dave’s article Using Last.fm to Improve your Audiovascular Fitness Using Last.fm to Improve your Audiovascular Fitness Using Last.fm to Improve your Audiovascular Fitness Read More .

How do you discover new music and how do you know who’s playing in town? Any hot new band you would like to share? Comments are much appreciated!

  1. Antonella
    June 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    TheSixtyone is a good one to find more niche music

    • Antonella
      June 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm

      ops, just realized you didn't mention Slacker, another good one.

  2. Crispy
    October 12, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for these wonderful sites, musicovery looks awesome.

  3. Brian
    October 12, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    i'd suggest hypem.com over elbow.ws.

  4. Jesse
    October 12, 2008 at 1:30 am

    You forgot music blogs! There are tons of music blogs and the best BLOG aggregator for music is elbo.ws. Of course hype machine is more about the mp3 aspect, but I prefer elbo.ws because it's more blog centric.

    I would also suggest public radio HD stations such as opbmusic.org which is an HD radio station of an NPR member station.

  5. operations
    October 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Napster is no longer free? That may be true to some extent but this page [ free.napster.com/ ] seems to work okay. Have to be in the United States if you want to hear the full-length songs though, pretty typical though.

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