One of the best (and sometimes worst) aspects of music is that there’s always more to discover. The music that you enjoy today is probably a lot different from the music you enjoyed a decade ago, and a decade from now your tastes will have changed some more. During that time, you might grow sick of your music collection. I know I do. Thankfully, you can use your Android device to find new music for your library.
For most of us, our main method of new music discovery was probably Internet radio. Songza is a fantastic way to find new music according to activity and mood, but there are other alternatives that are a bit more sophisticated like music mapping tools. On top of that, you have a few other lesser-known ways to discover new music. But if all of that isn’t enough, you can make use of these Android apps to explore more artists that you may not know about yet.
Despite the name, Indie Shuffle is more than just indie genre music. Once you open the app and see how it works, it may seem deceptively similar to Internet radio, but there are some subtle differences. Indie Shuffle works by dividing new music into genre-defined playlists that are regularly updated and maintained by a team of music enthusiasts. When you play a song, Indie Shuffle will build an appropriate list of similar music for you to explore.
You can explore the music on Indie Shuffle in six different ways:
- Latest: Browses through all of the latest additions to the Indie Shuffle library.
- Popular: Browse through the most popular songs in the Indie Shuffle library.
- Browse: A generic browsing option that lets you go through a few different genres: Indie Rock, Electronic, Hip Hop, Remixes & Covers, Folk & Acoustic, as well as the Song Of The Day and Sunday Night Chill.
- Favorites: If you create an Indie Shuffle account, you can save certain tracks to your favorites list and play them from here.
- Shuffle: Randomly selects songs from the entire Indie Shuffle library.
- Search: Search for a particular track or artist in order to find similar tracks and artists. Unfortunately, the search only finds tracks within the Indie Shuffle database.
Best of all is that Indie Shuffle is completely free, doesn’t have ads, and doesn’t impose a listening limit. The downside is that Indie Shuffle focuses a great deal on undiscovered artists and doesn’t really have many mainstream or popular artists in their database. It makes sense for it to be that way, but if you’re looking into a genre you haven’t enjoyed before, you’ll miss a lot of great songs due to this.
On the surface, Bandhook is a reference source for artists in all musical genres. First you search for particular artists that interest you, then Bandhook presents you with relevant biographies, discographies, images, videos, and similar artists. I was able to find entries for artists whom I considered to be somewhat unknown (e.g., Abakus) so it’s not like Bandhook only knows about mainstream artists. The one downside I saw is a lack of album art for some of the lesser known artists.
But Bandhook is also useful for finding new artists that are similar to the artists you already enjoy. It’s similar to how services like Last.FM would do it, but Bandhook goes one step further. As you search for artists, Bandhook learns which artists and genres you like and automatically generates recommendations for you based on that knowledge.
And when you find artists that have piqued your interest, Bandhook provides direct links so you can listen to them on Spotify or Deezer as well as direct links to the Play Store where you can purchase their songs.
UberHype is an app that interfaces with the Hype Machine, which is a network that tracks what music bloggers have been blogging about. This compilation is then used as a way to introduce people to new music that they may not know about. UberHype taps into that network and lets you stay up to date with the new music floating around in the musical blogosphere.
With UberHype, you can directly stream the songs that are the topic of discussion. You can browse songs based on their popularity with listeners OR based on how recently they’ve been mentioned in the blogosphere. Each song also lists the specific blog that mentioned it, which is helpful in case you want to check out the site and see what other artists are up for discussion there.
If you create an UberHype account, you can favorite songs, subscribe to certain blogs, add friends, and see what songs your friends have favorite, which is another avenue for musical discovery. My only gripe is that I couldn’t find a way to browse songs by genre, which is a feature I find critically important.
So which of these apps should you use? Use Indie Shuffle if you want to find new songs according to genre and stream them through the app, though the number of available genres isn’t comprehensive. Use Bandhook if you want to find artists that are similar to a particular artist you already have in mind. Use UberHype if you want to listen to what people in the musical blogosphere are currently listening to.
What other Android apps do you use for discovering new music? Share them with us in the comments!