Bored with your music and want to discover some new bands or singers? There are two main ways you can do that online. You can use services which create music maps, allowing you to explore artists similar in genre to the artists you already listen to. Or you can use music blogs and websites that showcase independent or up-and-coming artists, whether the music is being reviewed, or posted by the musicians themselves.
Some of these websites have a community built around them, which gives fans the opportunity to interact directly with these new talents.
Here is a list of 10 free sites to discover new music.
TuneGlue is straightforward and easy to use. Put in the name of a musical artist you like in the search bar and before you know it, you’ll have a whole web of musical artists that are in one way or another, similar to the band you started with.
Using TuneGlue, you start out with 6 similar artists, and can continue to explore and expand on them. In the case of some artists, you can also find added information such as a small bio and a link to their website.
A less flashy alternative to TuneGlue is Music-Map. While TuneGlue only initially suggests 6 similar artists, Music-Map instantly reveals all the similar artists in their database, with the most similar musicians closest to the original search term.
Music Roamer adds another dimension to music map sites, by not only providing suggestions of similar artists, but also allowing you to listen to music directly on their site. The songs are powered by YouTube videos, but it should be said, in our experience, all of the tracks were live versions, and not always of very good quality. They also provide links to purchase the mp3s from Amazon.
While listening to a song on Music Roamer, you can also explore similar songs, not just similar musicians, which definitely puts it a step ahead of Music-Map and TuneGlue.
Music Roamer gives you more freedom in manipulating the appearance of your results – including resizing images and controlling how many similar artists are included in the results.
The simplest alternative to these first three websites is. Searching for any given artist will provide you with a list of similar artists, whose music you can listen to directly on their website, again powered by YouTube videos. The videos, however, are not live and are usually of much better quality than Music Roamer’s videos.
An alternative to Bloson is the Zune website, which you can benefit from whether or not you own a Zune.
This website is worth a mention because not only can you look up similar musicians, you have the added bonus of finding out which bands they were influenced by, as well as those they have influenced.
Other websites that you can use to discover similar music include Musicovery, TasteKid, Last.fm, Pandora and FineTune. A tip to getting a better user experience with FineTune is to use their Wii-player.
Discovering new artists isn’t just about finding bands that are similar to musicians you already listen to. Blogs like One Track Mind have made it easy for musicians to share their music through a single platform, by submitting them to the site for review.
Music on One Track Mind is divided into four main genres: Indie, Electronic, Soul and Hip-Hop. Not only can you listen to posted songs, the song comes with a blog post about the artist, and you can also download the mp3 for free, and rate the song. The ratings are reflected in three criteria: originality, repeat listen potential and overall verdict.
Another music blog to keep bookmarked, which also includes mainstream music, is The Hype Machine.
The Hype Machine scours music blogs for the best in music reviews and blog posts that contain mp3 files to stream or download.
Music can be browsed by popularity, both based on interaction on their website or on Twitter, by listening to a constant stream of eclectic music, or by listening to a customizable station based on your taste, amongst other ways.
Social music sites are another way to discover new music. TheSixtyOne is a great place to start if you’re looking for new talent. The site has under gone a recent and major revamp, which for previous users, could take some getting used to.
Luckily if you don’t want to do that – you can always access the old site design by going here.
Besides a total redesign with no remnants from the old site’s design, the categories have changed as well. Rather than dividing their music into genres, popular songs, and moods, it’s now categorized only by mood with mellow, party, trippy and funny on the list.
TheSixtyOne differs from One Track Mind in that artists and labels can post their own music to the site, albeit with limited uploads dependent on achieving certain “˜milestones.’
Listeners can add songs to their favourites, and the more popular a song is, the more likely it is to end up on the front page, or in the case of the new site, in the queue. The site is entirely community driven, with the users deciding what is popular and what isn’t, and in the process, earning “˜reputation points.’
While listening to songs, you can “˜heart’ them, share them and in some cases download them. TheSixtyOne also suggests similar songs to listen to.
Once you have been active enough on the site, you can listen to a station, based on your taste in music.
If you’re more interested in the music and less interested in the community experience, a good alternative to TheSixtyOne is OurStage.
Simply choose one of their 42 stations, and listen to uninterrupted music from brand new singers and songwriters. You can also have a say in which songs end up on the OurStage charts, by taking part in the “˜judging’ process. After listening to two songs from the same genre, you can choose the song you liked more, and as they put it, save the world from mediocre music.
PureVolume is yet another interesting alternative to OurStage and TheSixtyOne. It features both signed and unsigned bands, in over 50 genres. You can browse music by popularity or by featured artists. All songs are available to stream, while some are available for download as well. Each band has an individual page where they can post band information, their songs, and users can comment or add songs and singers to their favourites. Bands can sign up for free and start promoting their music, but there is also a pro account for musicians with additional features, including the opportunity to be included in the featured artists.
PureVolume also has social media integration, where you can share the music you find on Twitter and Facebook.
How do you discover new music online? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Sofamonkez