With the proliferation of apps like YouTube and SoundCloud, there are now more ways than ever for musicians and bands to get music into their fans’ ears.
But the vast array of services can also be problematic – how do you stay abreast of the releases you care about when they could pop up in lots of different places? 20 years ago, all you needed to do was subscribe to a weekly music magazine and listen to the radio, these days it’s not so simple.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep up-to-date with your favorite artists. Here are eight websites to check out new music releases as they happen.
The Music Ninja isn’t concerned with Justin Bieber’s latest release or Miley Cyrus’ newest album. Instead, it focuses on new content from lesser-known and up-and-coming artists.
Most of the site’s recommendations revolve around four main genres: electronic, indie, hip-hop, and folk. Spotify offers more obscure genres. The Music Ninja publishes regular playlists and often has new featured tracks – all of which aim to introduce you to bands you probably haven’t heard of. Each track in a playlist comes with at least a couple of sentences describing the artist and the song.
You can download most of the featured tracks for free. Any that don’t offer a free download can be purchased directly from the site.
Pitchfork is a wide-ranging music website that covers everything from interviews to exclusive video content. If you want to find brand new music, head to the “Best New Music” section.
It has the tagline, “Highlighting the finest music of the current moment,” and it certainly delivers. There are three sections– “Best New Album,” “Best New Track,” and “Best Reissue.” Each section has an overall winner, but delve a little deeper and you can find shortlists with hundreds of entries. You can play lots of the tracks directly from the website via SoundCloud links.
Pitchfork update the shortlisted content on a rolling basis, but they only update the overall winners every few weeks.
If you prefer mainstream music, head to the official Billboard website. The company was founded way back in 1894, and has since grown to become the definitive voice on record sales in the United States.
If you want to see what’s popular or currently trending, you need to look no further. The website includes the Billboard 100 (singles) and the Billboard 200 (albums). You can play snippets of songs through the site, or click the Spotify link to listen to the full track.
If searching through endless lists just to find a new release you appreciate sounds like too much work, you need to check out Beathound.
The site grew out of the embers of the now-defunct Music-Alerts.com, but it’s far more powerful than its predecessor ever was. Simply put, it lets you upload your iTunes XML file, then emails you a list of all the new releases it thinks you will be interested in.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the site only supports iTunes. If you use an alternative app or rely on streaming services like Spotify, you’re out of luck.
As you might expect, New Album Releases posts, umm, new album releases.
There are categories for Rap, Rock, Metal, Pop, Electronic, Folk, Indie, Jazz, and Blues. Clicking on a genre will give you a list of the newest albums within it. The site updates the lists every day.
Clicking on an individual album will show you the track list and provide you with download links. It’s unclear how legal the downloads are, though the site does have a DMCA policy.
Despite using the Spotify name, Spotify New Music is not affiliated with the streaming service.
Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic resource. Tell the site which country you live in, and it’ll list any newly-released songs or albums that are also available on Spotify in your area.
Amazingly, it scours 21 websites to find the new releases in the first place. They are: The 405, All Music, AV Club, Beardfood, Clash Music, Consequence Of Sound, Drowned In Sound, The Guardian, Music OMH, NME, No Ripcord, Paste, Pitchfork, Pop Matters, Resident Advisor, Slant, The Line Of Best Fit, The Music Fix, The Skinny, Tiny Mix Tapes, and Under The Radar.
Like some of the other sites on this list, AllMusic offers a lot more than simply listing new releases. However, the new music section is in a class of its own.
The section is split into three distinct areas: “Featured New Releases,” “All New Releases,” and “Editor’s Choice.” You can filter each section by release date, genre, and record label. The featured section includes a written review, an AllMusic rating, and a user rating.
Each record has a link to an Amazon listing, but there is no native way to preview the content.
The Just-Released Music Videos playlist is curated by YouTube. It features new content from the world’s biggest artists – it’s not a place to find niche or little-known artists.
YouTube updates the list every day. At the time of writing, there are more than 1,600 videos in the playlist and users have watched it almost 60 million times.
Remember, there are lots of free services to rip MP3 files directly off YouTube allowing you to add them to your collection. However, the legality of doing so is highly questionable.
Where Do You Find New Releases?
I’ve shown you eight sites that’ll help keep you abreast of the new releases in the world of music, but there are hundreds of others out there.
If you already know which bands/artists you like, often the most efficient way of finding out about new content is to follow them on social media and read dedicated fan sites. And, of course, Spotify now offers a new “Release Radar” which gives you a weekly list of new releases it thinks you will like.
What sites do you use to stay on top of new content? Please leave your suggestions and opinions in the comments below!
Image Credit: sn6200 via Flickr
Originally written by Steve Campbell on February 11th, 2011