Whether its dedicated music social networks, or services that plug into Twitter or Facebook to let you know what your friends are listening to, there are quite a few ways to disocver new music socially. With niche social networks popping up left and right, it’s no surprise that music-focused social networks are among them.
Spotify is a great example of rolling social networking and music into one, allowing you not only to follow friends with similar taste in music to you, but also to follow musical artists that you like. That said, Spotify is restricted to certain countries, so if you don’t live in a country that has access to the service, you’re out of luck. Fortunately, there are other services worth checking out.
While there are several services that plug into Twitter pulling in what its users are listening to, the best place to start is at the source. Twitter itself launched its own music service and app — Twitter #Music. While there is talk that Twitter is going to pull the app, it’s unclear if they’re just shuttering the mobile app or the whole service. Either way, you should use it while you can. Twitter #Music uses tweets and online engagement to give you the most popular tracks on the social network.
Without signing in, you can discover music being shared on Twitter, drilling down either by genre (alternative, country, hip hop, electronic etc.) or by popularity (emerging, popular etc.) Signing in with your Twitter account gives you the added bonus of a list of suggested artists catered to your taste.
Finally, if you click on any given artist’s name, their profile will show you their most tweeted tracks. It will also suggest a whole bunch of similar artists, making it easy to discover other songs by that singer, as well as other similar musicians.
While you can listen to music directly within Twitter #Music, it will only play an excerpt of the song unless you sign in with Spotify or Rdio, both of which are restricted to certain locations. That said, you can always listen to the excerpt and if you like the sound of it, head over to YouTube or any other service you use to listen to music.
Staying within the confines of Twitter itself , you can always check out your favourite artists and see who they’re following on Twitter. You might discover some of their own favourites, and find some great new music in the process.
It’s also worth following a few solid music Twitter accounts that are constantly recommending and unearthing new music. A few accounts to follow include NPR Music, All Songs Considered, and Pitchfork.
On launch, Twitter #Music was available only in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It may have reached some other countries in the meantime, but it’s definitely not available worldwide. If you’re not from one of these countries and have access to the service, let us know in the comments.
Facebook Graph Search
With Facebook rolling out Graph Search last July, searching for the music that your friends like got a little bit easier. If you have Graph Search, just click in the Facebook search bar. This will open with a drop down menu of options. Choose ‘music my friends like,’ and you can check out which artists’ Facebook Pages got your friends like.
If you haven’t checked out Facebook Graph Search and aren’t sure what to expect, be sure to check out our in-depth explanation of Graph Search.
Like Twitter, following artists on Facebook, or sites or services that recommend music is another way to discover new tunes. The three suggested Twitter accounts to follow are, of course, also on Facebook. If you prefer Facebook to Twitter, you can check out NPR Music, All Songs Considered, and Pitchfork Media on the former.
Serendip is a third-party service that plugs into your Twitter and Facebook accounts to create a playlist (powered by YouTube) of the music you and your friends are sharing. Your ‘Music Feed’ is made up of tracks shared by your Twitter or Facebook friends, as well as other Serendip users. Ideally, it would have been better to have a way to filter it down to just your Twitter or Facebook friends.
Serendip becomes a social network unto itself, and so while you can use it as a starting point to discover music that your friends are listening to, you can also use it to follow other Serendip users and discover even more music. When playing a song on Serendip, it shows you who else has played it on the service, which is a cool feature that makes it easier to discover other users with similar music tastes.
Ex.fm is another third-party service which plugs into your social networks to show you what your friends are listening to. While both Facebook and Twitter are supported, I had a hard time connecting my Twitter account to Ex.fm. When it comes to Facebook, after connecting your account, Ex.fm will show you which of your Facebook friends already use the service and you can follow them on the site.
Your friends’ Ex.fm profiles will show you which songs they’ve listened to, which songs they’ve added to their favourites, as well as who they follow and who follows them. Checking out other users’ followers and friends is another good way to discover good music. Like Serendip, Ex.fm can become a social network unto itself, where you can follow other listeners and keep up with the tracks they’re listening to.
For any given track, you can see how many times it’s been tweeted, who tweeted it, and can even play the song directly within HypeMe. This is a great option if your Twitter friends aren’t the music sharing kind, letting you can discover what other users are sharing on Twitter instead.
What Do You Use?
If you’re looking for an alternative way to follow your favourite artists, with the chance of seeing what they’re listening to as well, you can always keep tabs on them on their social media profiles. Not sure where to start? Check out some of the most popular musical artists on Facebook.
How do you use social media to discover new music? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: photosteve101 via Flickr