Forget your iPod, try these options
If you’re in a musical rut, here are six ways to branch out, bump your obscure-music-status and find bands similar to what you already like.
Sick of listening to your roommate blast Nicole Scherzinger’s single, “Wet”? Sick of listening to your own iPod shuffle to the “Hannah Monatana” songs you swear you got for the kids you babysit?
Thankfully, the internet and live music venues have come to save us by offering music on demand at any time of day. Local bands and well-known rock stars alike can easily get their musical masterpieces out to the masses, providing an unending database of all genres of music. Here are some places you can find the newest jams (usually for free!), and seriously, sounds like you and your roommate could use them:
Already a hit in the U.K., Spotify is finally available in the states. The on-demand music client is free to download and automatically imports existing music from a computer. Spotify is a music community, and it allows registered users to share their playlists with friends (or with anyone). Users can also search any song to play through the program, and it displays shared playlists and recommended artists based on what it identifies as the user’s taste.
One of the top online radio websites today, Pandora plays music “stations” similar to any artist or song that a user enters. Pandora is not only free on the computer, but also has free iPhone and Android apps, making music discovery available on the go or at home.
Last.fm Like Pandora, this free online radio website offers many options to find new music to your liking by automatically generating playlists based off what you already like. Last.fm does much more than that, though. It displays recommended artists for every song that it plays, gives a link to buy it and records it in listening charts that can be synced with iTunes. Last.fm also hosts a community where any artist, including unsigned local acts, can upload music, and listeners can comment on songs or band profiles.
This simple music map is a self-updating system that builds a list of similar artists based upon what each person enters into the site. Upon entering, Gnoosic asks for three artists already known and liked and then lists a similar artist. The music pioneer then has the option to click whether he or she knows and likes the Gnoosic suggestion or not, and the system will continue to display new artists following each option.
TuneGlue is an interactive music map that displays music suggestions. After entering one artist that the user likes, it displays five or six options that branch off of it. Each bubble is clickable, offering links to view the artist’s website or places to buy their music. Each additional bubble also has the option to branch other bands off of it as well, making a web of new music suggestions.
Local Music Venues
Finally, to actually branch out (in real life), check out your local music venues to find brand new, lesser-known music. This is a riskier, but also much more rewarding way to find new names. Live bands are always playing shows all over the country in bars, houses and other outlets, usually with a small cover charge. They’re cheap, fun and a great way to find new tunes in a social environment.