Feel like you’ve been listening to the same 10 songs forever? Maybe it’s time to update your music collection. Navigating advertisements and biased reviews can make it difficult to find new music you’ll actually enjoy. Before you start shelling out for random downloads that “look” good or seeing what iTunes wants to sell you this week, give these tips a shot. Put your favorite bands and the internet to work for you – they can help you find new music to round out your collection.
Make a list of some favorites. Take your top ten favorite bands, singers or songs and write them down. What musical genres do they fit into? If you already know, you’re ahead of the game. If not, look up the band on Google or Wikipedia – more often than not, some of the results will try to categorize them. Rock bands might be referred to as progressive, alternative, classic or acoustic, for example. Keep these kinds of terms in mind, they’ll help you on your search. It’s fully possible that each of your top ten fits into a different genre, but don’t let that discourage you. That just means you’ll have more potential to find new favorites.
With your list handy, check out last.fm. This site allows you to create a profile talking about the kind of music you enjoy, and lets you download a widget onto your computer that will keep track of what you listen to from your mp3 collection. The data is made visible to help you interact with other users who like similar types of music, and can also give you statistics of what bands or songs you replay most frequently. It’s free to sign up, but even if you’re not a member you can use the site’s vast musical knowledge. By looking up any artist from your list, last.fm will provide recommendations of similar artists – often with free song samples. Feel free to also look up users who are fans of the same bands; if you see they have similar tastes from their list of songs played, you may be able to pick out unfamiliar names you’ll like.
Another great resource on the web for finding new music is Pandora. This site analyzes music, recognizing themes in harmony, rhythm and vocals to predict what music you’ll like. Pandora is also free. After signing up, you can start a custom radio station, using your list to tell Pandora what you like. Your station will begin to play music after you start entering preferences from the listings you input as well as things that Pandora thinks is similar. If Pandora ever gets it wrong and a song you don’t like pops up, you can give it a “thumbs down” and tell your station not to play it ever again. Telling the site what you don’t like music-wise is just as helpful to the algorithm as saying what you do. I’ve been using the site for about 4 years or so now and it’s helped me find some interesting music I would have never heard of otherwise.
Is a lot of your music independent? Not necessarily “indie”, but is it put out by the musician itself or a small recording label? If so, looking for the website of the record label may help you find similar acts. Most smaller labels stick to a strict genre – such as Metropolis Records, who specialize primarily industrial and various types of dark electronic music. These small labels are often operated by people who love a certain style of music as much as you do, so chances are they’ll produce work from artists you’ll enjoy.
These are only a few ways to find new music through the internet. Music forums, recommendations from friends, and surfing YouTube can also yield good results. Hope these tips helped, happy listening!