Top 5 Music Discovery Sites

Long gone are the days of browsing through record stores to find new music (record stores are still awesome hangouts though), making physical mixtapes for your friends (except for the nostalgic among us), and putting CDs on your Christmas list (iTunes gift cards anyone?). Digital technologies and the seemingly endless supply of online music destinations have forever changed the way we discover the tunes we like.

Record Store

Born out of my own frustration with the retardedly over-crowded “music discovery” space, this post aims to sift through the plethora of sites, many of which are variations of the same concept, and pinpoint the best ones.

Do you prefer to listen to short clips of top downloads on iTunes because it’s easy? (Ya, iTunes is more of a place to buy a song/album that you know you want, but you can definitely discover new stuff by poking around, checking the free download of the week etc). Are you a fan of one of the numerous music social networking sites that let you discover people with similar musical taste, create/share playlists, or track down obscure indie bands? Or do you love Pandora’s almost-no-work-involved recommendation system?

We’re all different when it comes to our preferred methods of music discovery, but the end goal is the same, right? We want to consistently discover new music that resonates with us personally – bands we can go see live, music to download, artists we can relate to. There are so many places to do this now it makes my head spin, so I needed to simplify.

With that, here are my top 5:

Pandora
I’ve been a fan of Pandora for a long time. The internet radio station, with its robust recommendation system based on the work of 50 analysts who break songs down into musical attributes, is surprisingly good at finding music that suits your tastes. And with the thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system, the more you use it the smarter it gets. Their Facebook app is certainly convenient too.

iLike
If you can put up with 30 second clips, iLike is great for discovery. The fact that it can be plugged into Facebook, iTunes, MySpace, Bebo and others makes it a versatile social platform and is probably why they have so many registered users making profiles, sharing playlists and the like. And you can get lots of free music from new artists.

Fuzz
“Music Uprising…Connecting people who create and love music”. Other than having pretty good music discovery tools, I like Fuzz because I like the Fuzz Manifesto. This is the kind of mentality that I think everyone in the music industry needs to adopt, and soon, in order to survive and thrive in the exciting new frontier that is developing. Open, participatory, fair etc…

Grooveshark
In addition to letting you listen to any song in its entirety, Grooveshark rewards you for sharing music with people by giving you credits for free music. It also serves as an online library so you can store your music and access it from anywhere. There is a tagging/ranking system to help you find what you want as well as playlist creation/sharing.

Last.fm
Easily one of the most dominant players in the social music discovery space, Last.fm has a powerful recommendation engine based on data from the user community (unlike Pandora’s engine which matches similar musical attributes). Worth noting here is that Last.fm is now paying royalties to unsigned artists – and thus providing an alternative for artists who are not part of SoundExchange.

If this list is too short for you, check Mashable’s Music News Toolbox: 50+ Links for Discovering New Music to read about sites like iJigg, MOG, Goombah, Music Nation, and many more. Or leave us a comment with your favorite ones.

And of course, soon you will be able to discover kick-ass new music at MixMatchMusic. Stay tuned.

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19 Responses to “Top 5 Music Discovery Sites”


  1. 1 john July 10, 2008 at 3:38 am

    I had made a account and uploaded the music onto my music player, and if you don’t want to upload your own music,you can search on other users playlists and take any songs you want! It works for piczo,myspace,facebook,bebo etc at http://www.hypster.com

    Myspace Playlist

  2. 2 count July 10, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Very interesting!

    Count Lombardo

  3. 3 Terry McCall July 10, 2008 at 11:45 am

    HYPE’em! – The Hype Machine

    Used to be my favoritist bestest Discovery site, but has slipped a little since redesign. I’m back to Peel and discovering music directly through people like y’all and me. Go mp3bloggers!

    PS: I see Tech’s new album is bout to drop. Hot shit. Imma swing by later and browse around

  4. 4 Gavroche July 10, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    What about SeeqPod? Anybody use that?

  5. 5 eric "evolvor" hebert July 12, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    What about artists websites? We have all these networks but I find that if I stumble upon an artist’s site and that artist has a bunch of high quality streaming files, then I’m in.

  6. 6 iparasite July 15, 2008 at 11:57 am

    you forgot muxtape.com, it’s excellent

  7. 7 Dan Heching July 25, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I found another one to throw into the pot. It’s a rudimentary site – soundpedia.com

  8. 8 Ryan August 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    How about mog.com, ijigg.com, and beatbuggy.com

  9. 9 abider August 31, 2008 at 11:31 am

    All these are fine I guess, but I still think they make you work too hard given the technology out there. I just ran accross a new one that I think, while far more simplistic is a much needed music discovery service. Has anyone else heard of spooonful.com (with 3 o’s)? Looks like they just launched but promise to deliver one email with one band once a week. For us busy folk, a much needed proposition. If they follow through they are onto something big.

  10. 10 AK September 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    it seems that nothing beats pandora in my opinion, but it is accessible only in the States and no where else……

  11. 11 Kylafornia February 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    What about LP33.tv? They are new on the scene and seem to combine MTV and MySpace music together. Needs some serious design help though, but they have some cool acts!

  12. 12 DOV February 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Another great service to discover music is http://artiscloud.camaris.be You enter a band and get related band with pictures and videos. Nice and easy…

  13. 13 Jim Green May 1, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Good article, hows about http://www.jamwee.com ?? it looks like a pretty slick website for music discovery.


  1. 1 Is Last.fm the profit mechanism DIY musicians are looking for? « .Evolving Music. Trackback on July 13, 2008 at 6:17 pm
  2. 2 Kick Ass Music Apps for the iPhone « .Evolving Music. Trackback on July 23, 2008 at 3:00 pm
  3. 3 Wait, You’re Telling Me the Long Tail Is Flat? « .Evolving Music. Trackback on August 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm
  4. 4 Spooonful: Hand Delivered and Easy to Swallow Music Discovery « .Evolving Music. Trackback on September 18, 2008 at 7:45 pm
  5. 5 Vetiver « No Depression Archives Trackback on July 7, 2009 at 9:17 am

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