In his autobiography, Charles Darwin (who would have rocked OneNote like a boss) said “If I had my life to live over again, I would… listen to some music at least once every week”.
If he had done this in the 19th Century, Darwin’s paltry music collection would have been a been an overplayed playlist in no time. In the 21st Century, however, there’s absolutely no excuse for an overplayed playlist.
The depth and breadth of music to be discovered is mind-boggling. Yet all too often, logging into Spotify or Pandora sets us on a merry-go-round of music-on-repeat.
Most of the time this is just peachy. But for those times when we want to be engulfed into a vortex of new artists, fresh albums, and beautiful songs, there are some superb options. Options that introduce us to new music based on the genres we like, and the music that gives us goosebumps.
8Tracks (Web, iOS, Android) is a collection of millions of playlists curated by a huge army of DJs and music lovers, just like yourself.
If you want an 8-track-long playlist (naturally) for a specific situation, 8Tracks has you covered. Whether it’s to accompany your yoga practice, a summer BBQ, working out, or a romantic night in, you’ll easily find a suitable soundtrack.
Last.fm now focuses solely on music discovery. We have previously explained how Last.fm does this. Essentially, the site gathers the metadata of the songs you listen to, along with those of millions of other users, turning it into a recommendation powerhouse.
One option is to just search the site for music you love, and see which other artists are recommended. But to get the most from Last.fm, you need to download and connect your account to whichever music players you use, whether that’s on desktop or mobile. Based on what you listen to, and the music you love, you’ll be offered quality recommendations to expand your music repertoire.
The goal of Wavo (Web, iOS) is to help break lesser-known artists into the music industry. You can save any song you find and love on the site to your playlists, or to whichever music player you’re currently using (I recommend browsing the user-generated charts for the genres you enjoy).
It’s always worth checking out the account that first shared that song. If you like their other recommendations, you should follow that account, to see what other music they can introduce to you. To help other users, don’t forget to share songs you discover on YouTube and SoundCloud (which we’ll show you how to use) to your account!
Noted (Web, iOS) is a new “social music discovery platform” that’s pretty quiet at the moment, but has plenty of potential to grow.
Similar to Wavo, users share music they find on YouTube or SoundCloud. The more music you post, share, and like, the more Noted learns about your music tastes, and the better recommendations it offers. There are also over 100 music blogs posting their top tunes to Noted so you can receive more “expert” recommendations on the app.
When you visit the self-learning database that is Gnoosic, you’ll be asked a few simple questions about the bands you love. Based on your answers, and answers from other users, you’ll receive a number of suggestions of bands to listen to.
Once you’ve had a quick listen to each suggestion on YouTube, Spotify, etc, let Gnoosic know what you thought. The more information you give the site, the more personalized its recommendations will become. Not just for you, but for everyone.
BandCamp (Web, iOS, Android) is the perfect place for artists to host and sell their music. For listeners it’s a great way to discover new artists.
If you scroll to the Discover section of the home page, you can see some of the top-selling, and most-recommended artists. But the real value of BandCamp comes from browsing by genre, sub-genre, and tags. Spend half an hour doing this, and you’ll find some real gems.
Remember though, at its heart, BandCamp is a music store. If you want to keep listening to tracks you find, you can either purchase them on the site, elsewhere, or find them on another streaming service.
A Deluge of Blogs
On top of all the apps and interactive sites out there, there are still tons of quality music blogs and journalists bringing attention to new artists every day.
Spend time trawling some of these, and find those that cover genres you’re interested in. To help get you started, check out the following:
Pandora (US only) offers radio stations around a band you love (like Spotify). You can also see which music other people with a similar taste to yourself listen to.
A World of New Music
Discovering new music is a topic we’ve covered before, but with this being such a fast moving industry, we thought an updated list would be handy.
Relying solely on your main music player to recommend music to you can often send you spinning around in circles. Having another couple of music discovery services to turn to means opening yourself up to a whole new world of music.
When Spotify fails me, I turn to Last.fm and Wavo. Within 15 minutes, I have usually found some incredible, new artists to freshen up my music library.
What about you? Where do you go to find new music? Please share your recommendations with us in the comments below.