There are so many ways to find new music to listen to. I’ll try to go over some of the best ones I can think of off the top of my head. Let me start by saying the internet is the best way to find new music, because you can listen to samples of new music and immediately click on another link if you hate what you hear. Finding new music online (if you have a high speed) connection is simply the easiest and best way to research, because you can find all kind of musical options in an hour or two of surfing the internet.
Let me give you four options in four words: iTunes, Pandora, Amazon and Youtube. In no particular order, I’ll discuss how you can find new music to listen to by visiting each site.
Finding New Music At iTunes
One of my favorite ways to find new music I enjoy is listening to iTunes. When you get on the front page of iTunes, click on their “Radio” link. This takes you to a list of radio stations you can select with one push of the button. Music genres offered include alternative, ambient, blues, classic rock, classical, college radio, country, dance, electronic, folk, golden oldies, rap & hip hop, holidays, hits of yesteryear, international, Jazz, Latino, pop, public, reggae, religious and R&B and soul. Each of these links offers dozens and dozens of radio stations in that broad genre. In other words, you can listen to selections from just about any music genre in the world, from the house mixes of London, Paris and New York to the native songs of Iran, China or Africa.
When you’re listening to iTunes, keep a “notepad” document open and write down any artist or song you enjoyed listening to. You might also write down the stations you enjoy and go back to see if they play other songs you enjoyed. If you listen to several songs that you just don’t enjoy, find another station and give it a try. In this way, you’ll be able to keep a fresh supply of music coming your way all day long, and quickly compile a list of new music to listen to. Keep a text file with this list on your computer and add to it daily, or whenever you want new music to listen to.
i-Tunes was created by Apple to help people find new music they can download to their iPod or iPhone, but remember that listening to these radio stations from around the globe is totally free. Unless you decide to download new songs to your computer, you don’t have to pay one cent or give personal information. This makes iTunes a perfect search engine for new songs and artists.
Searching For New Music At Pandora
If iTunes sounds like too much trouble, Pandora Music does the job of searching for new music for you. Pandora.com is a website where you can put in any song title or artist name and match it with similar songs or artists. For instance, if you put in the name “Kanye West”, Pandora will bring up a Kanye West song for you to hear. After that song is finished playing, Pandora will use computer software to analyze other artists and songs and play those which are deemed similar. This continues indefinitely, until you click off Pandora site.
When you hear songs you don’t like or don’t agree sound similar to Kanye West songs, you can skip over them. (I think you get 3 skips per hour.) You won’t always agree that the songs you’re listening to are the same, but Pandora is a great way to find musical suggestions for obscure or not-so obscure artists similar to the tunes you like. And if you are curious about other bands or artists, simply start a new playlist (known as a “station”) and see where that takes you. Once again, Pandora is free, so you aren’t paying to have this website help you find new music to listen to.
How do I find new music to listen to at Amazon.com?
Amazon lets potential customers browse through their CDs and singles, listening to 30 second samples of every song on an album. You’ll occasionally find albums that don’t allow this option, but most of the time, you’ll be able to browse and listen. This gives you a pretty good idea what you’re getting into when buying new music. Once again, this is a free service, so you are not obligated to buy anything, just because you listen to Amazon music samples.
Also, when you click on an album or music single on Amazon, the site automatically creates “frequently bought with” and “customers who bought this item also bought” lists. These lists are suggestions of music bought by other customers who liked the album you’re listening to. Sometimes, these will be albums by the same band, but most will be from other artists in the same (or similar) genre.
One thing to watch out for is that songs often sound different in your car than through your computer. This is a double-edged sword, because sometimes you buy a song that doesn’t sound as good on your car stereo, and sometimes the songs sound much better. Also, remember that you’re listening to a sample of 30 seconds from a song and the selection is sometimes arbitrary, so you may or may not be listening to the best or most representative 30 seconds of the tune.
You also can read reviews or music threads on Amazon. Reviews give you an idea what other customers think of the music. In my experience, the reviews can be (unintentionally) deceptive, because it seems that huge fans are more likely to post comments and reviews than critics. Amazon allows you to click on review by star rating (1 through 5 stars), so you can click on 1-star reviews to get the other side of the picture, if you want to. When considering buying a CD, I’ll often look at samples from a wide range of reviews and see which reviewers are most likely to see eye-to-eye with me musically.
As mentioned before, you can also read threads started by music-lovers on Amazon. These discuss all aspects of popular music, and you can find threads about “new music suggestions”. Read through these to get ideas for new music you might give a try.
How do I find new music to listen to on Youtube?
This is one you’ve probably done before anyway, but I wanted to mention Youtube. If you go to Youtube and put in the name of a band or song title, you’ll be taken to that song’s music video. You can listen to songs on Youtube and surf through other suggestions on the right side of the page. In this way, you’ll be able to listen and see selections from other artists who are similar to the artist or song you enjoyed. This is a little more user-intensive, since you’re likely to sit watching a music video or frequently clicking on links, but Youtube is likely to have music selections or music videos from your favorite (or new) artists, often imaginatively mixed with personal photos or some video from the pop culture.
Use a combination of these four techniques and you’ll have new music to listen to all the time. Remember to keep something handy so you can write down the bands and songs you really like. There’s nothing more frustrating than listening to a new song you love and not being able to remember later what it was called or who performed it.