Top seven programs for finding new music

Finding new songs is thrilling.

Instead of being force-fed formulaic hits from a radio, discovering new music is just that—a discovery. Stumbling upon a great new song leaves you itching to blast it on repeat and share it with anyone who will listen.

In case you’re still struggling for ways to build your iTunes library, here are our favorite websites for discovering new music.

 

1. Pandora

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

In an office building in San Francisco, a Pandora employee sits behind his desk, hands clicking away on his keyboard. On the screen, he is answering questions about the song playing through his headphones. Questions like “How danceable is this?” and “Is it reggae? If so, what sub-genre? What are its influences?”

He will answer 400 of these questions for one song.

Pandora is the giant of the Internet radio business, with over 55 million active users. Pandora allows you to enter an artist, then creates a playlist of similar music based on the attributes that have been assigned to that band.

PandoraJam, a downloadable program for Macs, has revolutionized Pandora. PandoraJam is a safe and secure desktop Pandora player that allows users to record the songs that stream, sending them directly to your iTunes. That’s right – with PandoraJam, you no longer need to scramble to download the catchy song you hear on Pandora. Like magic, it will appear in your iTunes library when the song ends, all for free.

Pros:

  • Music is chosen from the Music Genome Project, which chooses similar music based on 400 human-entered characteristics
  • Great way to discover new music without actually doing any work
  • Free mobile app

Cons:

  • Can only skip 12 songs per day
  • Cannot choose specific artists

2. Spotify 

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

The main purpose of Spotify is not to discover new music, but rather to stream whatever you are in the mood to listen to on demand. If you’re not a fan of Pandora choosing songs for you and having no input aside from thumbs up or down, Spotify has you covered. Search for just about any band or song and Spotify will likely have it available for streaming.

Where Pandora’s radio is based on hand-chosen music attributes, Spotify chooses similar music based on user listening habits and song popularity.

Pros:

  • Play any song you want, whenever you want
  • No skip limit or listening limit
  • Can create playlists to share on Facebook

Cons:

  • Radio feature is not as comprehensive as Pandora
  • Mobile app requires premium subscription

3. Grooveshark 

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

Grooveshark is a Spotify alternative that is available entirely online. The music selection is narrower, but unless you really need a fix of Swedish post-punk drone music, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.

4.  To The Best Of 

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

Just heard a song you really like? Type in the artist on this website and it will stream their top 10 tracks.

5. Bandcamp 

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

Bandcamp is a platform for smaller, independent artists to market and sell their music. Anything you find on here — and they have everything — is going to be cutting-edge, so if you want the hipster satisfaction of hearing something “before it was cool,” check out the Discover page of Bandcamp.

6.  Hype Machine 

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

Hype Machine has the latest popular remixes as they drop. If you’re into techno and remixes, Hype Machine is your new best friend.

7.  DatPiff 

Screenshot by Gillian Freedman

DatPiff is the hip-hop twin to Hype Machine. Featuring thousands of downloadable mixtapes, DatPiff is a must-have for hip-hop fans.

 

 

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