Far too often, I find myself listening to the same music I’ve been listening to for months. Of course, it’s great belting the entire “Live Through This,” album every time I get in the car, but sometimes a girl needs something different. I know that I’m not the only one who can occasionally get stuck in a musical rut. We’ve all heard of the classic “music discovery” sites like Pandora and Spotify. The problem is: I already know a lot of the “new” songs because they’re related to my initial station search. If I really want something completely new, I have to go find it for myself elsewhere. Here are the five music discovery sites that are the absolute best.
Bandcamp is an amazing site for discovering new music. Artists can easily put their music up for fans to stream and buy. Artists can even sell their merchandise on Bandcamp. There are an abundance of genres with music from both signed and unsigned artists to sift through. Bandcamp hosts a variety of bands that range from majorly produced to DIY. If you’re not a music-maker, listening is free, so it’s just a matter of picking out what you like. On the home page there’s even a best-selling section, a new arrival section, and an artist recommended section, so this is an easy place for new users to start. If you’re looking for a specific band, all you have to do is search for them. Bandcamp the best for finding new music while supporting the artists who create it.
Soundcloud is pretty similar to Bandcamp in that it lets you create, share, and listen. If you’re an artist, you’re able to upload tracks onto your profile and even see how many people listen. Soundcloud is just as great if you’re a listener. On Soundcloud, you can make playlists with all kinds of tracks on it. You can also follow artists to stay updated. Soundcloud even has an easy to use app where you can save tracks, browse artists, or just check out what’s trending now. Unfortunately, there can be some ads, but for a little bit of money, that can be avoided. Soundcloud is cool because it allows you to find new music, and hang on to what you like.
3. NPR Music
NPR Music is one of my favorite music discovery sites because it’s more than just listening, buying, and sharing. NPR makes it easy to find exactly what you should listen to. The music is separated by genre and there are music reviews, which are really helpful and time-saving. The best part about NPR Music is their Tiny Desk Concert series. They invite artists, which can be established artists but are usually up and coming, into an office to give an intimate performance, which they record a video of and put it on their site. It’s really awesome to watch the performance in addition to hearing the music. Very nice touch, NPR.
Pitchfork is a huge and trustworthy music discovery site. Another one of my favorites, Pitchfork also provides more than just a listening/sharing type experience. Pitchfork does reviews of albums complete with a number rating on a scale of 1-10, which can help cautious listeners decide what’s worth checking out. In addition to reviews, they have a best new artists section of the site where they put a spotlight on artists that are making great music. Although not as intimate as the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, Pitchfork has quality videos of live performances to watch. Pitchfork is definitely one of the best places to go for finding new music.
If the big industrial websites aren’t your thing, here’s an indie approach to music discovery. Portals is one of the best independent music discovery sites out there. Portals is more of a community; there are contributors who write about music and share what they’re listening to right now. When you first enter the site, there’s a monthly mix assembled by a fellow indie music fan. There’s also write ups, and photography all revolving around new music. Portals emphasizes the importance of social media and likes to maintain a musical community through it. Portals is involvement meets music discovery, and it’s great.