Easy Free Ways to Find New Music
This is the digital age and in the digital age, we thrive on music. We are constantly looking for new possibilities, but sometimes the radio doesn't cut it and your mom's stash of The Eagles albums won't satisfy your needs.
Below are free ways to find new music. Now, these aren't necessarily ways to download new music or get free CDs, but you will learn about new artists, songs, and albums from these places and others.
Please add your own experiences at the end!
Pandora is the public interface of the music genome project. This means that Pandora connects you to music similar to what you like based on their musical DNA.
To operate, create a station based on a particular song or artist. Pandora will match you with similar music. Thumbs up or down each song to diversify the selection until you create the perfect radio station.
CON: Only 36 hours of free radio play a month and there are ads. I rarely go over 36 hours though and when you do, you can listen to an unlimited amount for the rest of the month for only $1.
My favorite YouTube find
Turn on the radio.
Today, there are more and more radio stations featuring newer and harder to find music than ever before. Switch on the stations, flip through, and stop when something sounds good. It might take a few tries to find anything you like, but it can be a great resource.
For more control over your musical destiny, try online radio. Many smaller stations stream their shows online, which can be a great avenue. I learned about Josh Oliver, one of my favorite singers, through WDVX (a small bluegrass station in East Tennessee).
How often do you listen to music?
Next time you're at a restaurant and hear music you like, ask your server who it is! They usually know who or what is playing and even may be the one who pushed play.
They might even give you a few suggestions.
Although I've never used Spotify, it is a hot new way of connecting over music with your Facebook friends. See their favorites, share yours, and follow the musical genie all the way to the nearest music download program.
Hang out with musicians or students.
College is a time for trying new things and that means throwing out all of your old music and starting fresh. Students usually have a lot of musical recommendations to make and are happy to burn a copy or pass on a disc.
Musicians are the ideal people to ask for musical suggestions. Just ask who inspired them and go off of that! For even more great names, check out their YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, or other sites.
Although many people think libraries are way behind the times, they do tend to have decent DVD, CD, and even ebook selections. I have discovered quite a few great musicians by taking home stacks of library CDs. They might not be new releases, but you can learn quite a bit about music from a few years or decades back.
Tip: Music samples
When I really want to check out a new band or album, I tend to head to iTunes or Amazon. They offer between 20-30 seconds of each song for free and it lets me know whether it is worth the buy or not.
Free Music Downloads
Amazon, iTunes, and many other websites offer free downloads of new releases. Usually, there is at least a free song of the week, if not whole collections of free downloads for the taking.
As many of these giveaways are for bands trying to get noticed, they can end up being quite good. You may even get to know about some music before your friends!
Stand outside concerts.
Well, even if you don't want to stand outside of a crowded venue to hear a band, those buildings are usually plastered with ads and flyers for upcoming shows.
Jot down or Google a few of those names if you like what you hear enough, you might even get to see your new favorite band perform live!
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Many websites offer links to products they think you will like based on your viewing and purchase history. Amazon pops to mind first for this tendency, but most sites try to do something similar as well.
Follow these links, listen to a few samples, and then download/buy/whatever. This has helped me find quite a bit of great music and I always click on the links when Amazon tells me I'll like something.
If you would enjoy writing about the music you listen to, you should consider reviewing music. Pay can range from free singles to actual cash and the experience can lead to a career writing or reviewing music professionally.
Suggested reading: How to Get Paid to Listen to Music
Read magazines and music sites.
Many magazines and websites post music reviews. These places can offer some really great recommendations from people who know their stuff. Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Metacritic, and even smaller scale productions are great sources of new music.
Personally, my favorite places for new music, books, and movies are The Week and Bitch magazines.
Get on Reddit.
Most of all: Go to YouTube!
From live concert footage, special releases, and uploaded albums, YouTube has pretty much everyone's music and today, new musicians know to post their own stuff right away.
This is my most highly recommended resource for all people looking for new music and I spend most of my time juggling my favorites on Pandora and YouTube. Get going!