25 Best Ways to Discover New Music

Some people are just better at discovering new music than others. But they couldn’t do it without frequenting shows or scouring the Internet for new sounds. If you’re a heard it first kind of person or just want to stay on top of what’s next, then this list is for you. We’ve spent too many hours playing with the web’s best music discovery sites and have compiled our list of the best ways to discover new music online. The list isn’t comprehensive (we’ve intentionally left some off), but the cream of the crop is all you need to explore new sounds.

Blog Format

Songza SetsStaff favorite
Expert music curators create 12 song “sets” that  are based on a theme. For example, they have sets that highlight great songs from the 90′s, Vampire Weekend’s inspirations, or summer jams. Always interesting and always fun, you’ll quickly become addicted to following this blog.

Crazed Hits
Described as the industry’s leading A&R site, Crazed Hits highlights unsigned bands. In fact, that’s what they claim to do better than anyone else and they have a track record to prove it. Check out this site if you’re interested in discovering who might be next and getting on board before and up and coming band gets their big break.

Kings of A&R
Claimed to be the #1 music industry site in the world where fresh new faces get discovered. They’re not kidding- this blog is big time. They cover industry news and highlight interesting bands that are sure to keep your playlist fresh.

Fans love to hate Pitchfork, which offers highly intelligent album reviews and industry news while introducing people to some great new music. They’ve always got something to say and something to share, and if you want to be on the cutting edge of music discovering this Webby nominated site is something you need to follow.

An industry leading blog, Stereogum does a great job of breaking unsigned bands and watching them launch into the big time. This highly influential blog is a great way to track who’s next.

Streaming Format

22 TracksStaff favorite
This up and coming site will definitely introduce you to some new music. The playlists are selected by DJ’s in Amsterdam, who will introduce you to the latest music and some really great artists. Dive into their 22-song playlists covering a broad variety of genres and you’ll find great music here that you might not find elsewhere.

TheSixtyOneStaff favorite
Arguably the most elegant music discovery service, TheSixtyOne doesn’t mess around. Get straight to the music and you’ll be enjoying some fresh tunes in no time. Explore music by your mood, what’s hot, and more. Every time we listen, we end up with a longer list of great bands to check out.

Fan-created playlists (and sometimes some good sponsored ones too) introduce you to all sorts of music. The concept is simple and the website is fun. You’ll spend hours digging around and enjoying all sorts of interesting playlists.

Slacker Radio
More personal radio, this streaming music website delivers custom radio stations by genre. Now with great mobile support, Slacker Radio is quickly becoming a relevant player in the music discovery category.

Perfect for discovering some of the hottest DJ’s and tracks from around the world. Not your typical music discovery service, these guys allow you to listen in on clubs from around the world in real time. It doesn’t get anymore legit than that.

Users stream their personal music libraries and playlists so you can have access to a seemingly unlimited supply of new music. This site sometimes takes a little more effort than others, but you have a good chance of finding some gems.

Not long ago Pandora was left for dead, struggling against the recording industry and musician royalties. Thankfully they prevailed, and as a result we have one of the best streaming music sites that you’re probably already quite familiar with.

This staple of online music discovery is no secret. Spend a little time with their streaming radio stations and you’re bound to stumble upon something new and great. But you didn’t need us to tell you that.

At the forefront of streaming music, Lala is another place to listen to music online and maybe run into something you’ve never heard before.

We can’t leave off the king of Internet Radio. There are thousands of Internet radio stations that are sure to cover the niche you’re looking for and introduce you to some great new music.

Featuring a more social aspect to music discovering, iLike helps you track concerts and provide recommendations based on your social connections and listening preferences. Now a MySpace company, iLike continues to introduce people to new music.

Other Formats

Next Big SoundStaff favorite
Want a straight up analytical approach to discovering new music? Try Next Big Sound. They track the web to measure what bands are trending so you can watch your favorite bands skyrocket to stardom or explore who some of the next up and coming sounds might be.

We Are Hunted
This website scours the Internet to discover what music people are talking about the most and then presenting their trends in a really simple chart. Their claim to fame is continually highlighting the 99 most popular emerging songs in the world.

The Hype MachineStaff favorite
Keeps track of what all the awesome music bloggers are writing about and digests the findings for you. Their goal is to increase your odds of stumbling upon something awesome without the headache of following dozens of blogs.

The Filter
A data crunching, highly intelligent application that delivers personalized recommendations to you based on your tastes. The more it learns, the better the recommendations.

Stumble Audio
You’ve heard of StumbleUpon. But what about StumbleAudio?  The concept is the same; give songs thumbs up and thumbs down to target your taste and receive more relevant recommendations. With over 2 million free tracks, you’re bound to waste some time discovering new music with this site.

A niche community of fans dedicated to discovery, this recommendation engine helps you explore new music. The more you use it, the better the recommendations get.

This site kind of does everything. And it connects to everything. Another recommendation engine, blippr claims to cut to the chase and provides recommendations based on your tastes (and your friends’ too). It even integrates with your XBOX360.

File this one under quirky. The interface isn’t that great, and there are some intrusive ads, but we had to feature Musicovery for their creative attempt to help you discover new music. Select genres, decades, and moods to fine tune recommendations.

The Mixtape Club
Ten people, ten tracks, ten album covers. This quirky website seeks to bring back the glory days of homemade mixtapes and introduces you to some new sounds along the way.

What Else?

Are there any sites we’ve missed that you think are worth mentioning? We’d love to hear about how you’re using the Internet to become a new music guru and impress your friends with the latest and greatest!

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