Have you ever had the classic experience with a close friend who tells you about a great song and is very confident that you will love it just as much as he or she does? Upon listening to it, you begin to question the trust you have in them, and no longer have faith in their musical opinions. I've had this experience one too many times and I say let modern technology succeed where friends have failed!
Finding Music Online
There are several online resources available which are much more intuitive than a friend, and can "learn" your music preferences and make suggestions for new music suited to your tastes. These suggestions are tailored to your musical preference history and are pulled from some of the world's largest online collections of tagged music. Radio stations almost always have to play corporate-backed bands with label restriction which makes them a bad avenue to find more obscure music.
Online sources are you best bet for finding the best music available. Pulling from a huge compilation of online music, you have access to tons of new music in the genres you want and based on your listening history rather than getting a random suggestion from some weird friend who has an obsession with a local Rush tribute band who couldn't hit the right notes even if they were sober.
The music-bots are smarter than your friends, and have a slightly different learning capacity. Looking for indie music? Up and coming local and underground musicians get suggested and listed every day and with good ratings from other users, you can use these tools to be introduced to bands and musicians through a new avenue.
What Are My Options?
Pandora is a free online radio project that generates music suggestions based on a profile you create, where you list your favorite artists and genres. Pandora uses a comprehensive database known as the Music Genome Project, to find and match user music preferences with related music. Just go to www.pandora.com, create a profile, and start listening.
Last.fm also has a unique way of gathering preferences to suggest new music to a listener. Users download a plug-in application that will make suggestions based on your listening history. It keeps track of the music you listen to (your current favorite artists) in a process called "scrobbling" and creates your individual music profile based off of that information.
The profile is then compared with the music listening history of millions of other Last.fm users to find listeners with similar tastes, and suggestions for new artists and bands are given based off of that comparison. Last.fm already has over 15 million+ active users to base suggestions from. Visit www.last.fm and let them expose you to the best new music.
Yahoo!'s LAUNCHcast has a similar structure to Last.fm, but lacks a comprehensive music profile list because it has a smaller network of users. LAUNCHcast also seems to offer a more limited library, with more mainstream music than Last.fm does. This seems quite similar to the way that corporate-owned radio stations provide music.
Another resource features unsigned or independent artists that would not be able to reach their potential fan base unless they ended up getting a major record deal and/or corporate sponsorship. Try www.purevolume.com to get into the online indie scene and of course, MySpace always works too.
Most of these sites also make it very easy to purchase your recently discovered music once you decide you like it, so you can add it to your ever-growing collection of music and turn it up!
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