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Discovering New Music? 572

Posted by Cliff
from the seeking-a-new-sound dept.
captainclever asks: "As an avid music fan, I'm keen on discovering new artists that I will like. I have discovered a few by listening to internet radio, and writing down the names of songs that take my fancy. I had a play with The Digital Music Network, but it was very intrusive, full of adverts and only worked in Windows. I found it quite a hard topic to google for as there is so much stuff about music. Has anyone come accoss a decent system that can suggest some good artists to me based on my existing listening habbits?" Word of mouth, of course, is the tried and true method of promoting a new group. Are there weblogs that allow users to discuss music much like Slashdot discusses "news"?
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Discovering New Music?

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  • News? (Score:5, Funny)

    by keesh (202812) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:36PM (#5010624) Homepage
    Are there weblogs that allow users to discuss music much like Slashdot discusses "news"?
    You mean a weblog with lots of duplicate entries about last year's music?
    • Re:News? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DaytonCIM (100144)
      Hmmmm... yup yup. Yahoo groups has lots and lots of music "discussion" groups. Problem is most only want to discuss POP music divas and what Britney or Shakira wore to [insert one of thousands of POP awards shows].

    • Re:News? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I normally just go to the Ultimate Band List ( www.ubl.com ). They have a feature which lists bands that are similar. So look up a band you like, and then look for interesting bands that sound like them. It gives artist bios and discographies too. Then just go to your favorite P2P client and download the stuff you looked up...
    • www.allmusic.com (Score:5, Informative)

      by evilty (242725) on Friday January 03, 2003 @09:05PM (#5011329)
      has tons of barely heard of artists, links similar artists and groups together. good stuff.
  • Amazon (Score:4, Informative)

    by mocker (197762) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:36PM (#5010629)
    Go to amazon and see what other people have bought based on a music selection. I've used this before and found some great new music.
  • launch.yahoo.com

    Used to be launch.com, but they got taken over by Yahoo. You need to go through a hoop or two to set it up well, but then you can get similar or 'recommended' songs.

    It's not bad, there are a few ads, and the player is proprietary (and I can't vouch for Mac support), but it's been pretty good to me.

    • Re:Tried this? (Score:3, Informative)

      by imcclure (630440)
      Try this site: www.gnoosic.com. Based on what you like, it will give you similiar artists.
      • I did try it and no matter what band I entered "Omara Portunundo" was recommended. Gee, that band must really have universal appeal. It would be really ironic if the slashdot effect caused the sudden popularity of this band.
      • Very good I found a new band that I might like. They are called Switchblade Symphony. Now if there was only a way I could download a couple of tracks to listen I'd most likely go out and buy a couple of CDs. Oh well too bad Napster is dead.

        Too much trash out there for me to risk my money without being able to get a handful of tracks. :(
  • by sulli (195030) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:36PM (#5010635) Journal
    on SomaFM [somafm.com]. Donate as it's 100% non-profit.
  • by dagg (153577) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:37PM (#5010644) Journal
    I often run across blogs that discuss music, but most of them are specialized (lots of metal). And even from what I find, I've found it increasingly difficult to read about what others think about a particular song. I mean, writing about music is like dancing to a book.
  • by dlur (518696)

    It may not be the answer you were looking for, but Tool [toolband.com] covers just about everything I look for in music.

    Of course if you were looking for other stuff that doesn't come from a record company then this place [mp3.com] has a pretty decent search feature of downloadable mp3s.

    • mp3.com is my favorite place to locate new music, but if you don't like Techno it seems rather weak...

      Artists like Hermit Bastard [hermitbastard.com] and EDGEY [mp3.com] have plenty of material that I've used in my college radio show.

      Their Gabber [mp3.com] genre (and the genre system in general) has a lot of new sounds to explore.

      For non-electronic music I've yet to find anything that compares with the exposure to local/new music you get from working in a college radio station.
      • by TeknoDragon (17295) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:00PM (#5010869) Journal
        I just saw this On edgey's page:

        i'll be removing my tracks from online... albeit no cost to those that download, it was a source of income for myself, and such the case, i offered my music free of charge for download to anyone that wanted. The lack of commercial (or independent) releases i've had over the years, was justified by the fact that i still maintained an income off my music, from MP3.com... a goal i think every musician wishes to achieve (unless your one of those that likes to point fingers and call someone a sell-out for wanting to be heard and monetarily successful with their craft).

        so needless to say... all my tracks will be removed from online, i can't afford the $20.00 a month to continue their premium artist service, i.e., i can't pay for people to listen to my music...

        so, get your downloads before they're gone...

        All artists on MP3.com will have to reduce their pages to a maximum of 3 tracks as of January 15th, or PAY for their once free-offered service.

        quoted from mp3.com:
        "P4P Promotion Will be Discontinued
        It's our goal to offer Premium Artists the best service for their money and tools that benefit all members. But this was getting more difficult given the enormous accounting, engineering, research and fulfillment costs that went into both the P4P promotion and regrettably, the monitoring of individuals gaming the system. We have thus decided to discontinue the P4P promotion on January 15.

        Artist Cash Program Will be Discontinued

        Accounting and engineering resource issues associated with the P4P promotion apply also to the Artist Cash program. This has made it necessary for us to discontinue one of our more convenient Artist programs. If you are currently paying for any subscriptions with Artist Cash, please go to your My Account to easily create an alternate payment method. "
        • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:37PM (#5011135) Journal
          All artists on MP3.com will have to reduce their pages to a maximum of 3 tracks as of January 15th, or PAY for their once free-offered service.

          What's really sad is that this simply means the further demise of mp3.com. The site would be just awesome if they'd introduce some form of moderation.

          As it is, you have some real gems mixed in with casio-keyboards-and-a-tapedeck style recordings... and it's just awful.

          -Ben
        • by Ian Peon (232360) <ian@NosPAm.epperson.com> on Friday January 03, 2003 @10:21PM (#5011809)
          I wonder if he's heard of AmpCast [ampcast.com]. A moderation system (as someone else asked for), and I understand that the artist gets $0.05 per download.

          A musician friend of mine left MP3.com for them about a year ago because of MP3.com's shitty service...
  • by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:38PM (#5010652) Homepage Journal
    If you want to discover new music, why do you want something to give you suggestions based on stuff you already know?

    Ask your friends what they like... download random songs, etc. One of my favorite ways is to browse other users' files on file sharing programs. Who knows, you might find something completely new and unexpected.

    That's how I discovered Apocalyptica [apocalyptica.com] - rock'n'roll on cellos - and Our Lady Peace.
    • Ask your friends what they like...

      Most of the time you'll just hear about what bands THEY like. A lot of them will be truly awful garage bands your friends like just because they know someone in the band.

      "Here, listen to this!"

      "Good grief, that's awful! Just a lot of hackneyed grunge rock with substandard production values, an overly loud drummer, and a guitarist who plays the same 3 chords over and over again."

      "Yeah, doesn't that sound sweet? -I- know the drummer, he's a good friend of mine."
    • Booyah! Our Lady Peace actually made the top 100 singles this year. A couple of their songs from Gravity made it on the radio around here, and our only "rock" radio is a clearchannel station, so that's saying something. For somebody like me who's been following them since their first commercial album in '95, it's a happy day

      Ok, back on topic. I find usually that the best way to find new bands is to go to websites of bands I like and find out what bands they listen to or are playing with. That's how I found two of my current favorite bands. (shameless plug time) Lucky Boy's Confusion -> Something Corporate -> New Found Glory.
  • by pshuman (68722)
    DI [digitallyimported.com] is a great site with a variaty of music styles. I have found a number of "new to me" artists and DJs here.

    The web site has comment sections for discussing the current play list. The streamed mp3 format works great in Windows, Solaris, Linux, and Mac.
  • I have discovered many good new artists using my favorite P2P software. In fact, 5 of the 7 CDs in my last order were artists I discovered that way. You just search for stuff you like, and then look through the collections of the people that have the music you like.

    Of course, I bet this works a lot better for smaller artists than the huge ones, so YMMV

  • College Radio! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RumGunner (457733) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <rennugmur>> on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:38PM (#5010660) Homepage
    No matter what city I go to, there's usually a college radio station.

    I'm actually in college, and I volunteer at one, so I'm probably a little biased, but college radio is by far the most progressive of all radio.
    • college radio is by far the most progressive of all radio
      <sarcasm>What about ClearChannel?</sarcasm>
    • Absolutely true! I went to Cornell, which is in Ithaca, New York, and I listened to Ithaca College's WICB is one of the best radio stations ever.

      The key is that they don't have to get huge numbers of listeners to listen to commercials (there are no commercials), so they can play good music. And the DJ's are cool so the music is good and they try to introduce people to some less-well known stuff.
    • How about KCRW? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gregger (156275)
      One of the granddaddies of National Public Radio, KCRW [kcrw.org] is based in Santa Monica. We used to get it using creative tuning tactics while at UCSB. Their programming like Morning Becomes Ecclectic [kcrw.org] is full of in-depth artist interviews, new music, and interesting archives.

      They also used to have some great evening programs that tended to vary. It was very much like the college radio that the original poster was talking about, but KCSB wasn't quite up to the usual task of college radio when I was at UCSB. I used to listen to KSPB up in Santa Cruz. It was a progressive radio station at Robert Louis Stevenson High in Pebble Beach. That's the first time I heard the Muffs, the Cure, Smiths, NIN, Strawberry Zotz, Sisters of Mercy, Front 242 etc.

      KCRW has REALLY extensive archives. The Beck shows are great. He never plays anything from an album. Also, they used to play Joe Frank. The archives still exist there. Dang cool.

      TTFN
    • http://www.wsu.edu/~kzuu/

      I had a few great semesters there

      90.7 FM if you're in the south east/mid-to-north idaho area

      checkout their charts, with a few exceptions they stick to independant music
    • KEXP Freeform radio! (Score:4, Informative)

      by melorama (546258) <mel@@@alphageek...org> on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:26PM (#5011060) Homepage Journal
      I'm a huge fan of independent and college radio stations, but even then, most of these stations are "programmed" by genre, and I would rather listen to a station that is completely unpredictable, where you might hear the Dead Kennedys followed by Jurassic 5, followed by Johnny Cash, etc. IOW, true "Freeform Radio". KEXP radio [kexp.org] in Seattle, I have found, is one of the best freeform stations in the world. They even have an UNCOMPRESSED stream of their broadcast available (sure, it's Windows Media format, but it's still a neat idea), in addition to WMP, MP3 and RealAudio streams. Also dig the real-time playlist! [kexp.org]. This is a great way to discover and document cool music that you've never heard before.
    • You obviously don't go to a tech school. Here, we get our choice of anime soundtracks OR video game music. And people wonder why our radio station usually has 0 listeners.
  • College Radio! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hiryuu (125210) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:39PM (#5010663)

    If you can stomach newswires being read by teenagers who barely have any grasp of proper English or public speaking skills, college radio is a great way to find stuff off the mainstream, particularly if it's a station with a good-sized audience, like WSOU from Seton Hall [wsou.net]. For those outside the central-NJ area, they do web-cast.


    • Also good in central Jersey is 90.5, The Night, based out of Brookdale in Lincroft. There's a lot of good progressive rock, folk, blues - nothing too hard, but an interesting and eclectic selection. Early in the morning and during the afternoon drive they've got NPR on, but the rest is mostly music - and the DJ's aren't as amatuerish as on some college radio stations.

      Oh, and they also webcast - wbjb.org.
    • Non-commercial (in the traditional sense) radio is a great place to hear new music.

      If I may make a recommendation try www.kexp.org from Seattle. They have a webcast, webcast archives, variety programing (all archived), great music, plus real-time playlists. And they are about the coolest radio station EVER. And they are part of the Experince Music Project, which is a fantastic museum/musicians resource. Listen for a while, or even just look over the playlists and I guarentee you will find great stuff. And I don't mean backstreet boys pop stuff.
  • SoulSeek (Score:2, Informative)

    by CharlesV (22919)
    Soulseek [slsk.org] has done me well on the finding new music department. It's windows chiefly with some kind of broken mac and linux ports, but on the windows side, at least, allows you to browse users files and there's also a section in the userinfo for your favorite artists. Search for your favorite albums and browse the folders and download random crap.

    Taste isn't a science, you can't break it down. Just experiment.
  • You should try this. Go to a site for a band you like, and see if their discussion boards have non-specific music forums.

    For REM you have my site, murmurs.com which has a HUGE non-REM music section with very diverse tastes.

    U2 has interference.com

    Radiohead used to have greenplastic.com for boards, but I think ateaseweb is the best.

    Most big fansites have something similar. You'd be surprised what you find.

    Ethan
  • by TexTex (323298)
    SBC Yahoo DSL told me that I might like salsa music. My wife didn't even know that I liked salsa music.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.cdbaby.com

    It's a small independent web-based distributor with a cool way for people to get hold of great music. They have lots samples and the money gets pretty darn directly to the artists (as opposed to those recording with the RIAA).
  • by codexus (538087) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:40PM (#5010681)
    talk to people. Find forums and IRC channels related to artists or musical genres you like and start making friends. Chat with them about the music you like and I'm sure you'll find people with lots of suggestions on what to try.
    • by fermion (181285) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:12PM (#5010956) Homepage Journal
      This is the old fashion way?

      Go out to where music is played. The best music is not necessarily what end up on the radio or what your friends are listening to. The internet has a lot of stuff, but that it also has a lot of crap. There are a few places, like cdbaby, that seems to have some cool stuff.

      Go to a festival where you can here 30 unknown bands for $20. Bring enough money for a CD or two. Go off the main stage and listen to the newcomers. Also, many cities have festivals that bring in local music for free. Go to them. If you are young you can con your parents into taking you by citing 'family time'.

    • Man that's just weird. I thought you were going to say something like go down to the irish pub on a weekend night for the local ho down.

      You want to listen to some bad ass electronic/jazz/hip-hop music, try ninjatune.net and they aren't appart RIAA. NIce.
  • Here's one I like (Score:3, Informative)

    by core plexus (599119) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:41PM (#5010693) Homepage
    http://artists.iuma.com/ [iuma.com] and for an example here is a page where you can download the songs, etc. here [iuma.com]
    • You beat me to the post.

      IUMA is a great place to get info and music samples from new artists (unsigned) from almost every genre. It's surprising that not too many know of it (maybe that's a good thing). It's been around since before 1996 when I first found it.
      • Didn't mean to, maybe they'll mod you up for the benefit of the readership ;) I see someone got your nick, too.

        I didn't know they've been around that long, 1996 is like year 0 for the 'net, haha. I wouldn't have known about it except that my bro put some of his work on there.

  • Amazon does a decent job of recommneding stuff that you might like based on other people's purchasing habits. One method that I've found useful is to create a wishlist of albums that you want or like (or even own). Amazon wil provide a list of other artists requested or purchased by people who requested or purchased the same thing you just did. Plus using the wishlist is an easy-to-access way to keep track of the stuff you want, but it is also pretty easy to get carried away. I have something like 250 books, music, and dvds on my list...

    Also check out interviews with band members and check their homepages. They often talk about other bands they like or people who have influenced them. Depending on the music you like, certain members may play in a few different bands, or may sit in on concert sets of other bands. I listen to a lot of live music [etree.org] and many of the artists I like to collect I discovered by grabbing shows that an artist I already knew about sat in on.

    Message boards and fan sites probably make decent ways to hear about people, as well as topical magazines (ie, GuitarPlayer, BassPlayer, maybe ComputerMusic, etc.).

    Don't forget to ask other people at the shows you see what they listen to. CHeck out the local listings of bands in the area. Take the plunge and go see a show of an unknown that plays in a club that often hosts music you like.

    Etc, etc, ad nauseam, and so on.
  • by netsharc (195805)
    Well, while looking for info about Massive Attack , I came upon this.. not sure if it really works, try it and see - gnod [gnoosic.com].
    • by Hatter (3985)
      I've had some success with gnod [gnoosic.com] before. It works best if you put 3 artists of the same genre in the "favorite artists" boxes or you can get some crazy results. I've found quite a few bands that I like with the combo of this and Kazaa.

      It can be hard to find bands on smaller labels, especially when most of your friends don't listen to the same music you do, but this and a local cd shop have been good tools.
  • Napster (Score:5, Funny)

    by ka9dgx (72702) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:42PM (#5010706) Homepage Journal
    I like this program called Napster, since using it I bought a ton more CDs, and you can see what other people have in their collections... it's truely the future of music, the artist must love it, it's been boosting the hell out of their sales.

    Of course, it's been a while since I used it, so your experience may vary.

    --Mike--

  • Borders (Score:3, Informative)

    by TekkonKinkreet (237518) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:43PM (#5010722) Homepage
    At the Borders near me they have a setup with a pair of headphones and an infrared bar code scanner. You can pick any CD off the shelf, scan it, and can then listen to a minute or so of any track. I believe the system imposes a very faint intermittent beep over the audio, too, for obvious reasons--I couldn't hear it on all tracks.

    It made for a very pleasant and educational half hour of music browsing for me (annoying, though, that about 2/3 of the stations were mal/nonfunctioning).
  • Oh, i know this one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by balog (13684) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:44PM (#5010723)

    It's gnod [gnod.net].

    From the page:

    Gnod is a self-adapting system that learns about the outer world by asking its visitors what they like and what they don't like. In this instance of gnod all is about music. Gnod is kind of a search engine for music you don't know about. It will ask you what music you like and then think about what you might like too. When I set gnod online its database was completely empty. Now it contains thousands of bands and quite some knowledge about who likes what. And gnod learns more every day. Enjoy :o)

    • This site was pretty cool, although when I put my 3 suggestions in, it just came up with a list of artists I already had. I tried again with several different scenarios, but it always came up with stuff I already have and like. I wasn't able to get it to give me anything that I had never heard of before.

    • Hmm... I just tried it.

      I entered The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Ween

      All it came up with was a bunch of stuff I already knew about:

      The Rolling Stones (like some)
      Freddie Mercury (like some)
      The Who (don't like much)
      The Doors (who doesn't like them?)
      Neil Young (bleh)
      Paul Simon (eh, alright I guess, but was better with Arty)
      Creedance CR (a little dated, but good)
      Radiohead (can't stand the little posers)

      Thank god it didn't say Oasis. Bottom line, of course somebody who likes pop sixties bands is gonna like other pop sixties bands. Some of them even like Radiohead (I know some, really). I wanna hear about bands I've never heard of. I'd think at least something like The Velvet Underground should come up to make it interesting, but instead I ended up with a lot of chart busters I'd already heard of.
  • This doesn't help you at all but I've always wished that people would fill out the "description" field of mp3's they trade on p2p services like KaZaA with suggestions of similiar artists. After all, there's not much need for a description field for an mp3 file anyhow -- it's just free space to write something. I'd personally love it if people would take the time to write something along the lines of "Very similiar in style to Band1, Band2 and Band3" or Song1, Song2, etc.

    What I've resorted to is using Amazon.com to look at what other bands could be similiar and then search KaZaA and seeing for myself. You know how Amazon lists "people who bought this item also bought albums by Artist1, Artist2, etc.", right? Of course, this method wouldn't work for artists so obscure that amazon doesn't feature them.

    I'm interested to see what other suggestions people come up with here. But I think filling out those description fields for mp3s on p2p services would really help a lot.

    GMD

  • I find a lot of music on IUMA [iuma.com] and the Synthesis [synthesis.net]. Neither have an abundance of adverts. As for a system of reccomendation or news/discussion I can't be of much help. Maybe you should start something like that!

    My site [3fingersalute.net] has an artist of the month section but we just started it a few months ago so there isn't much there yet.
  • by rmohr02 (208447)
    Are there weblogs that allow users to discuss music much like Slashdot discusses "news"?
    You can make your own using this [slashcode.com].
  • Audio Galaxy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Patrick13 (223909) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:50PM (#5010781) Homepage Journal
    Actually, before AudioGalaxy [audiogalaxy.com] got sued into ashes [slashdot.org], they had a great feature in their search mechanism that when you searched for an artist or title, it would show what other people who searched for that title had also search for.

    I really like the drum n bass duo Lamb [amazon.com] and thanks to this feature at audio galaxy I was introduced to the Sneaker Pimps [amazon.com] and Hooverphonic [amazon.com].

    Err, I mean I rushed right out to my local national chain music store and purchased the CDs.

    You kind of get this when you browse through Amazon.com's [amazon.com] "other people purchased" links.
  • http://www.besonic.com/ [besonic.com] does this

    besonic is a site mostly populated by obscure artists, a heap of them electronic music makers, too. if you sign up for a listening account with them, they'll email you once a week (or something?) with tracks and artists they think you'll like based on how many tracks in different genres you've listened to. it's not a very intelligent system, but it kind of fits what is being asked about.

    of course, sites like besonic (and the original big one, mp3.com) are dying off. the most promising new one is electronicscene.com [electronicscene.com]. any electronic musician can sign up to have their tracks on electronicscene. there are ample links between genre pages and artist pages so that if you find one artist or genre you like, you can easily find another similar one... or lists of the artists and genres that influenced them. provided you like electronic music, it's an excellent place for finding new stuff.
  • by StandardDeviant (122674) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:53PM (#5010803) Homepage Journal
    like this [gnoosic.com]. it's a really cool engine somebody built that takes information on what you like and suggests other bands. definitely click the "related bands" link under the suggested band it pops out. i realize that this is probably dooming somebody's server to a firey death, but maybe go back in a week or so. ;-) take what it suggests and pop over to shoutcast [shoutcast.com] to look for stations streaming those (sorts of) bands. if you like what you hear, go to your local independent CD shop and buy it, making sure to tell them "yeah, I heard this music online from an mp3 station and now i want to buy it from you". most of the record store owners I know think that mp3s are satan incarnate, helping them see the benefits of fluid, low/no-barrier music preview and discovery would be a good thing long term...

  • Audiogalaxy couldn't be touched. Not at all. Back before the restructuring I would download music that I was curious about, deciding whether or not it was worth purchase. I deleted the stuff I didn't like, and bought a few CDs. As I'm not a mass consumer of recorded music, this is saying a lot. And a handful of those CDs I would have never heard about if not for the "If you like Sunny Day Real Estate* try this other band" feature. (*Insert name of band you actually like here) At least one of the bands had legitimate hosting on AG with a few legal music samples, but I downloaded other tracks in the normal manner in order to get a better feel for the quality of the album I was looking to buy. As far as I know AG still has their categories, suggestions and forums, but the lack of free access to gablilitizillions of mp3s puts a bit of a damper on this method. Of course, I also rejected a few CDs by this technique, in finding that there were not very many good tracks other than one I'd heard before. This is the only purpose I used AG for that would probably piss off the RIAA, and in that case it's definitely worth thinking about. I doubt they're too keen on consumers getting to rate their merchandise before purchase.

  • There's no such thing as an open community with taste. Too many people are idiots. If you've got a group of people with taste, but they're out in the open on the internet, you're guaranteed to attract a million morons with no capacity for critical thought whatsoever. This is why Amazon saw that I ordered Tangent 2002 - Disco Nouveau, and recommended Moby. People are dumb.
  • alt.music.whateveryouwant

    Try google's groups [google.com].

    -Berj
  • by Viewsonic (584922) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:54PM (#5010815)
    They have so many genres to explore. Give it a try, and it sounds PERFECT. The record companies should be paying these guys for all the free advertising shoutcast streamers are doing. I buy so many CDs from hearing songs I like on there.
  • by cmason (53054) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:56PM (#5010831) Homepage
    Slashdot did a similar story a while back and someone posted [slashdot.org] a number of alternative sources for new music. Here's another one: EmergentMusic.com [emergentmusic.com]. Some pretty good stuff on there; lots of crap too, but that's to be expected.

    In general, I find using any of these sites, including and especially MP3.com, to find decent music you haven't heard elsewhere is a ton of work. I continue to contend [slashdot.org] that, when someone comes up with a decent business model, services which suggest new music will make more money than companies which sell music. I have yet to see one that I think actually works. This is a difficult task: music is an intensely personal decision and relying on suggestions of others takes trust. I really wonder what ever happend to firefly, and the host of other sites that purported to use neural networks to suggest music based on you rating stuff you know you liked. I think these agent based approaches are more likely to succeed than something like a web log or zine.

  • by aquarian (134728) on Friday January 03, 2003 @07:56PM (#5010833)
    Get out of the house and go to shows! Pick up a copy of the "alternative" newspaper in your town, see what's going on, and hit the clubs. When you find bands you like, buy their CDs, talk to them about what music they like, check out their websites, and take it from there. One thing will lead to another, and another, and before you know it you'll be plugged into another whole scene you never knew existed.

    Who knows, you might even make some friends and meet some girls.
  • ice cast and shoutcast [shoutcast.com] offer mp3 streaming. Shoutcast is my favorite because it plays in QuickTime, RealPlayer, WinAmp, XMMS, iTunes, and mpg123 ... a standard like mp3 is pretty easy to stream (or so I'd assume).

    But shoutcast's website has a search engine to classify the channels by bitrate or genre or whatever ... might be something worth checking out. Plus you pick the software you want to use, and platform.

    And if you get bored a shoutcast server is always fun to play with, possibly set your own up.

  • A google search for "music recommendations" turned up some interesting online tools to find music you might like.

    ListenUp [sooz.com]

    Emergent Music [emergentmusic.com]

    The Library Blog [chickeninthewoods.org]

    Otherwise I recommend using google to search for bands that you do like, browse through the listings and you're sure to turn up something you might like. Then search for it on P2P, and if you like it, buy it. Simple.

  • Let's say you like Phish's "Billy Breathes" CD. Now, you can go search for that on Amazon.com [amazon.com], and if you scroll down a little bit, you can see:

    Customers who bought this title also bought:

    * A Picture of Nectar ~ Phish
    * Lawn Boy ~ Phish
    * Rift ~ Phish
    * Junta ~ Phish
    * The Story of the Ghost ~ Phish

    Granted, this is only going to work for commercial releases, and may only give you results for the same artist, but it's a good way to expand your web of music. It's also a good way to abuse Amazon.com by not paying for anything from them and still gaining benefit from their site.

  • Two suggestions: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NineNine (235196) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:01PM (#5010880)
    I've got two ways that I do this:

    1. Amazon (I preferred CD-NOW, but now everything is Amazon). Enter in your favorites, and it'll make suggestions based on what other people buy who like music similar to you. Works very well.

    2. Launch.com. It's Yahoo now, but Yahoo didn't change the basics... it's still the best streaming radio out there. You continually tweak what songs/artists/albums/genres that you like for your own radio station, and you can also set how much "other music" is inserted into your radio station. That "other music" that's inserted is music that other people with tastes similar to yours also like. Even better than the Amazon thing, since you get to hear the music right away without actively doing anything. Also, I like Yahoo a smidgen more than I like Amazon.
  • Electrogarden [electrogarden.com] has a ton of sample music, discussion forums, and band links if you like electronic music.
  • I like EMusic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rks404 (267508)

    I've got a $9.99/month subscription to Emusic.com which I have been enjoying immensely. Although they don't have everything, like Napster or Audio Galaxy's glory days, they do have a surprisingly deep catalog and I've found a lot of really good stuff in their archives.

    I also like the fact that I can get clean, nicely labelled, high-quality MP3s and don't have to deal with all the cruft and duplication of gnutella clients. I used to use LimeWire back in the day but found that the program was too heavyweight for my computer and it seriously burdened my computer when it was running.

    Good luck finding some music. God knows the music industry isn't making it easier these days.
    • The great thing about emusic is alot of the artists are second tier - they tend to have cool musicians who arn't all about making it rich and are more about making interesting music.

      Plus, its a treasuretrove of jazz rereleases, and they have a good selection of off the beaten path underground hiphop.

      Of course, theres alot of shit, but hey, I'm getting on the order of 10 to 15 CDs I like per month for 9.99 .. how can you beat that!
  • Furthur [furthurnet.com] is a LEGAL P2P program that allows you to download concerts from bands who allow taping. You can download concerts in MP3 and and loseless SHN format. There are many bands you will recognize and a lot you 've never heard before. There are a lot of jambands such as Phish, The Grateful Dead, but there are rap, metal, jazz, and grunge groups on there as well. Best of all, its written in Java so it will run on just about any platform.
  • by geekoid (135745)
    go to a used music store, poke through there stuff, ask the people who work there.
  • Here are a few... (Score:2, Informative)

    by pokka (557695)
    1) Amazon.com : If you haven't tried Amazon.com lately, their recommendations are very smart. They can tell you why they think you would like the recommended products, and their recommendations respond well to new ratings. I also love having a selection of 100+ reviews for each album.. after reading a few of them, you usually can tell whether or not the album's for you.

    2) AllMusic.com : Excellent reviews of albums. If they rate something five stars, chances are you'll like it. I guess this is more of a reference site, but it's the ultimate reference :)

    3) Rateyourmusic.com : You archive your cd collection by rating your albums, then you get amazon-style recommendations. It has more of a community focus than amazon or other sites (message boards, private messages, etc) so it's easy to get direct recommendations from other users.

    4) Emergentmusic.com : Basically, someone writes a recommendation, and everyone else gets in on it, making corrections, adding new information, and making it better. By the end of the process, you have a well-written recommendation that gives you all the information needed to decide whether or not you like the artist/album.
  • You want new music? And Some Old stuff you've probably never heard - just listen to the John Peel show from bbc radio 1 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1
    Trust me - once you get into him you'll never look back. Actually R1 has quite a few good interesting evening shows to check out it's well worth your time.

    Or if you live in San Francisco you could just come to some of my DJ gigs and listen to what I play ;-)
  • File Browsing (Score:4, Informative)

    by limekiller4 (451497) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:16PM (#5010985) Homepage
    I think it is plain to see that certain people tend to like certain genres. Sure, some of us are downright ecclectic -- I like Aphex Twin, Bjork, T.A.T.U., Smiths, Squarepusher, Busta Rhymes, Tom Waits, De La Soul, Guster, etc, etc -- but those who like opera, for example, are probably good sources on where you can find more of the same.

    So if you're not averse to using file-sharing programs such as Gnutella et al, I would suggest looking for songs you already like and instead of downloading the songs you find (or in addition to), browsing the files of the people who have those songs. This way you can make as big a leap as you want.

    Since this is human-based I think you'll find similar tastes that jump genres, something that even the most clever algorithm is likely to miss, and will do precisely what you're seeking; introduction to new sounds.

    Also, you might consider stuff like MP3.com. I've found a lot of stuff that is unknown only for lack (or refusal) of a record deal.
  • garageband.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by iapetus (24050) on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:18PM (#5011001) Homepage

    Garageband.com [garageband.com] has great selections of independent bands. There's a big mixture of quality on the site, but you can find some of the best stuff in the charts there, and check the playlists recommended by bands you like.

    They also have a ridiculously cheap subscription service that allows you to get CDs of some of the best tracks on the site on a monthly basis.

  • by reanjr (588767)
    I know it has been mentioned, but it seems to me to be worth mentioning again. Amazon, in my experience has been wonderful at suggesting music to me. Granted, I usually already own what they are suggesting, but I could tell them that and they'd tell me some more.
  • I've learned a huge amount about new music in the last 18 months since joining a listserv called Postcard From Hell. It was originally started to discuss the legendary alt.country band Uncle Tupelo and, after they broke up, its two spin-off bands/leaders Wilco/Jeff Tweedy and Son Volt/Jay Farrar. Although that is ostensibly the subject of the listserv about 95% of the music related content on the list is about other bands. I've discovered some great bands through this list and met some other people in my area who have similar musical tastes.

    Try to find a listserv or newsgroup (better than Yahoo! Groups! With! All! The! Spam!) devoted to a band you already like and then see what you can find out from there. Lurk for awhile, don't just go in and blurt out stupid shit 5 minutes after you subscribe and you'll probably learn a lot. I bought about 40 CDs this past year when in the past I would have purchased 3 or 4.

    BFL
  • 1. Amazon.com. The lists linked to at the bottom of their pages are very good. Pick a band you like, check out the lists, then check out lists related to those lists. Fire up kazaa or your favorite gnutellia to check out the new stuff then buy. 2. Some [colgate.edu] webcaster [slashdot.org] + Streamripper. [sourceforge.net]Grab a stream overnight, and skip over the stuff you don't like.

    -Ted

  • for music making there's a site that's kinda like /. which is http://devdsp.net [devdsp.net] and for the more avant post-rock music there's Brainwashed [brainwashed.com].

    Ages ago (1996-ish) there used to be a site that would give you a list of recommended artists based on a list of yes/no questions about other artists...firefly.com I think it was called and I can't find it any more. These days I usually get new music via word of mouth on p2p networks and mix tapes. Yes, I still listen to tapes.

  • by raresilk (100418) <raresilk@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Friday January 03, 2003 @08:38PM (#5011144)
    This station is absolutely the best place I know of to find new, good music of almost all genres. Even if you do not live in Santa Monica, or even in California, KCRW webcasts live and archived music programming at http://www.kcrw.com/ and also on Shoutcast, and they publish complete playlists for prior broadcasts, indexed by month and day (ending that annoying "oh my god I just heard the best new track but they didn't say who it was and I had to go to work/class" freakout thing.) Also, their announcing is extremely high quality, without the usual college radio bumbling. I know this sounds like a plug, but I have no affiliation with KCRW, other than making donations to them every year - I just plain love this station as a source for new music. (In particular, check out the late night broadcasts and "Metropolis.")

  • IPM Radio? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pathwalker (103) <hotgrits@yourpants.net> on Friday January 03, 2003 @09:00PM (#5011281) Homepage Journal
    May I suggest IPM Radio [ipmradio.com] as a good way to learn about music?

    They've been broadcasting for over 4 years now, and I have to say that in the year I've been attending broadcasts, I have found a lot of new types of music I like.

    There is a weekly 6-8 hour live show, that starts at about 8:30 PM EST every friday, with real audio and MPEG-4/AAC versions showing up in the archives [ipmradio.com] a few days later.

    Ogg streams might be possible, if someone can direct me to an OGG streamer that lets clients skip around in the streams, like Quicktime/Mpeg-4/AAC does.

    here [ipmradio.com] is the link to the mpeg-4 version of the 4th anniversary show as a sample.
  • by FunkyRat (36011) <funkyrat AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 03, 2003 @09:28PM (#5011483) Journal

    If you're into progressive rock, and even if you're not, and especially if you think you're not, then I highly suggest you check out the New Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock [gepr.net]. This is a simply awesome resource for finding new music to hunt down and listen to. In addition to the aforementioned encyclopedia, the GEPR has its' own webzine and you'll find links to many sites which review prog rock discs.

    Although I have personally not listened to their Live365 stream (dial up line -- not enough bandwidth), ProgRock.com [progrock.com] has an informative website and a very active discussion forum.

    One streaming radio station that I listen to a lot, often for hours, is Delicious Agony [deliciousagony.com]. They play a good mix of both classics and new progressive music. Highly recommended. A great benefit of streaming radio is that you can see the playlist while listening and in progrock.com's case, there will also be links to where you can buy the music and to the artists' homepages. Happy hunting.

  • Stepping Stones (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PotatoMan (130809) on Friday January 03, 2003 @11:00PM (#5012027)
    The best advice I ever got on this was from Harlan Ellison. Although he was speaking about books, I think the principle applies here as well.


    Finding new music is like stepping stones; you go from one to the next to the next. So when you find music you like, you look at similar music.


    Fundamentally, you will need to sample bands and be disappointed a lot. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.

  • by vudufixit (581911) on Friday January 03, 2003 @11:41PM (#5012261)


    And watch how their recommendation bots bring you the latest in totally irrelevant-to-your-taste artists, and steer you toward kitchen gadgets and other sundries you never knew you needed.
  • XM Radio (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wateshay (122749) <bill.nagelNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 04, 2003 @12:48AM (#5012550) Homepage Journal
    XM Satellite radio has a channel called "Unsigned", that plays nothing but unsigned bands from around the U.S. Most of it's really good. The also have links on their website [xmradio.com] to the websites of all the bands they play that have websites.

    They have a sample stream of the station on their website, but I think it's in a Windows Media format.
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Misch (158807) on Saturday January 04, 2003 @02:28AM (#5012955) Homepage
    Do as some creative Fruheads have done. Create a website [fruhead.com] for your favorite bands fans.

    Then, create a section [fruhead.com] for recommending music.

    For example, people who like Moxy Fruvous also like:
    They Might Be Giants, Guster, BNL, Great Big Sea, The Beatles, Ben Folds (Five), Arrogant Worms, Eddie From Ohio, The Nields, and more.

    Of course, that's a lot of work...

    You could also check out sites like Diaryland.com or Livejournal.com. Look at music people like, and see what else they like. Livejournal has "interests" with which you can search for people.

    It's not exactly automated, but, with some luck, you might be able to find a few different things.
  • by linuxbaby (124641) on Saturday January 04, 2003 @03:45AM (#5013216)

    10 Reasons You Should Check Out CD Baby [cdbaby.com]:

    1. We carry 30,000 CDs from independent artists that are not affiliated with the RIAA. (Meaning: you can boycott the RIAA and still buy damn good music.)
    2. We only work directly with the musicians, not distributors or labels. So we pay the artists every week. Unlike buying the majors, your money spent on CDs goes directly to the artists.
    3. We actually listened to every one of those 30,000 CDs before selling them, and can tell you which ones we highly recommend, here: http://www.cdbaby.com/picks [cdbaby.com]. (It's somebody's full-time job, listening to 75 new albums a day, writing internal reviews, and linking up to other albums in the store, for the last 5 years.)
    4. We've made some fun collections (flavors) of CDs: music for Long Drives / Road Trips [cdbaby.com], CDs to Have Sex To [cdbaby.com], albums for Academics and Musicologists [cdbaby.com], ones where someone is Naked on CD Cover [cdbaby.com], and more [cdbaby.com].
    5. If you enter the name of your favorite famous artist [cdbaby.com], it'll show you the best new artists in that style. (Yes, it really works. It was built by ears not computers.)
    6. Miss walking the aisles of a record store, looking at album covers? Check out the album art gallery [cdbaby.com] .
    7. You can listen to about 8 minutes of every single CD in the store, in 128k streaming MP3
    8. We're ditching RealAudio for OGG soon. (Only reason we use RealAudio is that I started this site in 1997 when that's all there was!)
    9. We never use any Microsoft products [cdbaby.com] . Even the desktop computers in the office are FreeBSD running Opera.
    10. The founder & president is the programmer is a Slashdot addict is me [cdbaby.com].
  • Some ideas (Score:3, Informative)

    by m00nun1t (588082) on Saturday January 04, 2003 @05:01AM (#5013387) Homepage
    I'm much like you. I spend a lot of time trying to find new and interesting music, and have done for several years. It sounds to me like you are looking for a magic "music suggstion" tool. I don't think anything that works reliable exists, although there are some nice attempts with interesting if unpredictable results. Here's a list of things I do:
    • Using Kazaa, search for a favourite artist. Go and browse the collection of someone with a lot of that artist. Download one track from every artist whose music/name you don't know
    • Look up favourites on Amazon, and as well as reading the "other people bought..." section, read the comments, they often mention other bands. I've found a few this way.
    • Search on Google Groups. See who is talking about a favourite artist. Who else are they talking about?
    • Try and find like minded friends. I find this hard as my tastes are fairly esoteric, but I've got one or two friends who aren't too far off, and I have some good discoveries through them.
    • Use Launch [launch.com]. It takes a while but once you've customised it enough it does make pretty good suggestions every now and again. I've discovered at least 2 favourite bands via launch. Also good to listen to at work.
    • Find a radio station that plays interesting music. My personal favourite is WFMU [wfmu.org] - mostly shows are rubbish, but a few real gems in there (your mileage may vary). Browse the playlists. Some of the radio stations have "top 100 most played songs for 200x" lists - these are great.
    • Just keep your eyes open. You'll find stuff when you least expect it.
    Happy hunting!

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