Music can be one of the healthiest mental escapes a person can indulge in. Discovering a new band or artist that you enjoy can be a truly rewarding experience. Most of us have a modest selection of artists that we love to listen to on a regular basis. But what happens when you yearn for a new set of tunes? Where can you search for different artists and bands with a similar sound to the ones you already listen to?
Since most terrestrial radio stations these days play the same forty songs in a continuous loop, finding new music you actually enjoy may seem like a daunting task. But never fear, because while terrestrial radio stations provide a lack of choice, creative minds across the Internet have set up online services specifically designed to assist their users in finding new music that they will enjoy. While each music service differs in design, the ultimate goal remains the same, matching the bands and artists you already like to other artists with a similar sound and message. Some of these services will even stream full songs to your computer speakers allowing you to instantly preview the different artists while you browse through the suggested options.
Though there are numerous online music services out there, I have listed the three services that I personally use on a regular basis. I believe the quality of service provided by each of these three websites is a step ahead of the competition. Each one will help you discover new music you are bound to enjoy by evaluating different artists based specifically to your tastes.
Last.fm – This is by far my favorite online music service. Last.fm provides one of the most mature social networking websites geared for connecting users to new music of all genres. Users can create and share personal radio stations or even stream full songs or album previews to their computers instantaneously. The site presents a few different methods for getting personalized artist recommendations, allowing casual users and power users alike to discover new tunes.
One method is to simply search on Last.fm for an artist that you like and then preview the suggested artists/songs that the search query returns right in your web browser. Another more advanced option involves downloading their Audioscrobbler plugin and the Last.fm music player, which together allow for a more fine tuned interaction with the Last.fm artist suggestion knowledgebase. The plugin can track all the Mp3s you listen to on your computer and then create custom radio stations based on your listening habits. The player can stream these custom radio stations to your computer, allowing you to indulge in the full songs of suggested artists. Last.fm rocks, so check it out!
Pandora – Pandora is strictly designed to provide users with a personalized streaming radio station. You type in the name of an artist you like and it will create a custom radio station tailored to the artist’s musical style. Pandora utilizes a pretty sophisticated music evaluation algorithm that informs it’s users on the specifics of each artist’s musical style and tempo. As you listen you can give feedback on the particular songs you like or dislike which Pandora will use to refine your future custom playlists.
This service does not provide the ability to choose certain recommended artists from a list. It simply streams a continuous set of full songs to your computer speakers and allows you to skip the ones you don’t like. Even with this limitation, Pandora has a massive artist database, so you are sure to find new artists that you will enjoy.
Liveplasma (formerly Musicplasma) – Liveplasma doesn’t quite peak out at the level of technical sophistication held by the likes of Last.fm and Pandora. However, Liveplasma is a simple Flash based music recommendation site that is easy to use and fun to browse. The recommendations aren’t nearly as plentiful and you can’t instantly stream the suggested songs to your computer, but it’s still a pretty cool service. Simply put, clicking around on Liveplasma can be a blast.
All three of these online music services will connect you to a new and exciting set of tunes. I recommend giving each one of them a whirl. Have fun… and rock on!
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