Exploring new music is one of my favorite past times. I hate to get stuck in a musical rut. If the only new music you are exposed to is what is dished out by your local radio station, it is quite easy to do. We all know the drill. They introduce one new song, and then play it to death. Or until you are ready to strangle it to death.
Back when I was growing up, it was much harder to explore new music. Pretty much your only option was to hit up the local record store. I still love to do this, even though these days they are much harder to find.
Technology has made it simple to find new tunes. I have a few websites and apps that I use to keep the music playing. The logos are clickable links.
Pandora is one of the most commonly used internet radio sources. You can plug in a band or song, and it will use it's special music genome project to spit out similar bands and songs. You can build up to 100 radio stations. The free version does include commercials, but you can upgrade to Pandora|One for $3.99 per month for zero interruptions. The fee is billed through your iTunes account. There is a great app for the iPhone and other mobile devices.
I love to take musical journeys by starting with one song that I like, and then keep building new stations until I find myself in uncharted territory. It doesn't just play the Top 40 or radio versions. It plays songs that are on the CD that you may never have heard before, live performances, or unique covers. And you can train it by giving thumbs up or down to songs.
Have you ever been walking through a store and heard the coolest song and thought, wow, what is this awesome song? Shazam is an app that is available for your mobile device that will kindly answer that question for you. You can just click Shazam and it will listen for about 10 seconds, tell you the name of the song and band, allow you to share it with friends on Facebook or Twitter, and download it from iTunes. I like to also use it to bookmark songs for later purchase. It also provides instant lyrics so you can stop screwing up your favorite songs.
This is my new favorite toy. It works like a music concierge. Music experts build top notch playlists. There are two main ways to use it. One is to just browse through the playlists available based on popularity, genre, or by a song. There is a wide range of options to choose from and it is all based off of your mood. This option requires you to be a bit more specific in your searching.
The second way, the way that I use the most often is the Musical Concierge. It's easier to just show you. You start with the screen below, which is different based on the day of the week and the time of the day.
So, let's say I want to choose --Eating Dinner. Now I have a new set of options.
Now, I select "Cool New Music", and it goes even further...
There are other great music players out there such as Spotify and Grooveshark, but these are my favorite for finding new music at the moment.
But don't forget, if you find yourself in a musical rut - ask your friends what they are listening to. I found a whole genre of music just by asking a friend what he was listening to. Post the question on Facebook, and you will be surprised by the response. But whatever you do -- keep exploring. Life is too short to spend it in a rut.
So, what are you listening to these days? Have you used these sites? What are your favorite apps or websites for exploring new music?