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The Best Services and Platforms for Finding New Music

A man is in ecstasy as he listens to brand new music.
Ranta Images/Shutterstock

Even with the “discover” playlists on your streaming service, finding new music you actually like can be hard. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources for finding new music, and some of them are more fun than you’d expect.

Most of these music discovery methods are pretty simple. While you could spend a few hours diving into the abyss for new music, you could also make music discovery an occasional 10- or 15-minute activity. Simply get your ducks in a row (bookmark some websites, follow some playlists, etc.), and skim through them whenever you want to find some new artists.

We also suggest keeping playlists of music you want to listen to. That way, you’ll be able to take your time going through new artists, and you won’t have to remember what you need to listen to.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the best services and platforms for discovering new music.

Subscribe to a Streaming Service

Two phones display the Spotify and Apple Music logos.

Streaming services host the music you listen to, so they’re a convenient place to find new music. Most streaming services track what you listen to and use algorithms to predict what kind of music you might like on radio stations or generated playlists.

If you’ve only tried to search for music on one platform, then maybe it’s time to expand your horizons. Here’s a list of solid streaming services, along with some info on how to use them as a music discovery service:

  • Spotify: Spotify has some great playlists for discovering music. Some of them, like the RapCaviar and Fresh Finds playlists, are curated for music discovery. Others, like the Discover Weekly playlist, are attuned to your listening habits and taste.
  • Apple Music: Like Spotify, Apple makes it easy to find new music. You can look at curated playlists (like New Music Mix) from the For You page, or listen to music from the Beats 1 integrated radio.
  • Soundcloud: It’s easy to find new and undiscovered music on Soundcloud. Simply check the  Soundcloud charts, or adjust your genre preferences in the Soundclound settings to get curated listening suggestions.
  • Bandcamp: Bandcamp is a service where independent artists can upload their music. It’s packed with all kinds of great music, and it’s easy to get lost finding new artists on the Bandcamp Discover page.
  • Pandora: Pandora’s straightforward interface makes it great for discovering new music. Just listen to some of Pandora’s pre-made playlists, or have the app build you a playlist around an artist, song, or genre.
  • JQBX: JQBX integrates with Spotify so that you can share and listen to music with friends or strangers. Simply join a listening party, hop in the DJ chair, and show off your tunes.
  • Last.fm: Last.fm was one of the first internet radio services to make music suggestions through the use of algorithms. While it’s not the best service for listening to music, you can integrate Last.fm into services like Spotify to reap the benefits of its music recommendations.

If you’re not happy with what you’ve found on Spotify, Apple Music, or one of the other streaming services, then maybe it’s time to look at some extra-curricular music discovery platforms.

Watch Shows or Listen to Podcasts

an image of NPR's Tiny Desk webpage.

Music hunting is hard, but shows like NPR’s Tiny Desk make it a fairly enjoyable experience. You just sit back, go through a playlist, and watch some new artists lay it out live. Invite some friends over, and you’ve just created a killer listening party.

Of course, Tiny Desk isn’t the only live music show out there. Here’s a few music shows and podcasts you can use to discover new music:

  • NPR Music: NPR’s reputation in the music world is unmatched. The station’s All Songs Considered podcast is great for learning about and discovering new music, and its Tiny Desk concerts are famous for bringing old and new artists into the limelight.
  • Live on KEXP: KEXP radio’s YouTube channel is a fantastic resource for finding new music. Like NPR’s Tiny Desk, this YouTube channel is full of long, intimate performances from a range of artists.
  • Jam In The Van: Want to watch musicians play live in a van? Jam In The Van travels around the country, catching live performances from local bands along the way.
  • BBCRadio1VEVO: The BBC films live performances from a variety of popular musicians, like Khalid and Harry Styles.
  • q on CBC: A small, intimate show for interviews and live performances. This show has a great selection of Soul and R&B artists, along with a few rock groups.

Afraid you’ll miss out on a good artist? These shows and podcasts can’t cover everything. If you want to go even deeper in your music discovery journey, you’ll have to start looking at music news sites.

Check the News and Reviews Websites

A stack of newspapers representing music journalism.
Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Discovering music ain’t just fun and games. Sometimes you have to dig past the depths of the earth. You have to trudge through music review sites, holding your temper every time some critic pastes a low score on your favorite record.

These music review sites probably aren’t great for your mental health, but they’re great for finding new artists in all genres (don’t tell anyone, but I just throw anything that looks cool into a Spotify playlist):

  • Pitchfork: Pitchfork is probably the most popular website for music news and reviews. The website puts out multiple reviews a day and gives plenty of attention to unknown or undiscovered artists, so it’s a good go-to spot for new music.
  • ALLMUSIC: ALLMUSIC is a reviews-based website that’s great for finding new music from all genres. You can also make an ALLMUSIC profile to participate in music criticism if that’s your thing.
  • Metacritic Music: Metacritic Music is just like the regular Metacritic website. It crawls the web looking for music reviews and compiles an average score for each album. It’s good for hunting down new, critically acclaimed music you might miss if you visit only one critic website.
  • The Needle Drop: This is Anthony Fantano’s music website. It’s good for keeping up with indie and experimental music, but it doesn’t contain much in the way of music news (actually, that’s probably a good thing). The Needle Drop also hosts Fantano’s “loved” albums list, in case you don’t feel like browsing.
  • Consequence of Sound: This reviews site covers music, film, and TV. It’s a good all-around portal for keeping up with modern media, and it sometimes streams new tracks before they hit Spotify or Apple Music.
  • Stereogum: Stereogum is a great resource for music news, and the website’s “10 Best Songs” lists are useful for quickly discovering new music.
  • Rolling Stone: While Rolling Stone’s focus on music has waned over the years (its current top trending article is about vaping), the website’s Music Lists, Charts, and Album Reviews are good for tracking down some neat music or learning about popular artists.

Okay, now you’ve bookmarked a few music news sites and watched a few Tiny Desk videos, you should have your new music fix. But hey, why not go deeper down the rabbit hole?

Visit the Small Music Blogs

Somebody has a music blog open on their laptop.

Small music blogs are great for deep-dives into independent or obscure artists. They don’t have the funding of websites like Pitchfork (so they’re much less prolific), but they’re still a great resource for music discovery.

Back in the day (maybe 8+ years ago), a ton of Blogspot pages were dedicated to this kind of stuff. Sadly, only a few “major” music blogs are left, so some of the ones we’re listing are pretty niche.

Here are a few of the small music blogs that haven’t been steamrolled by major websites:

  • Hype Machine: The Hype Machine automatically aggregates popular music from popular music sites and blogs, so you don’t have to go searching for new music.
  • Bandcamp Daily: Considering Bandcamp’s massive library of undiscovered and independent artists, it makes sense for the website to maintain a daily blog. These blog posts, while unpredictable and diverse, are great for finding a mess of new artists every day.
  • Portals: A small community of artists (illustrators, photographers, writers, etc.) who spend their time bringing independent musicians into the limelight.
  • BrooklynVegan: This New York-based music blog is full of music news and reviews. BrooklynVegan has been around since 2004 and has managed to hold together a pretty decent fanbase since then.
  • COMPLEX Pigeons and Planes: COMPLEX is a website dedicated to fresh pop culture. It has teamed up with the Pigeons and Planes blog to report on new, young, and undiscovered artists.
  • Run The Trap: This blog caters to hip-hop and electronic music fans. It’s updated every day with new music news, and it even offers free music downloads and Spotify playlists.
  • Music-Map: Searching for music that sounds like what you’re already listening to? Simply enter an artist’s name in the Music-Map, and you’ll be greeted with an array of similar artists.(This isn’t really a music blog, but it’s a small site and a good music discovery resource.)

Okay, so you’ve followed some music platforms on Youtube, you’ve bookmarked some music blogs, and you’re ready to go even deeper. Put your nerd cap on, we’re about to go back in time.

Join a Music Community

A group of people put their hands together in the name of music.

The internet used to be covered in forums, but you already know that. Back in the day, forums (and Blogspot pages) were the best way to find new music (and to make beautiful friendships along the way).

Those days are gone, but there are still a few music communities lingering around. Some of them are predictable (subreddits), while others, the KTT forums, have somehow survived for a very long time.

All right, here are a few music communities and forums. Keep in mind that some of these communities are pretty niche, and Reddit may be your best bet:

  • JQBX: JQBX integrates with Spotify so that you can share and listen to music with friends or strangers. Simply join a listening party, hop in the DJ chair, and show off your tunes.
  • Reddit: There are a ton of great music-related subreddits, like r/listentothis, r/Jazz, and r/hiphopheads. We’d list more, but there are too many to count. We suggest searching for a genre or artist on Reddit to find a relevant subreddit.
  • Rap Genius Forums: Yep, there’s a Rap Genius forum. It’s a small, old-fashioned community that perpetually argues about hip-hop. What more could you want?
  • KTT (Kanye To The): This is one of the few music fan forums that’s actually survived over the years. It’s primarily a Kanye West and hip-hop community, but it branches out into other topics too. Oh, and this is the forum where BROCKHAMPTON met, so there’s that.
  • Facebook: Do you follow your favorite artists on Facebook? You know you can interact on their pages or join fan-groups, right?

Okay, this is about as deep as things go. Hopefully, you’re happy with all the playlists you’ve followed, sites you’ve bookmarked, and Kanye West fan communities you’ve joined.

Again, these resources make it easy to discover new music every day. Just spend a good ten or fifteen minutes browsing around, and throw whatever you want to listen to in a playlist. Or, you could spend a whole day doing a deep-dive—just don’t wear yourself out, okay?

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »