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How To Discover Music You Like (For Free!)

Submitted by on November 18, 2006 – 9:21 am 836 views 4 Comments

Over the last few years, I’d say that my musical taste has expanded quite a bit. I now listen to artists and genres that I probably wouldn’t have given a chance before. This is in large part to my Rhapsody subscription. Rhapsody can recommend music in a few different ways:

  • My Rhapsody – recommends new artists/albums based on previous tracks I’ve listened to
  • Instant playlists – creates dynamic playlists
  • Top artists per genre
  • New album releases per selected genre

  • This type of recommendation is certainly valuable. But, it is limited by the fact that you don’t have a lot of flexibility in specifying the criteria for how the music should be recommended. In the last year or so I’ve noticed a number of free services that take the concept of music recommendation and make it much more dynamic and feature-rich. For example:

  • Visualization – the ability to view a mind/concept map of artists and how they relate to each other
  • Basic Search – search by artist/genre
  • Advanced Search – search by musical preference – find new artists and songs by music tempo(slow/fast), mood(uplifting/dark), genre (pop, techno, etc), and era (70′s, 80′s, 90′s)
  • Social Recommendation – what do other users like?
  • User Feedback – the ability to flag likes/dislikes about songs. The system will adjust future playlists based on this feedback.
  • Sample Music – can you listen to a sample?

  • Update: (01/06/07) I’ve added a couple more sites based on recent discussions and discoveries. Thanks to Sean Coon for an interesting post on user rating/feedback, and pointing out Pandora. As more sites and services come out, I hope to keep this list up to date.

    Features: Visualization, Advanced Search, Sample Music

    Music Lens
    Features: Visualization, Advanced Search, Sample Music

    Features: Visualization, Basic Search, Social Recommendation

    Music Map
    Features: Visualization, Basic Search

    Live Plasma
    Features: Visualization, Basic Search

    Features: Basic Search, Social Recommendation, Sample Music

    Pandora (Music Genome Project)
    Features: Basic Search, Social Recommendation, Sample Music, User Feedback

    TuneGlue MusicMap
    Features: Basic Search, Visualization

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