How To Discover Music You Like (For Free!)

How To Discover Music You Like (For Free!)

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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    4 Responses

    1. Eric Blue says:

      Update: I just discovered this one today.

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    3. jadam Kahn says:

      I have a big list of music discovery visualizations at Rocketsurgeon’s Music 2.0 Blog

    4. John Johnson says:

      I recently discovered Additune, this awesome new app. It’s free and you can download it from . They’re still in beta though, but it’s come a really long way even in the last week or so that I’ve been using it and the interface is really slick… which is probably also why it’s mac only. It’s totally replaced iLike for me, just wish they’d make their Amazon links work for the UK already!

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