Music Discovery Services

My personal preference was to discover new music based on recommendations from previous purchases or my library content, rather than listening to the radio. Or I would be watching a TV program (e.g. So You Think You Can Dance) and hear a track and absolutely must have it. Its time-consuming to find new music, so more and more I’m using recommender systems for discovery. There are so many options available now to discover music, its hard to decide which one is best for you. I’ve used Shazam in the past for recognition and just signed up for This is My Jam to follow what my friends like and Noon Pacific (because who doesn’t want handpicked music recommendations delivered by email!).

(Note: For music within an academic context most academic libraries offer a music library portal or music subject guides.)

Music curation and discovery is shifting from computer-generated algorithms back to including human recommendations and integrating social media and sharing within music streaming and radio services. The article Human Editors Are Returning To Music | FastCompany discusses services Pandora, iTunes, NPR and Rdio in this context.

There seems to be no end to the options for music streaming services, offered offline, online or as apps, free, freemium or subscription-based. Some services put social discovery at the forefront, rather than streaming. Here is a non-comprehensive list of music discovery and streaming services, with emphasis on discovery. Some of these services, such as Pandora (only offered within the U.S), have restrictions based on country.

  • Free. “Finds music from music sites all over the web.”
  • 8tracks. Sign up for free. Internet radio created by people not algorithms.
  • Accuradio. Free. Also free mobile app.”Internet radio crafted by music lovers.” 600+ free Internet radio stations.
  • Amazon MP3. Shop 20+ million songs. Recommendations and Discover Music services.
  • Free. “Random music to make you happy.” Music published on blogs courtesy of
  • Free. “Internet radio made social – free music streaming and sharing.”
  • Deezer. Free basic account (ads, restricted listening, discovery only) and subscription (no ads, mobile requires subscription). 180 countries – not in the U.S. “Discover, enjoy, share the music you love.”
  • Earbits. Free online radio. Connect with bands, support artists. No Top 40, no ads. Awesome “About Earbits” video.
  • Google Play Music. “Discover, play, store and share.” Only available in a few countries (not Canada). Google Play All Access subscription service coming soon.
  • Groove. Remixes your music library based on listening habits.
  • Grooveshark. Free basic account. Paid subscribers have access to cloud storage. 15+ million songs, 35+ million users. Listen to music online. Grooveshark Community and recommendation application. Full-featured.
  • Hype Machine. Free. MP3 blog aggregator.
  • iTunes. Also iTunes Genius for playlists, mixes and iTunes Match subscription for cloud storage. Apple Internet radio announcement coming soon (WWDC June 10-14).
  • Jango. Free Internet radio and on mobile that “plays what you want.” Simple. Search by artist. “Making online music easy, fun and social.”
  • Free and premium subscription. “Personalised recommendations based on the music you listen to.” Requires Scrobble plugin.
  • Live365. Free (with ads), 5 day unlimited with signup. 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions. Network of 5000+ radio stations, 260+ genres. Personalized recommendations. Create your own Internet radio station.
  • liveplasma. Discovery search engine for music, movies and books. Search results are browsed using a graphical interface.
  • MOG. “Music On the Go.” Find, play anywhere, share with friends. Listen for free with ads (basic account). Subscriptions for unlimited music and no ads. U.S. only. 16+ million songs.
  • Musicovery. Free. Graphical interface Internet radio. Music by mood.
  • Noon Pacific. Free. Weekly playlist of the best songs handpicked from the best music blogs. Email delivery.
  • NPR Music. Web portal. NPR Music Radio for continuous music streaming. Social media integration.
  • Ohmytracks. Free. “Uses Last.FM to create a better user experience by offering you music that matches your tastes.”
  • Pandora. Personalized Internet radio. Free basic account, subscription for premium. Full-featured. Only available in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
  • Free. Handpicked radio. Counterpart to U.S. only.
  • reddit Music. Web portal and forum. Listen and share. radioreddit. Free. Tunes are voted on.
  • Rdio. Discover (following friends, tastemakers, critics and artists), collect and share. 14 days unlimited trial. Up to 6 months free on computer. Subscription required. Many devices and full-featured.
  • Rhapsody. “More than just Internet radio.” Follow members, artists interviews and reviews. Full-featured. Subscription required. 16+ million songs. U.S. only.
  • seevl. Semantic music discovery plugin for Deezer and YouTube. Free.
  • Shazam. Music recognition app. Share to Facebook, Twitter and email.
  • Free. An audio magazine made by music blogs. “Channel surf the music web through thousands of music sites and blogs, curated by tastemakers who filter the music information overload.”
  • Slacker Radio. Free. Subscribe for commercial free and offline listening. “The Best Music — Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device.” Curated by 200+ experts. 10+ million songs. Highly customizable.
  • Songbird. Free. Connect artists and fans. Handpicked YouTube playlists.
  • Songza. Free. Curated by music experts. Choose to customize music by day, time and situation. No listening limits.
  • SoundCloud. “The world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.” Distribution platform for artists.
  • SoundHound. Music recognition app. Also identifies by songs you sing or hum. Share and bookmark.
  • Spotify. Free and premium accounts. Desktop application. 20+ million songs. 20+ million users = many “eclectic playlists.” Full-featured.
  • Stereomood. Free. Turn your mood into music.
  • This is unique. Meet people through music – a music-based online dating service.
  • Torch Music. Free. Create online music collections with your friends.
  • Twitter #music. Truly social music discovery.
  • This is My Jam. Free. Music handpicked by your friends.
  • TuneIn. Free. “…the world’s radio station.” 70,000 stations. Multiple devices and connectivity in cars, televisions, etc. Social media and favourites integration, linked playlists.
  • Free. Share music interactively, play music together using “rooms”. U.S. only.
  • Whyd. By invitation. Keep, play and share tracks.
  • Xbox Music Pass. Previously known as Zune. Subscription required. Xbox 360/Windows devices only. 30+ million tracks. SmartDJ to create custom stations.
  • YouTube Disco. “Find > Mix > Watch.” Find by artist or song.

You may also like:

Slacker Radio Wants to Redefine Top 40 Music Charts by “Engagement” | Gizmodo

Why it’s still hard to discover new music online (and how we can fix it) | Digital Trends

100 Ways to Discover and Enjoy Music | DailyTekk – April 16, 2012