Recently we launched Digital Digging, a new series dedicated to finding the hidden music gems on the Internet. I learned finding great new music is not a difficult task, but perhaps a bit time consuming. Especially with all of the conventional mainstream methods, pumping the hottest music of the moment straight to your mobile devices in only a few clicks. However with a little will and time, using the Internet you may find a great tune that wouldn’t have been in your library otherwise. In this article I will highlight some of our favorite sites that make indie music discovery easy!
I personally listen to music the most while writing on my laptop. With that being said all of the sources mentioned below refer to their standard website options. No mobile or native applications were used!
By far the most popular site for just about anyone having anything to do with music, SoundCloud, provides mainstream and budding stars alike an outlet to reach potentially millions of new fans. SoundCloud gained popularity by its simplicity and intuitive design, there’s only a few buttons on their menu bar. My favorite being the explore button, which allows you to discover either by genre or what’s trending. Signing in or up is only required if you wish to upload audio (or follow artists), which is a win-win for artist and fans alike. Although a lot of popular artists are on SoundCloud, it’s still one of the best sources for indie music discovery.
Not as popular as SoundCloud, Audiomack is still a great source to discover music. If you like hip hop, r&b, or electronic music then Audiomack is for you, being those are the only genres they cater to. The menu bar on this site is a little cluttered for my taste, but that’s easily overlooked when it comes to music. The best way to use Audiomack is to hit trending and go through the tracks until you see an artist you never heard of.
Another one of my favorites for music discovery is Bandcamp, although the design requires a little work on your part, the effort is worth it. Exploring for new music is sorta weird, it’s a small box placed in middle of the site. You pick from one of the many genres and then can further sort by best selling, staff picks, etc. Although a little tricky to get used to, a majority of tracks on Bandcamp are from unknown artist. I’ve found many diamonds in the rough here.
While ReverbNation is popular among many well-known artist, there are plenty you may have not heard of on here. The site is easy to use and discovering music is a breeze, and on an artist page there is recommendations on other artists you may like. Some songs on ReverbNation are only clips, but once you find a song you can always look it up on YouTube. ReverbNation is a must-use in any fans’ directory.
If you want the guess-work taken out of finding great music then TheSixtyOne is for you. Turning indie music discovery into a game was a great idea. There’s a quest related to music you can complete, there’s great ways to find music such as by mood. The best part of all is the community decides what is hot, TheSixtyOne gives new artist a way to get heard based off of their music and not their popularity.
Another fun way to find music is Wonderwheel. You search for an artist and similar artists are recommended in, well, a wheel arrangement. The layout makes it simple and fun to find awesome tunes, a lot of the artists are popular but after sometime using Wonderwheel a few hidden gems pop up. One downside to Wonderwheel is the fact that the tracks are just clips, but as mentioned earlier once you find a new artist it’s easy to look them up on the web.
This site is ugly to say the least, but what The Hype Machine lacks in looks it makes up for in music. Finding new music is the main focus of The Hype Machine as it pulls music from blogs all around the web. An easy way to explain it would be the StumbleUpon of music. There are plenty of ways to refine music searches on The Hype Machine, of course I usually just stick to a genre and choose whatever pops out to me. Since The Hype Machine pulls music from blogs there is a great mixture of both mainstream and underground artist, it would surprise me if you cant find new tunes using The Hype Machine.
I always have had a fascination finding new music, and I’m the one who usually hears songs months before they go mainstream. With the sources mentioned, as well as our new series, you too will be able to hear the songs before they blow up. If you have a different favorite site that helps you with indie music discovery on let us know in the comments below.