Streaming music sites for discovering new artists.
May 18, 2012 12:26 PM   Subscribe

I want to discover new artists by streaming music.

I've tried Pandora and Spotify, but it seems like the same artists are played repeatedly, and I'm entering the severely diminished returns phase. It doesn't help that a lot of what they suggest based on my preferences is crap. (Like, you like Cheb I Sabbah, you must like ALL insipid New Age electronic music with "exotic" vocals.)

My taste is pretty eclectic, but things I don't like all that much are (a) party hip-hop, (b) insipid pop music, (c) whiny-vocaled indie. Hip-hop, pop, and indie themselves are fine. So are blues, classical, electronic, folk, country, etc... I also like to listen to international music, especially stuff that incorporates local musical traditions (I adore molam, shidaiqu, old-fashioned enka, etc). In general, overall quality of the music is much more important to me than the genre it belongs to.

Maybe what I need is more on the lines of a good internet-streaming radio station, or podcasts? Nothing is more frustrating than when the group/artist isn't credited and I really like them and can't find out more about them, though...

Complications, maybe: Can't install programs on the work computer.
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
posted by John Cohen at 12:28 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hype Machine
posted by livinglearning at 12:31 PM on May 18, 2012

And by that I meant- Hype Machine

Don't bother clicking on the first link...
posted by livinglearning at 12:32 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like a lot.
posted by mean square error at 12:34 PM on May 18, 2012 [5 favorites]

I have had very good luck with for finding new artists. I choose the station for an artist I know, and when I hear a good song that I'm not familiar with, switch to that artist's station. The algorithms are based on the listening habits of other users, and they have an extremely diverse library of music.
posted by helicomatic at 12:35 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like KCRW's Eclectic24 stream.
posted by zsazsa at 12:39 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sift through MixCloud, including the World category.
posted by prinado at 12:58 PM on May 18, 2012

I've also found Stereomood to be an effective and clever way to discover music.
posted by prinado at 1:03 PM on May 18, 2012

I've found the various NPR programs/podcasts to be good.
posted by inigo2 at 1:17 PM on May 18, 2012

Seconding/thirding as fantastic, and the radio function as much better for music discovery than spotify. Install the Chrome plugin and you'll get access to a lot more of the library, as well ...
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:24 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I spend a lot of time just listening to talk radio and the bubblegum pop from my kid years and classic rock from before I was born, so I don't know if the hoopy froods at Radio Paradise are what you're looking for, but their selection is worth a whirl.
posted by tilde at 1:31 PM on May 18, 2012

I think the OP already knows about, since the OP's profile lists the OP's account.
posted by John Cohen at 1:42 PM on May 18, 2012

I've discovered a lot of new artists via This Is My Jam. It's user-centric rather than genre-centric, so you don't look for genres to follow but rather users that have tastes that appeal to you. Users periodically post one song (they can only have one song up at a time), and you can play all the songs from people you follow.

It's a nice break from the firehose of search results and auto-generated recommendations. There's a MetaTalk thread where MeFites have posted their usernames.
posted by ignignokt at 2:02 PM on May 18, 2012

Some buzz about lately.
posted by spanishbombs at 2:25 PM on May 18, 2012

Didn't realize I could listen to without the widget (which doesn't work on my work computer), and had never heard of This Is My Jam. All the other suggestions are great too. Keep 'em coming, if you've got more!
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:52 PM on May 18, 2012

New Sounds is an amazing show on WNYC (and available online) that is well-curated and focuses on new music, often with international artists who have not yet reached the US in other ways. It seems from your description of genres that it might be a good fit.
posted by judith at 4:28 PM on May 18, 2012

Another plug for

Among other ways to "hack" it:

- Try multi-artist radio. For example, if what you like about cheb-i-sabbah has more to do with how it messes with raï than how it sounds fusion-y, you might try a station with DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Cheb Khaled, and Rachid Taha, in order to get results more to your liking. (Actually that sounds so good, I'm going to fire that up!)

- Give it enough data to get to know you. The recommendations engine is pretty good, but I've found over the years that my recs actually keeps getting better, the more I listen. (Especially compared to Pandora.)

- Use the friend finder to add people from your social networks to your friends on Then fire up Friends Radio and hope you know people with good taste!

- Look for interesting tags. For example, you might enjoy the "maghreb" tag radio.

- Join interesting groups. These are a bit less reliable than artist radio or tag radio, but sometimes you stumble on or two groups that seem to collect people whose collective taste makes for really interesting listening. Also, the algorithm for group radio emphasizes what's unique to that group, rather than what's popular in the group, so even if the weekly chart mentions Coldplay or something, you might still get a solid hour of really interesting stuff that isn't that at all. (For example, see the contrast between the main chart and the unique artists here.

But yes, on the whole, I find way more fun to play around with than Pandora. Spotify is best for listening to entire albums or making playlists for friends. But for music discovery and the serendipitous feeling of finding just that right mix of familiar and new that doesn't have to be fiddled with all the time, is pretty great.
posted by jann at 8:37 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Eep, sorry for all the typos!)
posted by jann at 8:39 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, combining Spotify with improves the functionality of both for me. The app for Spotify suggests whole albums that I generally enjoy, while adding all the data of what I'm hearing on Spotify to my charts improves my recs. (You can also chart plays from Thisismyjam on your charts.)
posted by jann at 8:42 PM on May 18, 2012

Browsing through different tags on bandcamp has led me to some really interesting things.
posted by speicus at 9:12 AM on May 19, 2012

posted by northxnorthwest at 2:54 AM on May 20, 2012

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