The world of music is dynamic and ever-evolving. We may miss the days walking around with our Walkman and MP3 player, but we also appreciate the convenience that technology has provided us, allowing us to access millions of songs with the simple click of a button – without having us go to a store to buy our favorite music.
The increasing access to music has made the industry very competitive, with artists scrabbling to find a way where they can be best heard and seen – which is where music discovery websites come in.
In this guide, we will look at the very best music discovery websites and services that have transformed the music scene and have become the go-to sources for discovering new music.
In just 15 years, Spotify has been able to completely transform the music landscape. The Swedish music streaming and discovery platform has over 500 million songs and is one of the best places to find amazing new music – and for budding artists to promote themselves.
Spotify offers genre-based playlists, many of which are curated by your favorite artist. You can also create playlists with other members on Spotify to increase your rotation. The service also collects your music data and updates a playlist with similar genre music and tagged artists to provide you with new releases.
In addition, the platform runs on a “freemium” model, which allows users to listen to music for free. You will need to suffer through a few ads or experience a lack of a few features but it is nothing you cannot fix with a paid subscription.
Apple Music offers over 100 million songs for its users to discover. One of its most popular methods of discovering songs is going to an artist page and scrolling to the “Similar Artists” and “Influencer” section, where Apple recommends the music of similar artists or genres. It also gives users the ability to follow artists and other members on the platform to get updates on the type of music they are listening to for suggestions.
Its feature, Apple Music Radio, is highly popular as it broadcasts the hottest global music 24/7 from the most creative artists in the industry, including Elton John, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Frank Ocean.
Pandora is a personalized internet radio service that has changed the music scene as its algorithm offers users automated music recommendations – based on a single artist name.
The platform is basically a radio station that allows you to hear music by artists and genre. Simply place the name of your favorite artist in the field, and the platform will play similar music, allowing you to listen to a heady mix of familiar and newly-discovered tracks.
Although newer music discovery websites have come into play, Pandora still has a cult following, which considers it a reliable and convenient platform for finding hidden gems in music.
The largest video streaming platform in the world, YouTube allows you to discover things that you weren’t even looking for, which is why millions of users turn to it every day to find music that cannot be found elsewhere.
YouTube does a decent job of grouping songs, artists, and genres in order to keep supplying its users with an ongoing stream of music. As soon as a video ends, YouTube will start the next one in line without prompting, allowing users to spend hours listening to great finds.
You can also make as many playlists as you want – and everything is free.
SoundCloud was launched in 2007 and caused a frenzy in the music industry as it allowed artists to upload their own content on it without the need for a record label. This proved to be one of the most disruptive digital innovations in the music industry, not just by revolutionizing the way music websites were connecting with their consumers but also considering it launched the careers of musicians like Kehlani, XXXTentacion, JuiceWRLD, Lil Peep, and Post Malone by getting them discovered on the platform.
Many of the tracks on SoundCloud are singles, works-in-progress, or B-sides, and artists use this to create a following and build a relationship with their audiences.
Bandcamp is a great platform for buying records and songs and has an amazing tagging feature that allows great music discovery. Users have the flexibility to explore unfamiliar genres or check out artist recommendations. You can also pick your own curators by following other Bandcamp users. The service also offers an expert blog to which you can subscribe to get the latest updates on the music world.
Plus, if you get overwhelmed by the many, many tags on Bandcamp, you can simply try the albums featured on the Bandcamp homepage. Users also love the Buy Music Club, which is a great feature for crafting or browsing independent music that you can buy on the platform.
If you want to discover music based on your preference, then Last.fm is a great site. The platform integrates into music streaming services and apps and gets information about your listening habits, curating a recommended list for you. Users can create unique playlists of the best music discoveries, which may be liable to get lost in the shuffle of other music platforms.
The platform has a rich catalog of music, both from popular artists as well as emerging ones. It has a thriving community of music lovers, which allows you to see what kind of music is trending, find out about new releases, explore charts, and find out about live events nearby.
Over the decades, music has evolved not just in the way it sounds but how it is discovered and distributed. The future of music is focused on how music discovery websites and services will be able to set themselves apart from the competition and how artists, both established and emerging, will be able to connect with their consumer base.
In this era of digitization and the immediacy of access among music lovers today, everyone in the music industry will have their work cut out for them, trying to capture and retain interest across music discovery websites and platforms.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships. Outside of MuzicSwipe, he hosts the weekly podcast “FULLSPEED,” which highlights conversations with accomplished entrepreneurs. Eric is also committed to supporting education through the “Eric Dalius Foundation,” offering four scholarships to US students. Keep up with Eric on Twitter,YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.