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If you love music, but just aren’t satisfied with the same old tracks from a beloved band, don’t fear. There are plenty of opportunities to find new musicians that fit into the genres you already love.

But why keep returning to the same Pandora and Spotify stations? The world of musical discovery is quite a bit bigger than that. Keep reading to learn about three unsung heroes in the world of streaming music.

Playlists.net

Spotify is a very popular streaming service that’s gaining ground worldwide. It has a “Related Artists” link that allows people to hear artists similar to ones they’re already familiar with, but it still needs work. There’s also a “Discover” menu that offers suggestions of other artists like ones a user plays often. That’s a step in the right direction, but it frequently falls short of being able to uncover underground acts. Sometimes, a suggested artist might indeed be similar to one you listen to a lot, yet it’s a band that’s been on your radar for years.

Playlists.net can help fill the void, because it allows users to create playlists based on particular genres or artists, and then integrate them directly into a Spotify library. The search function is particularly robust, because it allows you to find suitable playlists based on artists, songs, or genres.

In the Folk category, there are more than 2,000 options. Since the collections are user-curated, you can enjoy hand-picked gems that show much more personality than an average radio playlist. Once you get a feel for the site, it’s easy to add your own playlist or download the website’s app into Spotify to streamline your experience.

mySpoonful.com

Think of this website as an online version of your trustworthy friend who never fails to suggest amazing new bands. Every few days, mySpoonful publishes short, straightforward bios of little-known indie bands. The site gets its name because it doesn’t try to overwhelm with unnecessary details if all you want to do is get the gist of what a band’s about and hear a sample of their sound.

In addition to a self-explanatory “Why You Should Check Them Out” section, there’s a “For Fans Of…” blurb that lists a few bands similar to the new artist. Finally, each artist page links to one track you can stream for free. If you’d rather get the new tunes sent straight to your inbox, mySpoonful offers a complimentary newsletter.

Simplify your search by checking out the “Most Popular” and “Most Commented” listings on the right sidebar, or find all artists that fall into particular genres by clicking on the “Categories” links in each artist bio. Then, you can find complete coverage on mySpoonful for ambient artists or Hip Hop musicians, for example. The previously mentioned “For Fans Of…” section is extremely helpful if (for example) you love Lisa Hannigan or Fitz & The Tantrums, but have played those albums a little too much lately and want something fresh.

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IfYouDig.net

Statistics and music don’t always go hand-in-hand unless they’re related to Billboard chart rankings or Soundscan sales numbers. However, a website called IfYouDig.net aims to turn that perception on its head by using stats to help you find new music. It’s extremely easy to use because all you have to do is type in the name of a band or artist you love, and then browse through results of bands ranked in order of the likelihood you’ll enjoy them too.

Unfortunately, the site is a little weak in terms of presenting obscure artists to check out. A search for the British rock trio Muse yields statistics saying that people who listen to Muse will likely also enjoy bands like the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age, both fairly well-known bands. However, if you’re new to a particular genre, and don’t know of some bands that are considered well-known within that genre, this feature may be useful to you. To add a bit of humor to your search, make sure to check out the link that shows bands you’re least likely to love.

One cool perk of the site is that it offers a short bio of every band, along with most popular tracks and albums. This feature could be useful if you want to dig deeper into a band’s extensive back catalog and aren’t sure where to begin. There are even built-in Spotify and iTunes links to further your exploration.

The aforementioned websites should get you off to a great start in the task of getting acquainted with new bands. What you may be wondering about is whether these services will be around for the long haul, what with all of the legal entanglements surrounding streaming music lately.

Frankly, we don’t know. One thing is certain: record labels – and, yes, even some of the musicians – have forgotten that music is more about the shared experience than it is about money. Honestly, is there anything better than a great big fix of brand new music you’ve never heard before?

Don’t forget Tastebuds!

Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t also remind you that Tastebuds.fm is a great music discovery engine as well, and one that puts the emphasis on sociability. You can easily find people who are into the same kinds of music as you – and what better conversation starter is there, really?

One more thing…

Although online resources are fabulous, don’t forget to take chances by going out to see new live acts in your community. Even if you only go to see contemporary, well-known artists, they often tour with acts that are just beginning to break into the scene. This is another great way to broaden your musical tastes and discover new bands.


Daniel Faris is a freelance writer and reporter from Philadelphia. He graduated from the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University in 2011. In his spare time you can find him discussing progressive music over at New Music Friday or blogging about politics and pop culture.