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Ask HN: Where do you find new music to listen to online?
90 points by digitalsanctum on Aug 17, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 98 comments
I feel like I'm missing the boat in terms of places online to find new music to listen to. What are some good websites to explore music?

Bandcamp. It’s awesome for discovering new music.

I love exploring weird micro-genres while working, so the discover feature can keep me going for days while going deep into a particular style. 19A0s dreamwave, vaportrap, Chinese traditional vs dubstep, baroquecore - it’s all there!

Neither Spotify or Apple Music allow searches by deep genre tags - ‘electronic’ is not enough - or by record label, which is frustrating as I often want to explore other artists on the same label. For example, listening to the entire Ghost Box back catalogue.

You actually can search Spotify by record label, but it's super unintuitive and I can't remember how to do it. Maybe give their docs a quick search? It's basically a hidden feature.

edit: ok maybe not so unintuitive after all, try

label:"ghost box"

then look at the albums.

You can also filter by additional metadata, like year:2019 - I often use that to narrow the results for very large labels down to more recent releases.

Neither Spotify or Apple Music allow searches by deep genre tags


also found this - https://lbl.fm

Oh this is good - thanks for the link!

Currently Wikipedia. I discovered it when I started off with 1970s American composers like Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Jon Gibson. Reading through their entries I fell down a rabbit hole that led to some really great early modular synth musicians like Laurie Spiegel, Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Orchestra and Tonto's Expanding Head Band.

Wikipedia is also where I finally caught up with Robert Wyatt, who I totally fell in love with, particularly Nothing Can Stop Us which has a wonderful cover version of At Last I Am Free by Chic.

It's a great place to find side projects too, like the eponymous album by Klark Kent, an early alter-ego of Stewart Copeland, the drummer from The Police.

In terms of more recent stuff, mostly my Spotify Friends Activity feed. I follow a few people whose taste I really enjoy, and they're constantly coming up with good stuff. I find the auto-generated lists by Spotify are either mediocre - where I feel like I'm just being pandered to - or simply bizarre.

Edit: Matt Sweeney also posts good stuff on Twitter - https://twitter.com/theheavyjamz

Discogs, RateYourMusic, Wikipedia, occasionally online publications.

New music is not limited to contemporary releases; at this point we have a vast wealth of musical history available to us, with detailed primary and secondary information constantly being added to online indices.

It can be overwhelming. Streaming services provide a convenient solution to this problem, but lack context (and often content).

The growing archive demands we build a narrative. Think of your favourite artists; who were their influences, contemporaries, collaborators? All of this information is readily accessible. Look for side projects, collaborations, interviews, and retrospective articles. Context provides innumerable clues for where to go next. A few clicks and you can find yourself in new worlds, but also understand something of how you arrived there. A small selection of well-researched artists can blossom into a constellation given time, and new music will appear in multitudes.


Their “Discover more artists.” / “Fans also like.” feature has provided me with quite a few interesting bands I didn’t know before.

Their curated genre playlists are fantastic as well.

I mostly listen to progressive metal / progressive rock and occasionally some electronic music, too.

Their algorithms and curated content work well even for those not-exactly-mainstream genres.

That hardly ever works for me. It's either "here's another artist that's like these ones, only more mediocre" or completely crazy ones, like a playlist of the album Ilana (The Creator) by Mdou Moctar, a Berber electric guitarist, where Spotify recommendations are all for Tyler The Creator.

You should check out Tinariwen https://youtu.be/WcqlOq1cjjc

I really recommend Aza (Tamazight influence from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco). I've seen them live a bunch of times. (I attended this particular performance!)



Yeah, I love Tinariwen. Interesting piece of trivia - I saw the guitarist Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Zwan, Bonnie Prince Billy, touring with Iggy Pop etc. etc. etc.) mention Mdou Moctar on Twitter a few times, and was about to recommend Tinariwen, only to discover that he'd played on one of their albums!

If you need to get in the right frame of mind for Coding here is an albums-only playlist I made that seems to do the trick for me and a few friends - https://open.spotify.com/user/j3elam/playlist/61RNVG9yeQpFBR...

Thanks - I'll check that out.

Thank you for bringing Mdou Moctar to my attention. Holy crap, that is one hell of an album, it's been on constant repeat since yesterday and I just can't stop listening!

>Mdou Moctar, a Berber electric guitarist

Holy crap, I heard this guy years ago and loved his work, but then forgot his name and couldn't find him again. Thank you for bringing this music back to me!

His latest album is incredible - there are days I have Tarhatazed on a loop for an hour or two when coding (you need to be in the right frame of mind for that to work though!)

I use Spotify but something I do not enjoy about their playlists is they redefine genres. I noticed that all of their house genres are filled with auto-tuned singers and cheap sounding music (chainsmokers, swedish house mafia). This isn't the kind of house that is played in clubs or is remotely reflective of the genre. You have to look for things like "housewerk" to find actual music that reflects the state of the art in this space that djs themselves enjoy listening to.

The same thing has happened with some rock genres, I've seen Spotify build playlists of pop bands who've taken the image/art of a hardcore/heavy rock band to create this really confusing situation where you are expecting a raw rock sound but you get a heavily produced pop sound.

I cant find these. Where can they be found? What are the search terms to be used?

The “Discover more artists.” / “Fans also like.” / "Related artists" (the exact name varies depending on the version and client used) feature currently is accessible via individual artist pages.

The curated playlists were mostly recommended to me on the home page in the Spotify desktop client but I suppose you could find them by simply searching for "progressive metal" in that case as well.

Anyway, here are the playlist links if you're interested in those genre playlists specifically:




RateYourMusic (you can see "top" charts of any genre rated by users of the site collectively, or find user-made lists) and 4chan's /mu/ board (chart threads). There's a lot of new stuff on Bandcamp that's worth checking out, but it means you miss out on older stuff and the things that define genres.

Example: top rated neo-soul albums by RYM users https://rateyourmusic.com/customchart?page=1&chart_type=top&...

Note that on every album you'll find some user-made lists along the side, which can point you to more esoteric/obscure recommendations.

As for obtaining it, you can either buy it from Amazon/ebay/wherever, search Discogs marketplace or pirate it (Soulseek, RED).

I find Spotify's discover weekly to be great for this.

YouTube with auto play turned on. Play one song you like, and more of the same genre will usually follow. YouTube has a lot of good music that isn’t available on music sites such as Spotify.

Youtube runs into islands. After a point, you are stuck in some domain of music and music starts repeating. Next time I sample a song, it very quickly progresses to songs I know and I'm back in that same island.

In my opinion, it needs a "discover" setting in autoplay where it amps up discovery and reduces chances of reaching songs I know.

This will forever be my White Whale, but I could have sworn that there was an old version of the Youtube Music app that had a radio/autoplay feature with a slider from 'very similar' to 'wildly different'. I totally overlooked it at the time but now I can't seem to find anything online about it. Such a shame because I love finding weird songs.

I can usually go a whole afternoon without songs being repeated, unless I manually choose a new song. Then I sort of end up back in the same playlist all over again. But if it were not for YouTube, there are so many good songs I would have never heard.

Oh, I agree with you! I know a lot of music only courtesy of youtube, but I can't explore the neighboring region of those songs I've repeated a number of times. Maybe it's just in how I discover in a very narrow music domain, I don't know.

Seconded. I really like the auto generated playlists, all music that I like + each once in a while a new similar song that sometimes I don't even notice until I think to myself "hey what was that nice song?".

If you use spotify and like skipping through tracks and albums this is amazing:


Thanks for this. I'm currently a Spotify subscriber but just discovered Tidal which has better sound quality supposedly.

did you do AB testing on music quality? I think if you set the HQ toggle in spotify it's really alright.

I was able to differentiate 320 mp3 to wav, but only for one song (gorillaz - clint eastwood) and I couldn't say one sounded better than the other.

Funny that you should mention that song. That's of the ones I'm using to test! Another is "Angel" by Massive Attack. I think both are decent for testing lower frequencies.

I have the premium version of Spotify and have streaming quality set to the highest setting, "Very High" and I definitely notice a difference. Not sure what you mean by HQ toggle.

So far, I've compared to Qobuz and Tidal in terms of quality. Spotify beats them both in terms of interface and discovering new music.

that's exactly what I meant - "very high".

I was also really surprised it's the lows, not the highs where I can hear it (maybe I'm just getting old...). Just a bit more punchy and clean :)

This is awesome, I'm a heavy Spotify user and really like to get a taste of completely new playlists and this is exactly what I hoped for. Thank you for sharing.

https://hypem.com/ - its a website that aggregates new music from music blogs.

bandcamp. it's turned into a bit of a community, and you can rest assured that sales go to the releasing entity (8% bandcamp fee.) as well as not shunting sales into low-return streaming.

I use it both for my musical releases and for finding new music across the spectrum.

The entities putting music on there are largely the ones making it, not some corporate entities that don't have time for fans... (itunes, spotify, all the other corporate rarified sales channels that require consolidators for even underground labels, and never deign to directly work with lowly artists LOL)

Bandcamp heartily seconded.

I like listening to their Bandcamp Weekly, a pseudo-radio show that highlights new releases. It's not as diverse as Bandcamp itself, as the DJ seems to be mostly into hybrid jazz/ambient/hiphop/world, but if you like that sort of thing, you should definitely take a listen.

I also try to go see live music as much as I can, as I often find favorite artists who are opening for the band I went to see.

I recently got tired of streaming, and started collecting music the "old" way and rebuilding my library.

Bandcamp has been awesome for this. $10 for a DRM-free album in Flac is perfect, most other services are charging double that for lossless downloads. It's a win-win that the sales go more to the artists as well.

I used Spotify for a while but was never happy with their discover playlists. When Apple Music came out I used the trial to see if their discover (New For You) playlists was better. It's far from perfect but I found it better than Spotify.

I also live in an area with absolutely garbage local radio stations and a lot of cell phone dead areas so I have SiriusXM. You have to stay away from the pop channels (including the decade-specific channels and popular rock/hip hop channels) but on the fringe channels you can find some interesting music. From the app you can pivot what you've found into a Pandora playlist.

SomaFM is also pretty good beyond their more popular ambient playlists.

I love the playlists that Spotify Personalizes. It compartmentalizes your tastes into 5 or 6 playlists and then puts in a few other songs on that vibe

Also, just letting youtube autoplay (which despite me never listening to Beck, always seems to take me to Beck)

Not what it once was, but 8tracks still has lots of good genre-tagged playlists: https://8tracks.com/

Also Spotify and YouTube.

8tracks was by far the best music discovery experience I had. Curated playlists, mostly less well known artists (or before they become popular), tagged by moods, very easy to find something you'd like to listen to at any given time. I've discovered a lot of music I like through 8tracks.

I also find human curated mood tags to be more representative than "genre" labels.

Pandora is still really good with recommendations, even for niche stuff (like specific genres of prog)

Not sure if this will help, and depends what you mean new...but SugarMegs is an incredible music site for downloading bootlegs–unreleased concert recordings–that not many people seem to know about. It seems mainly rock, but has enormous amount of jazz, blues, and all kinds of stuff, up to 2019. e.g. I searched "Jimi Hendrix 1968" and it has about 50 complete concerts! Setlist pages too, often with stories and info about the recordings. Be prepared to lose a few days of your life. Search page:


If you find something on there you love, maybe sign up[0] to the private torrent site DIME which has all that and more at the highest possible quality, audio and video. (SugarMegs is audio only, and the quality is fine, but not lossless) Everything on SugarMegs is from there.


p.s. If you find incomplete/incorrect info in set listings on SugarMegs, please send an improved html setlist page to them, they'll be grateful. I'm not affiliated, just think it's an incredibly cool site. I've found so many gems on there.

[0] Not so easy, not so hard. Then you have to keep a torrent download:upload ratio lower than 5:1 to download, so don't just download a huge file no-one else wants first up, or you will be stuck unable to get anything else. And membership is deleted after I think 2 months of inactivity.

I outsource this job to the top world DJs. Namely - I usually listen to some type of electronic music (EDM sub-genres, trance, etc.), so the last few years I've been listening to the radio shows of the top producers and djs (in a format of podcasts). That gives me a steady stream of the newest and hottest songs that have been unearthed and hand picked by experienced djs.

Aside from community radio stations and major sites like Spotify, you could try looking through slices of the record industry yourself. There's a big list of record labels on Wikipedia that you could read through[0]. They've also sorted by genre if you want to try a more targeted search[1]. Most decent labels will have a big list of signed artists and events going on.

It's been fun getting to know some of the record labels and listening through full albums. If you type in an artist name in YouTube they usually have most of the albums to sample. I've found lots of good artists this way :D




It's one of the oldest music services on the internet, being around since the early 00s. It changed a lot over time, but survived.

Nowadays, as a paying subscriber you can link your Spotify account and listen to your personal recommendations on any device supporting Spotify Connect.

And last.fm similar artists is i a huge gold mine of fantastic music. EDIT spelling

I used to say DCPP (for others I suppose BitTorrent), but it requires connections, effort, and nowadays streaming is hype, and it works.

If you want to spend minimal effort the suggestions by Spotify (just keep on playing, or select one of the 6 lists) can be good. Also, if you like an artist on Spotify, you see on the right some related artists.

YouTube has this feature as well, but make no mistake: YouTube Autoplay is garbage compared to Spotify's. Why? YouTube's too broad, and it spams you. For Spotify you get locked in a subset of genres based on your playlist. I share Spotify with my family (partner and daughter). We all have different preferences, and this is reflected in different lists.

Do note that Spotify saves everything you do there (as was in the news the other day). As does YouTube. If you desire privacy, use an offline solution.

Internet radio, especially college stations. They have the most eclectic playlists and will range from standards to songs released 10 minutes ago.

The NPR All Songs Considered podcasts can also have interesting music finds, especially when they do themed shows.

Ditto... for college stations with real DJs.

Feed URLs source (searchable; includes genres, bitrates, station URLs, location, status): http://www.radio-browser.info/gui/#!/

Weirdly, I've found TV shows to be a great place to find great artists.

Even weirder is that American Dad got me into loads of bands, from My Morning Jacket to Wax Hang to These Kids Wear Crowns. I can name a handful of acoustic artists that I got into thanks to Netflix shows like Bojack Horseman, Queer Eye, Jessica Jones, and Final Space. I also watch wrestling from time to time, and the WWE often use some good songs when promoting PPV's or building promos.

The next time you watch TV and you hear a song you like, look it up on your phone or Shazam it. You'll probably find a ton of other songs by that artist/band that you like too.

These are some resources I use whenever I want to discover new music and old, forgotten gems:

- Bandcamp. Obviously. It’s such a great and large community of listeners, enthusiasts, collectors, artists and labels featuring niche genres as well as popular, widely available releases. Whenever I browse my feed which lists new releases of artists/labels and purchases of users I follow, I have to restrain myself from overspending. It’s that good if you follow people with interesting taste. Feel free to browse my Bandcamp collection[1].

- Discogs Diving: Go to Discogs‘ explore section, select a subgenre or two, a decade and/or a country of origin. Japanese ambient and new age from the 80s? Sure. Late 70s brazilian soul, jazz, fusion crossovers? Done. Depending on how many results you receive you might want to sort the releases and navigate from popular to obscurity by using pagination parameters. In any case you‘ll like have a few dozens tabs open within minutes.

- NTS Radio. As mentioned in another comment. This is radio done right. A large and diverse selection of shows hosted by some of the most competent and knowledgeable selectors and DJs of our time offering finest human curation that is superior to any recommendation engine in my experience.

- Online record stores. Record stores have always been a great source for music discovery and that doesn‘t change when things move online. Many of those stores have curated sections showcasing new and noteworthy releases, providing background information and obviously audio samples. Some of my favorite stores are Piccadilly Records[2], Soul Jazz Records / Sounds Of The Universe[3] and Boomkat[4] (which also offers lossless, digital purchasing options similar to Bandcamp).

[1] https://bandcamp.com/michaelfeihstel

[2] https://www.piccadillyrecords.com

[3] https://soundsoftheuniverse.com

[4] https://boomkat.com

This website is pretty good http://everynoise.com. It is a giant list of genres where you can listen to short clips to see if you like them quickly.

Boomkat’s new/rec’d filters, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Aquarium Drunkard

I look at the university radio station playlists: https://www.earshot-online.com/charts/citr.cfm some schools still have these.

All of those bands will be on bandcamp or youtube, like Devours: https://youtu.be/6klgNfSsmoM or Orville Peck: https://youtu.be/q3esGD6lcMM

I mostly use Youtube with autoplay, recommendations and automatic mixes. I also use Pandora a lot to discover more of some style of music.

Sometimes there are gems on Mixcloud mixes, and occassionally I Shazam a song that is playing.

Quite often I just ask a DJ when a really interesting song is playing.

Soundcloud also has lots of interesting music and artists.

Discogs is a good service to check discographies.

I have lots of musical playlists on Youtube at https://youtube.com/peterhil/playlists

Depending on what you listen to, Bandcamp can be an absolute gold mine.

SoundCloud is still my go to. Repost feed is a bunch of noise, so typically I find an artist I like and go thru his "likes" and "comment" feed to explore from there.

Jamendo is a good platform. It has copyright-free music from talented musicians, like good talented artists. This means you can download songs for free and even use them in your online videos only if you don't monetize them. You can buy licenses as well, if you need songs for your commercials or whatever. Also, they pay artists decently. My band has profited from Jamendo in the last 3 years and we were able to pay for our last 2 albums with the money coming from there.

Currently - Spotify 'Discover weekly' mostly (there are some weeks that they match my taste poorly, but sometimes I find something that really suits me)

Also - youtube. I'm a big fan of XMA Tricking and I love watching Tricking Samplers of people - they have very often cool soundtracks.

Before spotify I was sing Hype Machine - I think it's still worth trying it out. I've found many artists before they become mainstream ones there - totally recommend it.

For me it was a promise that headphones (can't remember where I found this but I think it's still on github) should have compelled... But I never got to make it work... So I find new songs when watching series or even on YouTube.

For me the best is Radio Paradise (free eclectic radio on the internet) it's more "old" stuff than new stuff but I discovered so much quality music (and still discover new things)

I like the plain Spotify artist suggestion based on the one you're viewing, but mix it up a bit by first seeking out bands in a genre in another country then follow the suggestions from there. Example, there will virtually be no paths for people in the US to Russian artists like Mumiy Troll, Leningrad, Monetochka or Mashina Vremeni from artists popular in the US via "Fans also like".

I’ve heard a number of great bands for the first time on KEXP on YouTube.

Off the top of my head, All Them Witches, Black Pistol Fire, King Gizzard, The Murlocs.

I use Google Play & browse their new releases every couple days. Same with youtube music. I also love using Youtube Musics personal radio because it plays both songs it knows you like & stuff that's similar in a really good balance. So I don't have to skip too much stuff but it's not only throwing me stuff I've listened to a bunch.

https://wfmu.org/ - listener sponsored, free format radio out of Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. volunteer DJs are all amazingly informed about the music in their collections. days and days of archives to listen to, as well as online-only streams. highly recommended.

On r/listentothis - I made a browser extension that highlights my favorite genres https://github.com/alexadam/ListenToThis-Highlight, but I have to update it because it doesn't work with the new reddit changes

I’ve come to the conclusion the best way to overcome the algorithm is to watch open mic performances uploaded to YouTube

Yes, you’ll sometimes have performances for someone other than you but you can skip those until you find the ones you like

You’ll find there’s great music everywhere; it’s good sound engineers that are rare

Reddit. Namely the following subs. I occasionally go their all time top section and just listen to them.

- r/Music - r/trueMusic - r/listentothis - r/listentous - r/hip_hop - r/FitTunes - r/electronicmusic - 90smusic

Obviously, the above list is not exhaustive.


online radio - great djs if i hear something i like, i look into the playlist to find the artists

Absolutely. In addition to more obvious resources like Bandcamp or Spotify, NTS has become an essential discovery tool. It‘s radio done right and it works so well because it’s real human curation, done by selectors with very fine taste, instead of yet another mediocre recommendation engine.

Some favorite shows of mine on NTS are Melodies International, Organic Music with Chee Shimizu, Floating Points and Palms Trax.

I love the Do You!!! show. Great recommendation.

I've discovered some great bands through Audiotree Live


Amazon Music's "Customers Also Listened To" is terrific.

My friend has been working on a personal project to do just that! Check it out! Plug - https://plug.af/

Online radio and mixes.

NTS and “the lot radio” are in my heavy rotation right now.

Both stations have live DJs usually in 1-2 hour sets, and play a wide variety of music depending on the DJ.

To find related artists of usually similar genre it's good to look at the producers of an album and then go look at what other artists they produce

Bandcamp if you like underground stuff. Find a genre you like, find an artist you like, find a label you like, find all the other artists on that label.

Taste Kid (recently rebranded as Taste Dive) https://www.tastedive.com

SomaFM's Bagel Radio, Soundcloud, Youtube

I use Google Play, so whenever I find a song I like, I listen to a station based off that song to find similar music.

I use SpotifyCharts


for electronic music this beauty just launched: http://music.ishkur.com/

Spotify discovery and "Go to Playlist radio".

What’s good for classical, primarily string quartets?


Shoutcast and/or other online radio services.

I consistently get awesome new songs from Pandora.

I have Apple Music and like the New Fire playlist.

Redacted.ch - lots of hand curated collages.

Any tips on signing up?


Been a great source of new music for the last few years.


Reading Wikipedia articles mostly.

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