5 sites to find and listen to new music for FREE

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Image: all that improbable blue/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I love music. It is, for me anyway, a perfect way to relax during a long weekend, or to keep me entertained during the long train rides. However, now people are starting to listen to new music on the Internet rather than on radio or on television, as they are now playing puerile crap that has the audacity to be labelled music. Well, all is not lost as we give you five sites to listen to find and listen to new music – for FREE.

Yes, you read that correctly. Streaming music for free. We have also made sure that our list does allow a wide variety of people to listen internationally – so don’t expect Pandora on this list as it is US-only (though there are ways around that geo-block).

We are Hunted

We Are Hunted is a service that aggregates the most popular songs across all platforms – blogs, social media, Spotify and even forums. What’s even great is that it shows off emerging artists on the homepage instead of showing popular tracks, allowing you to listen to some of the unknown artists. Most of the songs are free to listen in its entirety – you cannot download the songs, though the site offers options on where to download them.

The site also offers a way to listen to more songs from that particular artist. Click on the artist’s name or type it in the search box and you can listen to more free tracks that it has on its records. In addition you can also find songs that sound like what you have listened to.

It also offers a web application for both the iPhone and iPad. In addition, it has several other applications such as “Pocket Hipster” which uses its API to find other indie artists from your library. There is also a “Music Hunter” app for the iPad that offers another way to listen to music from We Are Hunted.

What’s even great is that this website is an Australian creation. And who thought innovation is dead? It is excellent and, personally, I use it every day.

The Hype Machine

The Hype Machine, like We Are Hunted, aggregates music blogs in one handy location. However, while both do track every song’s popularity, The Hype Machine sort of acts more like a directory or a search engine rather than We Are Hunted’s chart approach.

While free to listen, you should sign up (also free). Why? Well, it offers Twitter and Last.FM integration, so whatever song you like or listen will be posted on your Twitter profile while your song history will also get published on Last.FM. So if you happen to use Last.FM, you don’t have to fret over trying to scrobble your songs – it does it for you. In addition, you can also follow artists in order to keep track of latest songs.

One criticism has to be its library. While We Are Hunted and The Hype Machine are both affected by this due to their reliance on MP3 blogs, the Hype Machine’s library is heavily based on remixes of songs – and this could be due to the blogs it tracks. In addition, it doesn’t really push new music to you, it just makes you search.

It also has a Hype Radio application on iOS devices – and while it isn’t free, it’s a must get as it also lets you listen to music on The Hype Machine, in addition act similar to Pandora as the music is randomised.

MySpace

You’ll be surprise to know, but MySpace is a great place to find free music to stream and listen. Compared to the Hype Machine and We Are Hunted, MySpace has a much greater library of songs – thanks in part of its former owner’s role in pushing the fledging social networking site into an entertainment portal.

Its library is contains a lot of major-label artists – so you’ll most likely find it for free on MySpace rather than the other two; but incidentally also contains a hefty collection of indie bands. It would also surprise you that most of the songs, even entire albums, are free to listen – and you don’t need a MySpace or Facebook account. And yes, they are from major labels – which is a shock in itself. Like the other two, you cannot buy the songs – but who cares, many times you only listen to the song once or twice a day.

If there is one criticism, I would say it has to be how the music is played. Unlike The Hype Machine and We Are Hunted, the music player is its own window rather than being at a fixed position on the site, allowing you to browse while also showing the player’s controls. At least its better than having it auto-played on a profile page that would take its time.

GrooveShark

GrooveShark is an interesting service in that it does not have its own library of songs, rather relies on songs that have been uploaded to its servers. But wait? If it is uploaded by the users, isn’t that not legal? According to GrooveShark, the company pays royalties to the songs that its users uploads – via ad money and subscriptions with additional features. However, the core part of the service – search and streaming music – is still free.

GrooveShark also takes inspiration from Pandora – it has a “radio” feature, selecting tracks from its library. There are several genre-based preset “stations”, while you can also find an artist and turn “radio” on in order to find similar music to that particular artist. Design-wise, the ads are somewhat in an annoying position – in that the ads are on the right hand side, fixed there.

The service also lets you listen to songs on your mobile device and desktop rather than the web. However, in order to get those features, you will need a subscription. In addition, iOS users are not able to get the application unless they jailbreak their phones.

Thesixtyone

Thesixtyone is a music streaming service that has a specific focus on new musicians. Named after US Highway 61 – which, apparently, has some deep connection to the American music scene, the service has two components – a radio-esque section where it plays random tracks from its library, and an option to search and listen to specific songs.

Its focus on new artists could be a detriment to the service, but it does introduce you to musicians that you would have not heard. While some of these new artists have made it big – such as Mumford and Sons, the artists were found here. In addition, you can also tip the artists and purchase the songs or even albums from the site. It is essentially iTunes, but with the option to listen before you buy.

Apparently, its design resulted in some backlash. While I haven’t seen the old design, the current one is sprouts out facts about the band – and that is good. It’s always nice to know information about the band.

Have we missed any that we should ought to add on this list? Go comment below!

Join the Conversation

  • Wow…really nice sites for listening music. I really like it. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tom W

    Google Music is in beta now which allows you to upload your local library (or just up to 20gb of it) to Google’s Cloud and stream it anywhere. Registration is currently restricted to US-based IP’s only, but you can use a proxy and an invite should be sent within a few days.

    • I got in via proxy. Very funny how Google doesn’t check account country and relies on sign-up IP.