Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2011 by Annat Katz
The Web offers hundreds of top quality sites where you can both listen to and discover new music and artists. Pandora and Grooveshark might be the most famous ones everyone is familiar with, but there are many other sites that offer great music for free you might not be aware of. Here’s my top 10 list of sites that offer free music streaming and music discovery.
1. Stereomood – This is by far my #1 music site. Stereomood is a free playlist-ready music streaming place that invites you to explore exquisite tracks based on the mood you’re in. The homepage is made up of a big tag cloud of moods for you to choose from; calm, happy, sleepy, lonely and in love are only a number of the vast mood options available. Once you pick a mood, a ready-made playlist appears and will start to play. You can also share each of the songs of each playlist on a variety of social networks. Beautiful design and perfect sound make Stereomood my top music choice.
2. Blip.fm – Built in the form of a Twitter-like micro-blogging service for music, Blip.fm is open to users from all over the world (as opposed to location-restricted sites) and puts a special focus on music discovery and social interaction. The homepage is essentially a feed list of ‘blips’ other users have submitted, and you can go right ahead and start blipping yourself. Simply search for your favorite artist or song and blip. You can create your own playlists, give ‘DJ props’ to users (Blip.fm’s “Like” equivalent), and follow favorite DJs.
3. The Sixty One – This music site is the most stylish one in the list, merging great music with gorgeous visuals and atmosphere. The interface of The Sixty One is unlike any other music site you’ve seen before. Each page represents a different artist and includes a full screen picture of the singer/band and automatically plays one of their songs. You can learn more about the artist by exploring the info box on the right (offering the artist’s website, recorded music and upcoming shows). Browse the artists on The Sixty One by simply clicking the right/left arrows and discover even more great music. The screen shot below is of Kori Pop.
4. Jelli – This music site has a special twist. It’s an online radio site (exclusively online), where registered users decide on the radio’s playlists -100% user-controlled radio. Each of Jelli’s channels (Red, Green and Orange, each representing a different range of music styles) is made up of a long list of standby tracks users can vote for (by clicking the V button) or against (by clicking the X). Returning users are equipped with heavier ammunition: rockets and bombs to vote for or against a selected track, respectively. In short, this site is about listening to great music, and having a hell of a time along the way.
5. Mixcloud – If you’re already familiar with the concept of podcasts you will appreciate this music site. Mixcloud is based upon the same podcast idea, and it contains a wealth of music styles and DJs for you to follow, listen to and subscribe to. In addition to the variety of music genres, you can also explore other channels including business, comedy, culture, education, news and more. Think of it as NPR’s first cousin.
6. 22tracks – This attractive music site offers free music streaming of 22 different music genres, each with a playlist of -you guest it- 22 tracks. The sound quality is amazing and you are invited to create a playlist with your favorites, and also share each of them with your social network friends. This is one of my favorite sites for music discovery, especially since all the tracks on this site are carefully curated by 22tracks’ team of professional DJs.
7. 8tracks – This Web radio service is totally free, and it offers creating, sharing and listening to user-created playlists, each comprising of eight tracks. The idea is simple and using the site is super easy and fun. Thanks to 8tracks you will undoubtedly explore new artists you haven’t listened to before. Here’s what the Jazz category looks like on 8tracks.
8. One Track Mind – Although this music blog is not a high-profile music site as the other big fish I mentioned above are, it offers a valuable service you should check out if you’re looking to increase your music repertoire. One Track Mind is the place for “music discovery, one track at a time.” The added bonus is you can listen to full tracks of new and recent releases, and download them (100% legal!) as mp3.
9. Hitlantis – I just love the innovative concept of this music discovery site. Instead of browsing lists of artists and songs, Hitlantis offers a visual experience where lots of bubbles are neatly organized by color. Each color region represents a different music genre (consult the legend on the homepage), and each bubble within that color area represents a certain artist or band. Simply click on a bubble and a mini player window will appear, offering additional info about the artist, and also showing what the user community thinks about that artist. This is a great out-of-the-box way to explore new music.
10. Music MiniFaves page on All My Faves – This fully-booked MiniFaves page offers all of the top resources I have mentioned above plus many others worth checking out. In addition to the best music streaming places you can find online, the Music MiniFaves offers top music news and magazine sites for you to explore as well as other music perks such as lyrics finders and much more.