Music has become just as easy to create as it is to share. While it used to be the case that to record some quality tunes, you needed access to some pretty expensive equipment, and then distribution was another problem altogether. Now, all you need is a laptop, a software program or two, and a decent enough microphone. Anybody can make music in the comfort of their own home, and as a result, talented musicians the world over have been given a way to realize their visions like never before. It can be a bit overwhelming, too. Sure, every major label has a nice advertising budget and the means to put their acts in front of just about everybody’s face. But how does one go about finding all the great music that’s flying under the radar? Discovering the newest independent act can be sort of a challenge, so we’ll talk about the five best ways to rustle up some quality indie tunes online.
1. Blogs & Online Magazines. From Pitchfork to Drowned in Sound to Stereogum, there is a huge portion of the Internet dedicated to following independent music, from underground hip-hop to European death metal. If you’re looking for something more raw and rare than what’s on the radio, then surfing the blogosphere is a great way to start. Even Pitchfork, which ranks among one of the most reputable online music publications, still makes sure to pay attention to acts at the very fringes of music.
2. Twitter. Follow your favorite bands on Twitter! It’s a very intimate way to interact with a musician, and many of them talk with their friends and mention the music that they’re listening to. There’s no better way to keep your ear to the ground musically than by following the exploits of people as plugged into the scene as your favorite bands or artists.
3. Spotify, iTunes, etc. Sure, they’re overrun with mainstream acts and the latest One Direction single, but the most mainstream music services are picking up more and more independent acts. From Southern California guitar rock to european ambient electronic music, more and more indie acts are featuring their music on sites like Spotify, which is also a great way to get recommendations based on what you’ve already listened to.
4. Last.fm. For an online music discovery experience that’ll top just about anything else, Last.fm is a wonderful tool. It developed right alongside Pandora and uses many of the same principles — you can pick an artist or a song, and listen to a “radio station” that will stream random songs based upon it. But Last.fm takes this idea one step further by creating a profile where you can record everything you ever listen to. The site will then give you recommendations based on your tastes, and you can make friends based on your music compatibility.
5. Social Media at Large. Last.fm can integrate with just about any social network, and even if you don’t use that particular website, it’s never hard to ask your friends about their top artists of the moment.