Music search methods vary

Andrew Dunlap

Everyone has their own tastes in music and some favorite bands that will forever be embedded in their music collections, but sometimes people just have a thirst for new music.

You may hear a song on the radio, but lets face it, many of us try to avoid the repetitive nature and commercial interruptions found on the radio. Instead, we plug in our customized play lists from our MP3 players or burned CDs, leaving us bound to the music we know we like. The only problem with relying on our own digital music collection is what happens after you have exhausted your arsenal of favorites, and your ears become bored with what they are used to hearing. At this point its time to find something new, which will give you a vacation from your over-played play list and allow you to come back to your favorites again, and hopefully have a few new favorites to add.

Here are some tips on how to go about finding new music. This process, of course, requires use of the Internet.

For those of you who use iTunes to purchase your music-not everyone reverts to Limewire and BitTorrent to pirate music-you may already be aware that iTunes suggests albums you may like. Whenever you buy something from the iTunes store, the program will have a customized section on the store home page that will have a few albums that might fit your style. Another tool on iTunes is called Genius, which includes the Genius sidebar. Whenever you play a song in your library, the sidebar will suggest things from the iTunes store that would go with the song you are currently playing. If you don’t use iTunes, there are other things you can do to find new music.

The Web site is an innovative web-based system that streams music in the form of stations that users can create and customize themselves. Start off by entering a song title or name of an artist that you like. Pandora then uses information from the Music Genome Project to play songs you might like. When each song plays, a user can select “thumbs up” or “down” to say if they like it or not. Pandora keeps records of a user’s likes and dislikes, which helps fine-tune future song suggestions. Pandora even goes so far as explaining why it is playing each song. The Music Genome Project was created in 2000 to capture different aspects of all types of music and categorize them using over 400 attributes to describe music and uses mathematical algorithms to keep things organized. It’s a free service and all you have to do is create an account. Several devices and certain phones from AT&T and Sprint are able to use Pandora. is an online music community with features similar to those of the iTunes store and Pandora, but it goes a bit further. A user is able to install software onto his or her computer that monitors and records its users’ listening habits on compatible media players. also suggests new music, and since it is also a social community, you can check out what your friends are listening to, or find people that have the same tastes as you. If someone likes a lot of the same bands that you do, chances are that person knows of a group that you have not heard of but will enjoy.

There are other ways of finding new music that may not be as intricate, such as visiting a band’s MySpace page and seeing what bands they are friends with. is also good for this method of music searching. There are more traditional methods such as reading online and print music magazines, taking suggestions from friends and going to concerts. Opening acts are often more “up-and-coming” than the headliners and chances are you might like this new band more than the band you paid to see.

Those of you stuck in limbo with your current music selection can probably take advantage of these free tools and get some new tunes. The only downside is that you may need to get a larger MP3 player, or you may forget about some of your old favorite songs. Just look at it this way, when you find them again, it will feel like listening to it for the first time and you can fall in love all over again.