Editor's Picks

5 best music discovery apps

Music improves lives.

That’s a bold statement, but we strongly believe beautiful sounds help improve focus, finish work, get through traffic, or enjoy time with friends and family (not to mention improving plant growth). It makes movies great, inspires the creative muse, and eases listeners through bad times while improving the good.

Bottom line: we enjoy music!

But… have you ever listened to your phone’s main playlist – even one holdings thousands of songs – and realized you’ve heard each one too many times? We often find ourselves trying to find new covers of old tunes, organize songs, and increase variety without increasing the cost.

The answer may lie with one of these five music discovery apps!

The best apps to discover new music

Pandora

Pandora

Is it a jewelry store? Is it a planet? No, it’s a popular music application!

Pandora long ago became the standard in “internet radio.” Why? The process works in a beautifully simple fashion: you enter an artist, song, or composer.

Search

From there, you’re given a list of artists, songs, and composers to choose from. Each will have their own “radio” station where you can find similar songs and other music from the same artist. For example, if you make the right decision and choose bandmaster John Williams…

JW

Clicking “Start Station” plays that specific radio station. Sit back and enjoy!

A note before moving on: Pandora’s free program works well, but limits personalized radios, includes ads, and decreases audio quality. The Pandora Plus version fixes these issues at the cost of $5 dollars a month. Pandora Premium costs $10 a month, or $15 for a family (with up to 6 members allowed, coming to around $2.50 a month per person). With this, you can search/play any song, make your own playlists, and have unlimited skips/replays and offline content.

Pandora Radio
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8tracks

8tracks

Everything has to have a gimmick…and we really like the one from 8tracks!

8tracks puts all the power in the hands of users: every single playlist was developed by listeners like you.

With 8tracks, you can enter whatever keywords you like, from artists, songs, and composers to concepts like “study” or “darkness.” Then, you’ll get tons of results from different people. This means you can search for “John Williams” and adds tags like “Star Wars,” “Instrumental,” or “Study.” You’ll receive a list of all playlists bearing those phrases.

Keys

Since content comes from others who enjoy the same music, you can go through user profiles and find even more content. Reply to playlists, save favorites, and star your favorite songs for later. The various artwork and personal song choices make 8tracks quite charming.

Like Pandora, the free version is limited by ads. To take care of this problem, a yearly subscription costs only $30, a little of $2 per month.

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Spotify

Spotty2

Spotify looks really good. Their dark theme and green tones create a smooth environment for listening, combined with a powerful music search window that includes a number of podcasts, among other things:

Search Winda

Their Premium account costs $10, and allow for:

Overall, it seems like Spotify offers the greatest tools for the user in terms of conventional music searching. However, it also comes at twice the monthly price of Pandora Plus, and four times the monthly price of 8tracks. All good things to consider.

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Shazam

SHAZAM!

Shazam’s vanilla version offers a true “music discovery” environment: it only plays 30-second clips of songs to give you a good taste of each (unless, we suppose, it has the chaotic and variable nature of something like “Bohemian Rhapsody”).

You may think: what’s the point, if you can’t at least hear the whole song? The answer is time. If you’re looking through new music, Shazam gives a solid example of two songs per minute, along with the same easy searches we’ve come to expect:

You can upgrade to Shazam Encore for a one-time price of $3 to $6, depending on where you go. The Encore version allows you to link with other programs like Spotify, where you can permanently download the music discovered with Shazam. Bonus: Apple recently bought Shazam and eliminated all the ads on the free version.

Tik Tok

Introducing: the wild card.

Tik Tok isn’t really an “internet radio” like many of the others. In fact, it’s not specifically intended for music discovery either.

So, why did we include Tik Tok?

Everyone approaches music differently, just as we learn better in different ways. While many listeners may benefit from the cut-and-dry music searches in other apps, Tik Tok’s videos and social focus create an interesting new dynamic that may be up your alley.

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(Note: Until August 2018, Tik Tok was called Musical.ly.)

Final Words

Every one of these programs has aspects that may be right for you, whether it’s the tried and tested formula, a user-friendly environment with great variety, an incredibly well-developed interface, a true music discovery program, or a social music video application. Give them a try!

And one more thing: we are not sponsored by any of these programs. We just enjoy them and we hope this article helps you find new tunes to enjoy!

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