Discovering music with new methods

MySpace was once a great way to discover free music, giving a low-quality yet free way of hearing songs off of new-released or sometimes alternate versions of songs. MySpace has lost its popularity and the radio has become less prevalent as websites like and Pandora both stole the role of music discovery. However, there are quite a few places to find even more new artists, and I would like to share them.

Lately, I have been scavenging a website called If You Make It. The website hosts various live videos, free albums (mostly demos), and a series called Pink Couch Sessions, in which the bands sit on a pink couch with acoustic instruments and play their songs live in a strong recording environment.  Along with the video of bands playing on the pink couch, If You Make It also offers a free MP3 download of the audio from the video. The sessions range from either folk, punk, or pop music, generally. My favorite sessions were done by Heathers and Bridge & Tunnel. Each free download or recommended album comes with a fairly detailed review with recommendations of other artists of the same style. I recommend downloading American War’s “Rhetoric,” it is a great folk punk album by a member of pop punk band “The Sidekicks.”

Another website I find myself at constantly is Daytrotter. Much like a Peel Sessions for indie music, Daytrotter offers on-the-spot recording sessions as a free download, oftentimes from touring bands. The website is run by the Horseshack Studio in Illinois, often offering up local bands, but generally focusing on upcoming indie bands. The songs hosted on the website give a perfect feel for what the band really sounds like at the heart. Minimalist recording and very few takes give the songs a live feel, but nice production and recording offers something that does not feel too raw for the common listener. Bands like the Mountain Goats, Death Cab For Cutie, and Vampire Weekend have all made appearances on the website. In addition to a free download of the entire recording session, Daytrotter offers a custom-painted portrait for each session along with a lengthy description of the artist.

I am not discounting either or Pandora; both are fashioned extremely well for the discovery of new artists, but If You Make It and Daytrotter both offer a new look at music and artist promotion. I recommend If You Make It for folk and punk listeners, while Daytrotter will generally favor indie artists, even some fairly popular ones.