The radio is not a bad way to discover new music. However, I’m not a great fan of listening to overplayed music. Moreover, I’d like to take a more active role in seeking out new music. Three years ago, I stumbled on a way to do that. I’m surprised that it hasn’t caught on to the mainstream yet (or may be it has and I am not aware).
I live in Canada. Pandora doesn’t work outside the United States (although you can use free VPN software to get that working). Last.fm’s radio is requires a subscription, and I went over my free thirty tracks a long time ago. Sure, there are internet radio stations, but none are entirely tailored to my diverse and somewhat bizarre taste in music.
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Jango is a music discovery service that is similar to Last.fm and Pandora. Jango enables you to create a station around a certain number of artists, and will play music by that artist and related bands. It allows you to like, love, or hate the song. It keeps finding new music according to which artists you input, and which songs you love.
When you sign up for Jango, your first move should be to Create a New Station. It’s as simple as entering up to a few artists, then playing. You can rename your station to whatever you wish to.
The beauty of Jango is that it allows you to create more than one station. Last.fm only suggests music based on what you play in iTunes. If you stumble upon a new artist or genre that really intrigues you you’d have to wait a while for the changes to be implemented and new music to be suggested. In contrast, Jango allows you to create a new station centered around a certain artist.
I remember discovering MGMT around three years ago, and starting a whole station on Jango around them to find similar music. If you find a new artist you really like, you can also edit your station preferences and add him/her/them into it.
The Jango music player is what you’ll be mostly interacting with. Most important are the three emoticons you see: clicking on the sad face means you hate the song, and it will never play on your station again. Clicking on the middle smiley face means you like the song, and it might come up again every so often. Clicking on the big smiley face means you love the song. If you click it, you can bet you’ll be hearing the song come up frequently.
Also notable are the skip button, and the Lyrics and Buy button. I’m a fan of the Artist Bio tab too, where Jango displays information about the band based on Wikipedia entries.
Alright, I’ll admit Jango’s been around for a while now. I’ve used it for two years, and I still think it’s a great specific tool for discovering new music. I reminisce on the days I listened to nothing but Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, and GNR, and also find artists like Cut Copy, MGMT, and Hot Chip.