How to Discover New Music and Underground Artists Online

There is an overwhelming amount of talent on the Internet that you won’t be able to find anywhere near iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify or Pandora. That’s because this talent is emanating from underground artists: independent, unsigned folks who are putting their work out there but have a limited scope.

SoundCloud is always the starting point to find indie artists, but other ways to find new music. | Photo: dennizn / Shutterstock.com
SoundCloud is always the starting point to find indie artists | Photo: dennizn / Shutterstock

Last year Khamosh Pathak wrote on Guiding Tech about the fall of Grooveshark, a now defunct service that was once a breeding ground for underground music. The legality of the site was highly questionable since users also uploaded copyrighted music and that is what ultimately led to its downfall. But as a result, we were left without a decent source of new indie music for years.

Times have changed though as they always do. Savvy businessmen have realized there is always going to be a demand for underground music. It’s one genre that never goes out of style because it was never in style. Yet we all have at least one friend that swears by undiscovered talent.

SoundCloud is The Go-To

The best way, but certainly not the only way, to find independent artists right now is through SoundCloud. SoundCloud is a go-to for anyone not only looking to discover underground music, but upload their own creative sounds and songs.

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When you sign up for SoundCloud and start playing and liking various songs, the Discover tab will begin intelligently recommending other songs for you to check out. You can also follow artists you like so you’re always aware of their new content as it shows up in your feed, save songs and create playlists.

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For $9.99 per month, SoundCloud Go ditches ads, lets you listen offline and unlocks access to some music from signed artists as well — though not nearly as much as Spotify or Apple Music. It’s the perfect streaming service for fans of underground that still enjoy the freedom to listen to more recognizable artists as well.

SoundCloud Go is the perfect streaming service for fans of underground music.

Support Artists on Bandcamp

Bandcamp takes a love for indie artists to the next level. Here, artists can upload their work and even full albums. Fans around the world can directly support artists by paying for this music through Bandcamp, as if buying an album put out by a record label. Bandcamp says it has paid artists over US$167 million total since its launch.

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You can discover artists on Bandcamp just by checking out the new and notable section, browsing genres or following who you want to keep up with. You get a customizable page to showcase your collection of music as it builds over time.

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Bandcamp has paid artists over $167 million.

To create a fan account on Bandcamp, you first need to buy something on the site — anything — to show your interest in directly supporting indie artists. After that, you’ll get an invite to sign up.

The New Kid on the Block: BitTorrent Now

A terrific last alternative is BitTorrent Now and it’s pretty new to the scene. BitTorrent itself has been around, but the “Now” part of that forms a tremendous web and mobile app that centers around the discovery of underground music.

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Like everything else, you can browse to discover artists, get recommendations and follow your favorites. BitTorrent has a fantastic UI and unique options for supporting artists. Rather than just buying albums, you can instead subscribe for or buy “bundles” of content that can be artists’ video, audio, text and more.

Support artists on BitTorrent Now by paying for or subscribing to their bundles.

An artist might want to put out two songs for free, but to access the rest in the bundle, you’ll either have to pay or, more commonly, just subscribe for free with your email address to receive updates.

Stay Active Underground

The best way to discover the most underground music is to truly stay active and keep yourself involved. Join SoundCloud, Bandcamp, BitTorrent Now, all of them. Always browse, like and download music so your recommendations get even smarter.

More importantly, get friends interested in indie music to join these great services so you can share recommendations with each other and become more eclectic with your tastes.

ALSO READ: Top SoundCloud Alternatives to Get Your Music Heard

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