Skip to content

searching for music online.

March 8, 2014

Searching for variety: Emusic, Pandora, Youtube, Reverbnation, CMJ, Tunefinder.

Note:  I am NOT a paid affiliate for any of the services/sites I mention. 2. With the exception of emusic, all the sites I recommend in this post are free to use. 


Although I have LOTS of music on my hard drive and ipods, I sometimes feel the need to search for music I have not heard. I have a subscription to a company called

They have various payment plans. Most months I am on the cheapest plan, which is $6.49/month. Unless I change my plan, I am billed that amount each month. If I do not use that money, it does not roll over, which is too bad. Some months, I lose money. That is the downside of being a member of a subscription service.

Otherwise though, emusic is mostly good. Excellent selection and cheap prices. For subscribers, songs usually cost 49 cents or 79 cents, which is cheaper than songs on, which tend to be 99 cents, or songs on iTunes, which can sometimes be over one dollar. I don’t mind spending over a dollar for a song I really like, but would prefer to save money.

Sometimes emusic has some glitches, and there are some things on the site I find frustrating. However, I find it good enough to use to do music searches.

Once I’ve found out about a band, I often go to emusic to see if I can find the band there. Emusic only has 30 second samples of songs, as compared to itunes, which has samples that last a minute. If I find an interesting album on emusic, I will try to find songs the songs on youtube, so I can hear the whole song before buying on emusic.

Emusic has one feature I quite like. If I look up a band, I will be shown related artists. If I look up an album, I will be shown albums by related artists.

I haven’t checked in awhile, but last time I checked, emusic offered many songs for free, as long as you are a member. They have a certain section for free downloads.

Music Magazines.

Magazines such as PROG, Rolling Stone, Under the Radar, Guitar World, Relix, and Filter can be useful. I go to the library and read music magazines to find bands to look up. That is one way I find out about various bands.


I listen to Pandora internet radio sometimes.  Pandora is free, if you don’t mind ads and commercials. I pay $36 a year because I hate visual ads and audio commercials.

I create stations on Pandora by choosing a particular band. Pandora then selects music by various bands that are similar to the one I’ve chosen. This can be very interesting, and is a great way to find bands I’ve not previously heard.

Pandora is frustrating though, because the site limits the amount of times per station that listeners can skip songs. Let’s say I’m listening to a particular station I’ve created, and don’t like 3 songs in a row.. and hit the skip button.  After the 3rd skip, a message pops up saying I can’t skip any more songs on that station for awhile. I’ve created MANY stations on Pandora, some similar to each other, so when I run out of skips on one station, I just switch to another one.


There’s a site for new, sometimes  un-signed bands (bands without record contracts) called Reverbnation, I get weekly emails from this site. Each one features 5 new artists. It is possible to download songs (legally) for free on Reverbnation.


Back in the ’90’s, I often bought copies of a magazine called CMJ New Music Monthly. CD samplers came with each issue. CMJ stands for College Music Journal, if I remember correctly. I was a volunteer broadcaster at a college radio station at the time. Volunteers at the station got together to figure out what new music belonged on various charts. We sent the charts into CMJ, which would keep track of the hottest new independent music across the country.

As far as I know, CMJ is no longer in publication, but they have a great website. You can sign up to get free music samplers via email each month. Many genres of music.


Youtube is also a great resource. There are tons of full-length albums on youtube. Also, if I am considering buying a download of a song after hearing a sound sample, but don’t feel quite sure, I can usually find the full song on youtube. is awesome! It is a free site, and great for looking up music I hear on my favorite TV shows, such as “The Wire,” or “Person of Interest.” Tunefinder is also great for looking up songs from movies. On this site, you will find listings for what songs are in various shows or films. Also, sometimes the listings will say in what part of a film a song was played.

For example.. I watched a romantic comedy called “Crazy Stupid Love” (not the best film, but it was ok). There was one song I liked in particular. I’d never heard it before, and wanted to find out the name of the song and what band recorded it. I went to tunefind and looked up the movie. I found this helpful listing: “Almanac,” by The Acorn: Cal drives Jessica home.

It was the last part that was especially helpful. I found the song I liked because I remembered in what part of the film the song was playing, and tunefind listed the part in which the song was playing.

Yes, I can read movie credits, which list songs that were played, and in what order, but tunefind is more helpful and specific.

I am very grateful for all these resources!

A parting thought and a request..

Unless the music is legally offered for free, please choose to do the right thing and pay for your downloads. Great bands deserve your support.

Please let me know of your favorite ways of searching for music online. What sites do you like best?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: