The Hype Machine
A one-stop reference point for the music blogosphere, The Hype Machine collates opinions from over 1,500 music blogs and sites and lets users ‘love’ their favourites (wonder where they got that idea). THM cobbles that lot together to offer a zeitgeisty barometer of what tunes are making the music-loving regions of the internet tap their feet.
As one of the longest-standing online music recommendation engines, Last.fm comes with a whiff of 21st-century nostalgia redolent of a warm vinyl crackle for the digital age. Despite the length of its teeth, its proven ability to bank the stuff you like (called scrobbling) and seek out interesting new finds based on your individual taste has spared it being relegated to a dusty box in the internet’s well-stocked attic.
Imagine a virtual disco where each user gets to choose a rug-cutting avatar to represent them on the digital dancefloor. And now imagine it’s not the noughties. Welcome to Plug.dj, where you can assemble friends and like-minded listeners to boogie to your DJ set. The guest list takes names from Twitter, Facebook or Google, and while it’s a all a bit twee, the ability to pilfer tunes from YouTube and SoundCloud gives budding DJs free rein to mix some monster mash-ups.
Death to the record industry and its insipid outpouring of middleweight fluff. Bandcamp gives unsigned bands a platform to sell their music at their own price (often free) or to let fans pay what they want (see free). The significant database can be searched by genre or location and you can stream before you buy.
Wait! Come back! Let us explain. Myspace may have been usurped as the world’s biggest social network, but the sometime emo kids’ favourite haunt has never been toppled by the likes Facebook for its online music community. New owners (including Justin Timberlake) are playing to that strength, baking in a decent new music player, unlimited streaming and recommendations. And its 42 million-strong catalogue is certainly nothing to sniff at. No wonder Myspace’s fortunes are on the turn – a million new users signed up in February.