Stumped on what to listen to? Some sites to help you decide

Photo courtesy of Apple Photo courtesy of Apple MTV is all reality TV and no music, and you haven't splurged on satellite radio, so it looks like you're stuck listening to Top 40. Wrong. If you're reading this, clearly you have the only tools you'll need: free time and Internet access.

Judging from this music review, a lot of you seem to want to get some new listening recommendations. But it's hard to figure out what you're going to like, if you don't know even now what you're looking for. Forget iTunes and Amazon for now. Click over to these sites for massive amounts of music and insight you thought you could only dream of.


Hype M - If there's a song or artist on your periphery you'd love to know more about, enter it in the site's search engine to preview the songs and music videos, also read user comments and feedback about them. Discover a user you like (some are generated by music sites) and follow all their posts, search by most popular posts or spy on what other users are currently listening to based on geography.

Pandora - A group of musicians and technologists known as The Music Genome Project have created a database dividing music into genres, though not your traditional ones: they're specific to melody, lyrics, arrangement and even who is buying them. Create and account and stream music based on the criteria you enter. Click a box saying if you like the songs it generates or not and they'll find more similar to what you're looking for. Repeat this process for hours.

Last FM - This is a radio station you can control, with an added in social networking bonus.Type any artist you want to hear, watch their videos, see if they're touring and stumble on similar artists, and get recommendations from your friends. Peruse artist and track Hype Lists, and find other users enjoying the same tunes.

Discobelle - Who knows more about music than DJs? This blog-style site is run by a group of funny, intelligent DJs in Southern Sweden and focuses a bit more on dance and electronic music. The best part is you can download mixes by DJs around the world (tracklists included) so you can be the first to introduce new and often international acts to your friends way in advance.

Swap iPods - So, this isn't a web site, but maybe your friend spends all her time downloading. Perhaps she has all of her 2,000 CDs uploaded. It's possible her taste couldn't be more different from your own-you win in all three cases. Discover the unfamiliar or something you love and haven't heard in forever!

These sites are just a starting off point -- comment if you have any other suggestions!