In recent years, my musical tastes have expanded and changed a lot. This probably has some to do with getting older and a lot to do with the internet. It used to be difficult finding new music but thanks to the internet, I hear a great song that I've never heard before several times a week, if not daily.
If you're anything like me, you hate music radio. Living in the D.C. area, we have no station that plays alternative/indie music. The only station that plays any type of rock music made this decade is DC 101 and they mostly play music I don't care for, like Seether and Papa Roach. They will, occasionally, play a song I like but it's smashed between 90's grunge and a Linkin Park song. How many times can you play The Rooster, by Alice in Chains? Why would you even want to? And when they do pick a decent band to add to their play list, they choose one song by that band and play it over and over until it is no longer enjoyable.
For the most part, I never even bother turning on the radio in my car. I just plug in my phone, which has most of my music library, a Pandora app, a Last.fm app, and a number of different apps for listening to anything other than the radio. I even have an app that let's me listen to radio stations from all over the world, stations that play new, interesting music.
This brings me to my favorite websites for new music.
Last.fm is by far my favorite music related site. It has streaming radio but is so much more. It uses "scrobbling" to track what you listen to and recommend music, new albums, and shows in your area. It also has pages with information on bands and musicians which shows similar artists to those bands. I can scrobble tracks from Last.fm radio and the library of music stored on my computer via whatever media player you use. I prefer Media Monkey but Itunes and Window Media Player also scrobble. I also have a music player app on my phone that scrobbles to Last.fm automatically and an app for Last.fm that lets me listen to their radio. A lot of the other online radio sites, like Pandora, Grooveshark, and The Hype Machine, have options for scrobbling to Last.fm. There are also plugins for web browser that scrobble anything you listen to on the internet. If you watch a video for a song on Youtube, it can be scrobbled. It's all very cool. Since I started heavily using Last.fm last September, I basically know every song I've listened to and how many times. The Shins are my most listened with 461 plays. It's also got a social networking aspect where you have a profile and have friends. So you can check out what your friends are listening to and recommend songs to them. There's a lot more to it but I think I've sang it's phrases enough. Check it out. Here's my profile, if you're interested: http://www.last.fm/user/janna890
Pandora is, what I consider, the O.G. of internet radio. This is mainly because it was my first introduction to internet radio like it. It's pretty simple. You enter the name of a band or musician that you like, and it plays them and music like them. Like I mentioned above, I have an Pandora app for my phone so I can listen while driving or at work. If I'm on my computer, I use LastPandora.com which scrobbles to Last.fm. I've use Pandora less than I did in the past because they're ads are getting a bit annoying and it seems to play the same songs too frequently. Also, you are limited to the number of skips your allowed. That being said, it is still a great option for internet radio.
The Hype Machine is a more recent discovery for me. It compiles songs that have been talked about across the internet via music blogs and sorts them so you can easily listen to the newest song by your favorite band and find new bands/songs that are blogged about. It's great for finding more obscure songs that would not normally play on one of the internet sites. If you hear a song you like, you can find out who else has liked it and see what else they've liked. In your profile settings, you can set it to scrobble to Last.fm. My profile: http://hypem.com/#!/janna890
Grooveshark like Pandora, streams internet radio but it also let's you search and play a specific genre or even a specific song. It also let's you queue songs so you can create a play list of sorts. It also let's you save songs as favorites and replay them. I've only just started using Grooveshark so I don't know all the ins and outs but so far, it's a pretty good option. It only allows scrobbling to Last.fm for premium members, which is completely lame.
So there you have it. There are tons of other options out there but these are the ones I use most frequently. It's nice not to be stuck listening to the radio. There's so much music out there there. Go find some.