The hardest part of finding good music online these days is discovering what you should look for in the first place. Almost all our old favorites are available on demand but finding good new bands and songs remains a challenge. Various services are competing to fill this need as effectively as possible, but it's a tough nut to crack.
My new favorite entrant into the field is an iPhone app from long-time MP3 blog aggregator Hype Machine. Hype Machine Radio is being sold for $2.99 (iTunes) and is worth every penny. The company says the app is "the Hype Machine evolved into a lean back, non-stop rich radio experience." It's essentially a mobile music blog browser, complete with continuos play, album covers, blog posts reviewing the songs, subscriptions, automatically personalized playlists and offline caching of the music posted by particular blogs. It's a great compliment to other music services and it's very nice looking, too.
I've been using the app to discover new music with the help of dedicated music bloggers, then listening to the full albums of the artists I like on Rdio. Hype Machine helps me find more eclectic and better-described new music than recommendation engines on Rdio, Pandora or elsewhere. I like reading the independently-written blog posts that come with the songs and have found the whole app a joy to use.
Some music services surface new music using an algorithm, but I find that all the songs then sound the same and just become background noise. Other services recommend music based on what my friends like; that's ok, but only a few of my friends have musical taste that I want to use as guidance.
Hype Machine tracks hundreds of blogs and I do wish the app helped me discover new ones better from the big list of options it offers. I also wish the app made it easier to see which blogs post something other than hipster music that so often all sounds the same.
Give me music discovery powered by people dedicated to blogging about new tunes, give their blog posts to read as well and give it all to me on my phone and I'm a happy music listener. Check it out and let me know if you have seen any better way to discover new music on the go.