11 Fun Ways To Discover New Music In The Zune Marketplace

When it comes to online music stores, the Zune Marketplace is one of the best. And when you pair it with a Zune Pass, then it's definitely the best. It has a catalog of millions of songs.

Rock, Hip Hop, Jazz, Classical, World. No matter what kind of music you like, you'll find it in the Zune Marketplace.

But with so much content, it's easy to get lost. Where do you begin?

Here are 11 fun ways to get started exploring and finding new music...

1. Search

Usually search is useful only if you already know what you are looking for. But here's something else to try.

How about searching for a random word and seeing what it comes up with?

I tried searching for the word Jazz and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Zune Marketplace showed me 100 artists with the word jazz in their name. I was reminded of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince from back in the day. But most of the others, I'd never come across before.

I also found 100 albums with the word jazz in the title. Did you know James Brown has an album with the title "Jazz"? I wouldn't have thought of any relationship between James Brown and Jazz. I'll have to see what it sounds like!

It didn't stop there. It showed me 100 songs, 41 playlists, 7 music videos, 31 podcast series and even a TV show documentary.

And there are 91 social members with the word jazz in their tag too.

That's enough to keep me busy for a while! I think I'll have to call in sick for work today.

2. New Releases

The Zune Marketplace home page features new releases. I used to rely on Amazon.com for this.

But now I can just flip through these and discover some cool music immediately.

I just found Santana: The Woodstock Experience. I'm a huge Santana fan. I can't wait to check this one out!

3. Genre

Browsing by genre is probably one of the best ways to find new music you'll like.

The marketplace is divided into 17 different genres so you can immediately zoom into something that appeals to you.

As soon as I click rock I get bombarded with cool stuff! Jack White's new band The Dead Weather shows up. Need to check this one out soon.

I can also browse through all the new rock releases. I see that Judas Priest is out with a new live album. Awesome!

I am presented with items which are recommended by the marketplace music staff. I notice that there is a rock channel that I would interested in.

I also see the top 5 songs, videos, albums, playlists and artists in the rock category.

I notice there is a playlist called Road Trip Collection. Note to self: Keep this one in mind for our next long weekend getaway.

Browsing by genre is even cooler, since you can filter by subgenre as well. I can choose to see only metal and suddenly all the information changes to just show me metal music. Wow!

4. Mixtapes

Don't you just love mixtapes? It reminds me of my high school days when I would spend hours trying to create the perfect mix.

And it was even more exciting to receive a mix from a friend!

But who has the time or energy to create them nowadays?

Never fear! The Zune Marketplace comes to our rescue with hundreds of mixtapes for every occasion.

You'll find these in the playlists section. They are sorted by most played, so you can see which ones are the most popular.

I just found one titled Beach Collection. Perfect for my next trip to the beach!

Here's a better way to find the perfect mixtape. Just go back and browse by genre. Go through the top playlists and I'm sure you'll find something exciting.

I personally love the Xtreme Fitness series of mixtapes. Great for getting pumped up to pump iron at the gym!

5. Guestlists

Guestlists are sets of songs put together by famous (and not so famous) musicians. You'll find these under playlists as well.

Look for someone you like. Or mix it up by picking someone you've never heard of. And check out their favorite songs.

I just heard Avril Lavigne's guestlist and heard some great stuff! Yeah, can you believe that?

6. Breakdowns

Breakdowns are basically albums with liner notes for every song from the artist. Think of these as the deluxe edition when it comes to digital music.

I just found one of my favorites "Oceans Will Rise" from The Stills and enjoyed going through the commentary for each song.

You'll find breakdowns under playlists too.

7. Channels

Channels are a cross between a themed playlist and a podcast. You can subscribe to a channel and you'll get a new set of songs delivered to you every Friday.

You'll find a wide variety of channels. I've subscribed to the fitness run channel which gives new me great workout music every week. There are also fitness channels that are geared towards jogging and walking.

By the way, channels are available to only Zune Pass subscribers. Just so you know.

8. Top 100

The top 100 is a great place to discover some new music. Filter by genre and subgenre if you want the best results.

I especially like it to find new albums to listen to. In rock, "Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King" by Dave Matthews Band is currently number 3. Great stuff!

But you can also browse through top songs, top artists and top music videos too. You are sure to come across something that interests you.

9. Music Videos

Browsing for music videos in the Zune Marketplace is another way to find some cool music.

But it's my least favorite since I'm thoroughly spoiled rotten with a Zune Pass. And even with a Zune Pass I get to see only 30 seconds previews of the videos.

Still it's one more tool in your toolbox. So use it when appropriate.

10. Podcasts

I used to think of podcasts as just a means to get information. But I found out that it's a great source of music as well.

There is a genre under podcasts called Music. You don't have to be a genius to figure out what you'll find there.

There are some really great podcasts here. From fitness music, to dance (Paul Oakenfold, DJ Tiesto) to handbanging (MTV's headbangers ball) and tons more.

Definitely check this out!

11. Picks

Lastly the Zune Marketplace also tries to select music you'll like based on music you've been listening to.

It needs you to listen to a lot of music before it attempts to suggest anything.

In my case, I started seeing picks after over 500 plays (622 to be exact). I got recommendations for artists, songs and channels. It picked the "Rock" channel for me...Surprise!

The Zune marketplace also showed me other social members who listened to similar music.

There you have it. 11 great ways to discover new music in the Zune Marketplace. Have fun!

Oh, and the new Santana CD I discovered is awesome!

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