The music industry is constantly changing and expanding. Between all the opportunities people have for getting noticed, it’s no wonder that it’s such a huge industry. At the same time, music lovers are constantly trying to find new things to listen to. In fact, some of the same ways that help bands make it big can help you find some new favorites you’ll love. Check out these tips to find new music you won’t believe you haven’t heard before.

1. Take Advantage of Social Networks

There are several ways you can make this work to your advantage. One is through finding people with similar interests. If you go to the Facebook page of your favorite artists or band, you can see what you and that page have in common, such as friends of yours who like that page. Click on someone. See what other music they like. If you see some more similarities, check out any musicians they like that you haven’t heard of or listened to. Chances are if you like similar music they’ll have discovered something you’ll really enjoy.

Alternatively, you can look at what other pages the artist you listen to has liked. A lot of times bands (especially smaller ones) will like bands that they support or have played with. This is a great way of finding small, local bands.

2. Online Radio

Online radio websites, such as Pandora, have become extremely popular recently. You can make a station by typing in your favorite song, artist, genre, etc., and Pandora will play songs it thinks you’ll like accordingly. When you hear a song you like, give it a thumbs-up on Pandora. You can go back and see songs you’ve liked, and go check out more by that artist, or even make a station from them on Pandora as well.

The best thing about Pandora is that, although you can pay for the premium, ad-free service, the free version is no longer limited to 40 hours a month and the ads are not too frequent.

3. Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube

These are all great services that can help you find new music. Spotify is a music streaming application where you can search for a song and then listen to it. Like Pandora, you can pay for premium, but the ads on the free version are not too bad. Possibly one of the best things about Spotify is you can connect it with Facebook and see what your friends are listening to, then check that out for yourself.

iTunes has several ways that you can find great, new music to enjoy. The most obvious way would just be to look at their top charts. You can even specifically search top tracks with a category, such as country music, or R&B. iTunes’ Ping will also feature new artists, which is a good way to find people who are just starting out. Or, you can just search for an artist you like, click on an album of theirs, and check out the “Listeners Also Bought” section below.

YouTube can also be a great place to find new artists. Because anyone can record videos and upload them, there are so many people to be found on YouTube. Unfortunately, for the same reason, you sometimes have to weed through a lot of stuff that is not so good. But a lot of artists who now have recording contracts and/or albums were discovered on YouTube (Christina Perri, for one). You can search for covers of popular songs and start there, or you can find a video you like and click on the recommended videos on the side. There’s a lot to be found on YouTube if you really look.

4. Keep Track of Tours

Live band.

Pay attention to when your favorite artists go on tours. If they’ve recently come out with a new album, there’s probably a tour coming too. Now, check out the tour information. Even if you can’t go to the show, take note of who the opening band or artist is, because you’re going to want to check them out. A lot of times bands will have openers who are smaller or just starting out, so they may be unsigned or not have any videos up on YouTube. But keep an eye out for them. There was a concert I saw in September of 2011 where the opening band absolutely blew me away. I tried to look them up the next day, but they were unsigned, had no songs released, and not a single video on YouTube. But I looked them up every so often, and eventually I found out in January of 2012 that they were coming out with their first album the following April. It’s one of the albums I’m most looking forward to this year, and I never would’ve found them if they hadn’t opened for another band I like.

5. Small, Local Venues

Whether you live in a huge city like LA or a city that’s not even a tenth of that size, checking out the small venues around you can be a great way to find local bands. Find the best local venues and check out their events. Even if you haven’t heard of the bands, look them up on YouTube. If they sound even remotely interesting, check out the concert. Often times these smaller venues will only be between 5-20 dollars.

One of the biggest advantages to local venues is that if you find a local band you absolutely adore, chances are they’ll be playing near you frequently. Take advantage of it!