Music, movies and podcasts – they’re all wonderful, wonderful things that help keep us entertained, but sometimes it’s hard to find something new in the world of digital entertainment.
It’s not that there isn’t a choice – it’s just that the selection is too vast, with new stuff joining the pile every day. How do we pick out a podcast or a track to listen to, or a movie to watch, when we are faced with literally thousands of them? The answer, dear friends, is we turn to technology.
We’ve collected below the very best apps and websites for discovering great new content. Pick one (or all) and you’ll end up with so much lovely stuff for your eyes and ears, you'll never have to face an un-filled minute again!
Like a music-focused Twitter, this app lets you follow dozens of blogs like Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound to help keep tabs on the best new music vids.
Muru Music (US$free, iOS)
Like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, Muru makes you personalised playlists to help introduce you to new artists – only this time you choose two genres to journey between via a tailored selection of bangers.
The original web-based music discovery service (which started way back in 2005) now has an excellent mobile app, which sees the most popular, user-voted tracks bubble to the top of its feed.
Taste.io has an uncanny knack of recommending films that fit your personal preferences – and all by comparing them to the ones you’ve seen. Using the site’s Quick Rate option, you give movies you’ve seen one of four ratings: Awful, Meh, Good or Amazing. After rating only a few, Taste.io will start feeding you suggestions, complete with a percentage score. We were sceptical at first, but the suggestions are bang on point. God bless the magical algorithm.
Letterboxd (US$free, iOS)
If you don’t mind putting in a bit more work, Letterboxd is another way to unearth movies you’ll actually enjoy. A social network all about films, it lets you rate (and review, if you’re up for a spot of writing) films you’ve seen, and browse themed lists of recommendations from others. It’s not as active or automatic as Taste.io, so you’ll have to do much of the digging yourself, but it’s a true treasure trove of information for anyone searching for their next favourite film.
And Chill (Facebook Messenger bot)
If you’re anything like us, it takes you almost as long to choose a movie on Netflix as it does to actually watch it. That’s where And Chill comes in handy. Send it the name of a movie you love (via Facebook Messenger) and it’ll get straight back to you with a relevant recommendation that's also on Netflix.
It's struggling a little under the weight of its own popularity right now, but once we reached the front of the queue we got some great tips - Brad Pitt’s storming Killing Them Softly after asking for something like The Nice Guys, and Hoop Dreams after telling it to look for a documentary like Pantani.
Sampler (US$free, iTunes)
This podcast goes all meta on the subject, discussing hand-picked moments from interesting new shows and interviewing their makers. Some episodes also play listeners’ favourite funny moments, like a kind of ‘Now That’s What I Call Podcasting!’ compilation CD, without the Rita Ora.
Howl.fm (US$5 a month, website)
Its app might lack handy features like a sleep timer that we’ve grown used to in the likes of Pocket Casts (from US$2.99, iOS and Android), but the Howl network stands out with its commitment to high production values and original shows like ‘...Uncle Bertie’s Botanarium’. You get a warm feeling from financially supporting its podcasters too.
Laughable (US$free, iOS)
Find yourself mainly listening to comedy podcasts? This app is focused on just that, letting you search by comedian to see which episodes they’ve appeared in across pod-sphere and queue up new episodes to create a chuckle-inducing playlist. It’s very US-focused for now, but is a promising tool for finding new masters of mirth.