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Best free stuff, 2013 edition: The media buff

Ian Paul, Jared Newman,Daniel Ionescu,Brad Chacos | May 28, 2013
Here are the 13 best free tools for the media buff.

When you're looking for some new tunes, check out Twitter Music, a wonderful music discovery service. The free service taps into your social circles to serve up personalized music recommendations. Twitter Music doesn't offer full-length music streaming, merely short song samples from iTunes. But you can log in with your Spotify or Rdio account to listen to full tracks.

Another great way to find new music for free is with Noon Pacific, which creates a "mixtape" of up-and-coming songs, all picked by some of the most prominent music blogs on the Web, and delivers it every Monday at noon Pacific time. The interface is dead simple: It's a list of all the mixtapes, with this week's addition at the top. Alternatively, you can subscribe via email to receive notification when new material is available.

The vastness of Netflix's library makes it all too easy to miss a hidden gem when you confront the overwhelming array of options available, especially since the service's star recommendation system can be highly unreliable. A Better Queue helps you uncover the best content by juxtaposing Rotten Tomatoes ratings with the Netflix catalog, and then providing genre, average-rating, and publication-date sorting options.

For a bit of musical fun, check out Google's experiment called Jam with Chrome. The site sports a selection of 19 instruments that you can play in-browser, ranging from acoustic and bass guitars to drum kits and keyboards. Once you get started jamming, you can switch between instruments and invite up to three friends to join your session. Think of it as a virtual garage for practicing with your band--or, just treat Jam with Chrome as the incredibly fun distraction that it is.


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