Ways to Find & Listen to Chinese Music Online

March 1, 2010 at 3:49 am (Advice, Chinese lyrics, Notes, Pinyin lyrics, Tech Tools)


Though many people visit this site looking for pinyin lyrics for songs they already know, I often get asked how or where to find new music, so much that I probably should have written this post long before now. I’m lucky enough to live in Taipei, where you’ve only got to walk past a row of stores to get a decent dose of new music. Still, I do find a lot of new music online, so it’s time I share a few ways to do that.

The Legit Ways

Free Online Radio

  • I recommend Hit FM, a popular Taiwanese station that is usually playing in all the convenience stores. You can choose from 3 streams from different regions in Taiwan, which aren’t always airing the same content. Here’s the link:  http://www.hitoradio.com/showtime/onair_2.php
  • Another radio station, KISSRadio, broadcasts from central & southern Taiwan. To access KISS online, visit http://kissradio.kiss.com.tw/index.php. The title & artist will be displayed in the bar at the top of the page.
  • Finally, there’s POP Radio. Based in Taipei, it has basically the same content as the other pop stations (and you’ll notice its pop-up radio player is identical to Hit FM’s). For POP Radio, visit http://www.pop917.com/ and click “線上收聽” near the top.

Problem: The Hit FM or POP Radio players do not display song titles (at least according to my configuration on Firefox). If you don’t already understand a little Chinese, you might not be able to catch enough lyrics to figure out what the songs are called.

Solution: Get Shazam immediately! Why haven’t you already? If you’ve never heard of it before, Shazam is an app that “listens” to songs, analyzes them, then reports back to you the name of the song and artist, and even gives you extra stuff like YouTube links. There are some similar apps out there, but I’ve found Shazam to be the best for handling Chinese (& practically any other language).  It’s now available on lots of mobile platforms and can even be linked with Facebook.


Music Charts

There are scores of music charts out there, and most are pretty easy to navigate even if you don’t read 漢字. Once you sort out which column is the artist (usually the 3-character one) and which is the title, all you need to do is copy and paste the song title into KKBOX to track down the lyrics or into YouTube to find a video. Here are a few charts to get you started:

If you’re not satisfied with these, you can also Google “新歌排行” and you’ll end up with links to plenty more charts.

Videos

  • One of the absolute simplest ways to find new music is through YouTube. It doesn’t matter what language you’re using YouTube in, I guarantee that if you search “KTV” on YouTube, you will immediately get results for Chinese karaoke videos. Furthermore, most of the results will be by Taiwanese singers and will contain traditional characters for the lyrics.If you’re looking for a specific song, just paste in the “Chinese title + KTV” and you’ll likely get the official KTV video. Not sure about the song’s name? Try the “singer’s name + KTV” with the artist’s English name or Chinese name (pinyin or characters) and you’ll find what you’re looking for. A little search finesse is all you need.
  • A more unusual way of discovering songs through videos is with iKala.TV. For those in the west who  love karaoke but have never heard of iKala, this website will be shockingly terrific. It’s so fantastic that I have a post in the works about using the site, and may post some of my own iKala content here on this blog later on. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. What is iKala, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »
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