Find music you actually like in the language you are learning

This post was originally posted on Babelhut.

Photo by [nati]

Photo by [nati]

One of the great challenges of learning a new language is immersing yourself in the new language enough so that you can almost absorb it through osmosis . In addition to putting index cards up around your house, setting up your mobile phone and your computer in your target language, watching movies in your new language, or installing a new shower curtain, you can also listen to music in the language you are learning.

If you happen to like the most popular music genres in your target language, this isn’t that hard. For example a search for “spanish music” on gives you some Spanish guitar music and some children’s songs. The children’s songs might be helpful, but I’m certain this would drive me crazy quickly . Another example could be a search for “german music,” which gives a lot of folk music and beer drinking music.

This is all well and good, and you may actually like listening to the stuff you find in those searches every once in a while. But is it music that you would really rock out to? Would you like listening to it over and over during your commute to work everyday? Would it last on your mp3 player’s playlist for you exercise routine? I suspect that the most likely answer is no.

So what do you do? What if what really gets you going is heavy metal? Or rap? Or industrial techno? I didn’t see any of those music genres in the searches I just did on amazon. Often the first place I go to is google. A search for “spanish heavy metal” brought up some band names. This is a start, but how do you know if you will actually like any of these bands? is a great resource for this. Either start searching for bands based on the names you found in your google search, or search the tags for the genre and language, like “spanish heavy metal.” From here you can click on a page for a band. provides streaming audio for music from this band, and from bands that are similar. If you don’t like the band you looked at, try another. Once you find one you like, you will probably also like some of the bands listed as being similar.

Another important tip: Don’t just search for music using English language terms like “spanish metal” or “german rap.” Use the terms in your target language like “metal español” or “deutsch rapmusik.”

There is one more place to search that has worked very well for me.’s users can put together lists of similar items that they like and share them, in a section called “Listmania.” A search of “español metal” in the Listmania category helped me to find this awesome list, which I have used to find Spanish metal bands that I like.

Do you have other tips for finding music? Post them in the comments!