How do you discover new music?

10Oct15

I just got asked this question today by a reader on Twitter.  So I decided to write about it!

Gone are the days of browsing CD racks or hanging in obscure IRC or DC++ channels looking for tunes. I kinda miss that, to be honest. These days, discovering new music is a piece of cake if you’re using one of the many streaming services out there. I can only speak for Google Music and Apple Music (from the observations of my friends who use it), but both have pretty decent algorithms to recommend new bands.

Google Music is the service I subscribe to. A couple years ago Google acquired song matching service Songza basically for the sole purpose of getting their taste algorithms.  They work surprisingly well. If you use Google Music, there are three places where the service recommends different bands and genres to listen to. One is the related artists section, which appears under the album or artist you are currently listening to:

new artist

This is the one I use most of the time. I will go down a rabbit hole of bands, and not all will be winners but I usually find something new I can enjoy. The second section is on the very front page and is under the large “Recommended for You” section. This section is very, very hit and miss.

The third is using the radio stations. Google and Apple music both have excellent radio algorithms. If you’re on Google Music and not a paying subscriber, you can listen to radio free and find bands this way.  Blogged 50 Radio and Brand New Music are a tremendous way to find brand new music.  I think you can listen to both stations free on Google Music.

These are the best ways to me for finding new music these days. I can’t speak to Spotify, but I generally didn’t like it as much. If you want to know what I’m into, you can always join our Discord music channel or check my last.fm (last.fm is another great way to get recommendations for yourself).

That’s about it. You should also check out The Needle Drop on YouTube, The Fader and Pitchfork.  Follow these things on Twitter as well.

How do you discover new music? Let us know in the comments for other ways to find great new artists!

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3 Responses to “How do you discover new music?”

  1. I didn’t mean for this to be such an advertisement for Google Music, but it is the service I’m most familiar with.

  2. Spotify is good for having music you already like on there i find, their Radio is kinda shitty due to the fact it kinda falls into a loop if the band you choose is a little too obscure. They have been doing some major work recently and it has gotten much better overall, its got a nice new look and they are doing some cool things with your play stats, off the top of my head they they done a most listened to in 2014 playlist (Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton was mine) and then gave some recommendations from that, they have suggested music you might like from previous decades and a list of which artists you listened to before they were big. Its pretty much the only music player i use

  3. 3 Salva

    I mostly use SoundCloud and follow a bunch of people, and then listen to not only what they upload but also to what they repost, you know to discover new people. It’s a great way to get free music since most people I follow are relatively small and give their stuff away for free. My second most used way would be specific genre subreddits like r/trap and r/futurebeats. I’ve just gone through a horrible situation though, losing my hard drive yesterday all of a sudden, so I’ll have to see how much of the downloaded music is still there. I feel like such a dumbass for not backing it up (I was waiting for a deal on a portable hard drive), and now I feel like not listening to anything ever again since I could lose like 300 gb of music.


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