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Top 10 Best Ways To Discover New Music, According To Musicians

Ways To Discover New Music

Discovering new music has always been a deeply personal and enriching journey for me, significantly influenced by my upbringing in Montreal, a city renowned for its eclectic music scene.

Montreal’s diverse cultural tapestry, exemplified by groundbreaking bands like Arcade Fire and the world-famous Montreal International Jazz Festival, instilled in me an enduring passion for exploring a wide array of musical genres and styles.

This diverse exposure has shaped my approach to music discovery, blending traditional methods with modern technology.

Streaming Services

  • Platforms: Streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music have revolutionized music discovery. These platforms offer personalized playlists based on algorithms that analyze your listening habits. For instance, Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” and “Release Radar” are excellent for uncovering new tracks and artists.
  • Features: Beyond playlists, features like Spotify’s “Radio” function, which creates a station based on a selected song or artist, provide a seamless way to explore similar music. Apple Music’s “For You” section offers curated recommendations tailored to your tastes.
  • Community Playlists: User-generated playlists on these platforms are also a treasure trove. They allow you to explore collections curated by other music enthusiasts, often leading to unexpected yet delightful discoveries.

Free Music Apps

  • Accessibility: Free music apps like SoundCloud and Bandcamp provide access to a vast array of independent and emerging artists. These platforms are particularly great for uncovering music that might not be available on mainstream streaming services.
  • Discovery Tools: SoundCloud’s community-driven approach, with features like reposts and comments, allows you to see what others are listening to and recommending. Bandcamp’s “Discover” section categorizes music by genre, format, and location, making it easier to find music that resonates with your preferences.

Music-focused Social Media

  • Blogs and Online Communities: Renowned music blogs like Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound offer in-depth reviews, artist interviews, and music news, providing insights into emerging trends and artists. Online communities, such as Reddit’s various music subreddits, offer spaces where enthusiasts discuss and share music, offering diverse perspectives and recommendations.
  • Artist Interactions: Platforms like Instagram and Twitter allow direct interaction with artists, offering insights into their influences and personal music recommendations, which can be a window to new musical worlds.

Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

  • Artist Pages and Groups: Following artists on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can lead to new music discoveries. Artists often share what they’re listening to, upcoming collaborations, or even their side projects.
  • Music Discovery Groups: There are numerous Facebook groups and Instagram pages dedicated to specific genres or music discovery in general, where members share their favorite finds and discuss new releases.

Word of Mouth

  • Community Recommendations: In-person discussions with friends and fellow music enthusiasts remain one of the most authentic ways to discover new music. Recommendations often come with personal stories and contexts, adding a unique layer to the music.
  • Local Scenes and Networks: Engaging with your local music scene, whether it’s through attending shows or participating in community events, can lead to recommendations and discoveries grounded in your cultural and geographical context.

Live Shows – Support Acts

  • Discovering Emerging Artists: Support acts at concerts are often selected because they complement or resonate with the headlining act’s style. This is a perfect opportunity to discover emerging artists who might be the next big thing.
  • Venue-Specific Playlists: Many venues curate playlists of their upcoming support acts, which can be found on their websites or social media pages. These playlists can be a great resource for pre-concert discovery.

Live Shows – Flyers

  • Flyer Collections: Flyers handed out at concerts often contain information about upcoming shows, album releases, or new artists. These physical pieces of promotion can lead to exciting musical discoveries and support local artists.
  • Online Exploration: Many artists and bands now include QR codes or website links on their flyers, making it easier to explore their music online instantly.

Record Label Mailing Lists

  • Insider Information: Signing up for mailing lists of record labels, especially those known for your preferred genres, can provide early access to new releases, exclusive content, and insights into the label’s roster of artists.
  • Label Websites: Websites of influential labels like Sub Pop Records or XL Recordings often feature artist bios, upcoming album releases, and curated playlists.

Music Stores

  • Staff Recommendations: Local music stores are not just for purchasing music; they are hubs of knowledge. Conversations with store staff can lead to recommendations based on your interests and their expertise.
  • In-Store Playlists: Many stores play a selection of new and notable music, which can be a great way to discover something new while browsing.

Music Media

  • Music Journalism: Established music media like Rolling Stone and NME offer reviews, artist profiles, and features on both mainstream and emerging artists, providing a broad perspective on the music industry.
  • Podcasts and Interviews: Music podcasts and artist interviews can offer deeper insights into the creative process and influences, often leading to the discovery of similar artists or genres.

Each of these methods offers a unique pathway to discovering new music, influenced by personal experiences, technological advancements, and community interactions.

From the energetic streets of Montreal to the diverse digital landscapes of today, my journey in music discovery continues to evolve and surprise, much like the ever-changing world of music itself.