How to discover your next favorite song, album, artist
Music is the most plentiful artistic medium, due in part to the fact that it has one of the lowest barriers to entry and the least amount of commitment needed by an audience. We can immediately tell what songs we don’t like and just simply hit the skip button. Each song, each album, brings us into a whole new world, and the types of music we like and don’t like are easy to recognize.
A common refrain is “I listen to everything but country.” But do you really? We all know the kid that just listens to Rap Caviar on Spotify and never opens their mind to anything but a label, algorithm, corporation or curated playlist. Here are some tips on how to discover, as Drake would say, “more chunes for your head top.”
Wikipedia + Liner Notes = New Musical Joys
A good way to find new music is through the music you already love. If you look at the producers, writers or samples used in your favorite songs or albums, this can be a gateway to more music. Just click on the names like frequent Kanye collaborator “Mike Dean” and you'll find hundreds of albums that he has worked on. This method works especially well if you're attempting to discover influential genres or decades.
Spotify’s Discover Weekly
"Spotify is really big for me and its Discover Weekly, artist radio and daily mixes. That's where I hear a lot of new stuff, plus recommendations from friends. My friends talk about music a lot and know I like it so I get sent things by people,” said Kathryn Kusion, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and music director at 90.3 The Core. For those unfamiliar, Discover Weekly is an algorithm designed by Spotify that delivers a playlist featuring new music not yet in your library. A lot of people love it. I hate it.
As a former DJ for 90.3 the Core, I may be biased, but college radio opens a portal into new tastes. For about a Rutgers Radio. Whenever I heard a new song I liked, I would add it to my library on Apple Music. The stations are always refreshing since they're not top-40 oriented.
One of the best ways to find new tunes is through publications. Outlets like Pitchfork Media Inc., The New York Times and Noisey are great culture sites that compile and review new music. Reading music journalism and listening to the podcast “Popcast” from The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica broadens my mind every week.
No one is ever totally on the same page with music. It helps to talk about your musical touchstones with your friends or with strangers at a party. I maintain that no one listened to “Old Town Road” until I told them it was hot fire, and then it went No. 1. So keep speaking, listening and finding that next great chune.