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How to find new music

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Image: Mark Solarski / Unsplash

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for new jams. We spend so much time with our earbuds and car speakers that sometimes it’s hard to find enough music for our playlists. Oddly enough, we have more access to music now than ever in the past!

Why is it then that I spend so much time skipping songs? Maybe you obsessively listen to the same song for a week straight, and then you can no longer listen to it again. Maybe you have one go-to album that just isn’t doing it for you anymore. Sometimes in order to most appreciate the music we have, we need to take a step back and listen to something else for a while. This may mean finding new artists, but it may also mean re-listening to your old favorites. I’m a firm believer in circulating your music through the use of playlists. Whether you buy your music on iTunes (the gool old days) or you stream your music on Spotify, here’s how to find new music to add to your playlist!

Albums

This may or may not be news to you, but artists do, in fact, make albums worth of music. Often with services like iTunes, we focus solely on singles and big hit songs rather than collective works. If you haven’t checked out full albums from some of your favorite artists, do that first because you may find that you missed some of their best songs! Some great underrated albums I’d recommend are Sing It All Away, Born & Raised, Mon Bleu, Days are Gone, and Night Visions.     

Related artists

The main way I find music is by using the “related artists” section on either iTunes or Spotify. It’s super easy to click on, and it’ll give you a list of all the artists that sound similar to your faves. If you follow the chain of links and go through each artist’s related artists, you’re sure to find some new people you haven’t heard before. It’s also a great way to support smaller artists rather than the typical top 40 hits. You may be surprised what you find after just a few minutes!

New releases

Again, this may seem logical, but it can easily be overlooked. Many of us will look for our favorite artists in the new releases section and then move on, but that just feels wasteful! The next time you see this section, try exploring some of the other new albums. A great thing to do is judge based on the album cover artwork. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to do that, but I’ve found my favorite artists this way. Album art says a lot about an artist, and it can be really helpful when trying to decide what to click on. You can also click on albums and use the wonderful “related artists” feature to extend your search even further.

Smaller streaming platforms

With capitalism running rampant in this day and age, it’s easy to forget about smaller artists. We focus on big services like Spotify and Apple Music and even Tidal and assume that all the music we could ever want would be on there. However, sometimes that’s not the case. Many of my more interesting albums come from smaller musicians, and a great way to find those musicians is through other streaming platforms like Noisetrade, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp. Some of them will even have free music to download on their sites. You’ll find more independent artists from different genres like bluegrass and Christian and electronic that you may not find on bigger streaming platforms.

Pre-made playlists

One of the major draws to Spotify is that it comes with a number of pre-made playlists for you to enjoy. You can find playlists for different moods, different seasons, and even different holidays! If you’ve never considered trying them out, go do that now! Don’t be afraid to find some of the weirder playlists out there because you might be surprised what you like. If you want to be a little more adventurous, there’s a great site called 8tracks that has strictly user-created playlists. These playlists are much more exciting because you can’t see the full track-listing until you listen through and (as usual) you only get three skips per hour. 8tracks is a great place to find study playlists with instrumental music, playlists based off of books and movies, and even playlists for road-trips. Since the playlists are all created by users, you get a much wider range of songs than with more cliche Spotify playlists.