Requesting an article on tools to discover sweet new music. Pandora? Spotify? What do you use and what do you like about them? Can you make recommendations for certain demographics or particular music interests? Which new tools have you excited? And which have been your trusty go-to music services?
I’m glad you asked, because I’m constantly hoping that people will take my advice when this subject arises.
Discovering new music is as easy as simply paying attention. It’s always out there, so as long as you’re looking, you’ll find it. The simplest advice I can give you is be open to suggestions. If you have a friend on Facebook who posts a link and writes, “This band is so awesome!” or “I love this song!” do yourself a favor and click the link. You may not always like it, but sometimes you might. Take a step further, if you do like it, and look up the artist on iTunes or Amazon or Google and buy an album. You’re off to a great start!
Pandora is tedious and I still have yet to discover how Spotify is anything more than a clone of my iTunes library. I know plenty of people will have positive things to say about these programs, but for my purposes, neither one has much value. There are four reliable methods I regularly use to discover new music:
- DAYTROTTER: Every day, Daytrotter posts a live studio session with a band or musician. These cover many genres, from folk to country to rock to rap and more. I’ve found some amazing artists through Daytrotter, including Jeremy Messersmith, Ben Weaver, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Neil Halstead, Samantha Crain and Mason Jennings to name just a handful. You can listen to the sessions on the site (usually 3-5 songs) and download them for completely free.
- BANDCAMP: I cannot stress enough what a phenomenal tool Bandcamp is, and if you’re one of the surprisingly many people who still haven’t heard of it, let me explain. This is a place where independent musicians go to stream/sell their music. There are a few reasons why this is great: a) You can listen to full albums before you buy them; b) A huge majority of money earned on each sale goes directly to the artist; c) It’s the best place to find stuff that you’d almost have no chance of hearing of otherwise. Oftentimes, music is offered for free or pay-what-you-want, so it’s also pretty awesome for deadbeats who think they shouldn’t have to pay for music. Each Tuesday at hearingade, we publish our Bandcamp Pick of the Week, where we highlight a Bandcamp album available for free download, but don’t be afraid to buy some albums there too. I’ve struck gold in the past with such artists as The Woodlands, The Coasts and Golden Bloom. The site allows you to browse by genre, so you can find exactly the type of music you’re looking for.