Music has always been an important part of my life. I grew up in a household where music was always playing on the stereo. I was encouraged to pursue a musical instrument at an early age (I play drums, and how I started is a topic for a whole other blog post). If there was ever a CD or cassette that I wanted, I would inevitably get it. Music, like books, was one of the few things in my childhood that was completely uncensored.
Growing up, I obviously went through all the stages of “appreciating music”. There was the “I want to fit in” phase, the “I want to stand out” phase, the “I want to listen to stuff I actually like” phase, and the “Linking Park gets me” phrase. With all the free time and friends I had in school, finding new music was easy. I had a tightly-knit group of like-minded friends, and we would share albums, songs, and artists we liked and admired. Since then, though, I’ve had very little of that in my life, so music discovery (when I had time for it) became a little more tedious.
Bellow are some of my favorite recourses for discovering new music:
1. Last Fm
An obvious choice, but for good reason. Last.FM tracks what kind of music you listen to in your media player and suggests similar artists. It’s fairly simple, but it’s only effective for the first five-six months of heavy use. After that all the suggestions the services makes become predictable and the service turns into a “most listened” chart to look back on every once in a while. My account on last.fm.
Pick an artist/song, start a radio station, and take note of any new songs and artists that get your attention. Unlike last.fm the discovery through streaming sites never really stops, although you will hear some songs far more often than others.
3. Reviews and Magazines
This one’s a little old school because the concept of “music reviews” has now come down to “is it Dylan or U2 or one of those wub-wub-wub things kids listen to?” for rolling stones and “is this indie mumble-core-movie soundtrack material?” for pitchfork, but there are still some people whose reviews are definitely worth listening to. DeadEndHipHop for rap and hip hop, The Needledrop for… well everything, and me. If I ever review music it’ll be amazing.
This one is really about new music; music from artists who haven’t gone any imaginable type of “mainstream” yet. This service works like a musical stock exchange, wherein you invest virtual coins into the songs you like, and if more and more people start investing you make coins; if people sell their musical “stock” you lose money. It’s a fun NYSE simulator, but with awesome music and perks for everyone involved. Artists which attract lots of attention and investment get money to spend on video clips, studio time, and mastering while listeners earn money on “stocks” and may use their virtual coins to buy real gifts (t-shirts, tote bags, headphones, concert tickets, etc.). It’s a win-win situation.
A Song A Day is an awesome service which sends you a link to a song on SoundCloud, YouTube, or Vimeo every day. It’s hand curated, so ideally they should be sending you songs that actually match up to what you said you like. So far I’ve discovered about 10 songs I really like through them, and that’s impressive considering I’ve only gotten 30 emails so far.