The Sound Board
The Best Ways to Discover New Music
It’s been easier than ever to discover new music thanks to streaming services we all know about, but aren’t you a little bored of the algorithms creating personalized playlists? It’s not as exciting as the good old days when you come across a song that sounds like your anthem. There’s nothing wrong with relying on Spotify to choose your taste in music, it’s pretty brilliant. But it’s also awesome to use old school methods that give you a chance to think outside the box and discover new types of music. Here’s some ways to explore your options in finding new music:
Check Out Music Magazines
There’s so many music related magazines that's worth checking out. Whether it’s online or print magazines, there’s plenty to go through and you can totally trust the people who write about this stuff for a living. Stop by the local bookstore and flip through some music magazines to see which ones you like most.
Here’s some of my faves:
- Rolling Stone
- BBC Music Magazine
- Record Collector
- Under the Radar ("The solution to music pollution")
Follow playlists curated by your favorite artists
This has never failed me. If you’re a fan of an artist, chances are you’re going to like the music they listen to. It’s one of the best ways to discover music as you also learn about their influences. You can even find artists’ playlist on Spotify which is an easy place to start. If you’re wondering whether your favorite singers or bands curate playlists, go to their Spotify profiles and check to see if they created public playlists.
Hit up a record store
Stop by any record store and browse through genres you’re unfamiliar with. Some shops have listening stations for your convenience. It’s fun to take a risk once in a while and choose a record by its album artwork (this isn’t always a good idea). Check out Yelp to help you locate the best record store around you.
Listen to internet radio stations
Radio DJs remain one of the most important sources of spreading music knowledge. There's so many online stations that play the best music and have special guest DJ sets. Try tuning in to a couple internet radio stations from around the world, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. A good resource to use is Radio Garden, a live online radio that makes many radio stations easily accessible with a turn of the globe. It uses the latest WebGL browser technology to create the virtual globe that looks like Google Earth. Just spin it and cross borders to listen to any radio station you want. Here’s some of the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure:
1. NTS - Founded in 2011 by Boiler Room co-creator Femi Adeyemi, NTS Radio offers a massively diverse selection of live and prerecorded music, in a variety of genres, that is often curated by some of the most influential artists in the world. More than 200 hosts regularly appear on the station , whose slogan is “Don’t Assume.” Famed artists who have curated content for NTS Radio include Thurston Moore, Gilles Peterson, Peanut Butter Wolf, Floating Points, and more.
2. BBC Radio 6 - When it launched in 2002, BBC Radio 6 became the first new station created by the BBC in more than three decades. A digital-only channel that focuses on alternative music from all over the globe, Radio 6 plays everything from guitar music to dance, jazz, and soul cuts.
3. Radio Free Brooklyn - A community radio station that’s run out of the basement of a bike shop in (you guessed it) Brooklyn, New York, Radio Free Brooklyn offers interesting independent programming, with a variety of interesting talk and music shows to take you through your day the Brooklyn way.
4. WWOZ - For those who aren’t lucky enough to live in the Big Easy, WWOZ offers up the sounds of its fair city to the world, showcasing New Orleans’ famed jazz, soul, bounce, and R&B each day. The station’s selections center largely around the jazz tradition — which is still alive and well in the city — providing an amazing look inside one of the world’s most interesting and storied sonic universes.
5. The Austin Music Experience - Owned and operated by the University of Texas in Austin, KUTX showcases a range of genre-specific programming, from indie and pop to disco, Latin, and other genres. It’s an eclectic mix of shows, but they are each extremely vibrant and well-curated, making it an excellent place to find something new and unexpected.
Support Live Shows
You can tell a lot about an artist from their record, but there’s no better way to see or hear the real thing live. Attending live shows is probably one of the most fun ways to discover new music. Whether you hang with a buddy or go solo - guarantee you’ll have a unique experience whether it’s a good or bad one. Seeing your favorite band in person can change the way you feel about their music. If you get lucky the opening band is as good as the headliner, give the support acts a chance and show up early to the show. Look up who’s playing in your town on apps such as DoStuff and Bands in Town. Enjoy a drink and support your local artists.
It’s rare when your friends let you down... If you haven’t done this already, asking a real friend is a great way to discover new music. Have your friends make a playlist and share with one another, you might be in for a surprise or two. There are better ways to discover new music than relying on algorithms. These are just a few suggestions on how to explore new music without relying on music streaming services.
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