Culture, Music

Unearth new music with online recommendations

There’s a certain thrill that comes with the discovery of an amazing new song, album or artist. It’s that mix of excitement for jam sessions to come and the touch of pride that comes with the knowledge that you own the claim to that music with your friends. But with so much music out there to wade through, finding these musical eureka-moments can be difficult.

“There’s only so much I can know and be able to find on my own,” said Andrew Gaines, a motion pictures MFA student and member of Miami hip-hop duo A.B.O.B. “I really tend to listen to other people for their recommendations, to find out what they’re listening to, but also why [they’re listening to it].”

But whose advice should you listen to? Here are a few places to start.

Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are great for getting the music you love on demand. However, by delving into curated playlists, like Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist, you can also find some great new tunes based on what you already like. Alternatively, make the plunge into a genre you wouldn’t normally explore and take a look at the array of “A-List” playlists that span all kinds of genres on Apple Music.

Music blogs are potentially the best way to hear about the next big artist before they blow up, but with thousands upon thousands of blogs, it can be hard to know where to start. There’s no shame in starting with some of the big names like Pitchfork and The FADER, but there are definitely some smaller gems like Sunset in the Rearview, HighClouds and The Place For Things out there that deserve attention. Also, check out Hype Machine which indexes more than 600 of the best blogs online and sorts them by genre.

Online radio stations are undoubtedly a great place to turn for new suggestions. “Personally I use services like Pandora to help find new music,” said Frost School of Music grad and two-time ‘Cane Records artist Gabriel Berenbaum. “It uses an algorithm to find similar tracks to ones that you know you like based on genre, instrumentation and so on.” Even if you’re already a Pandora veteran, try some new tricks like making multi-artist stations or adding friends to your music feed to increase your odds of finding that next great song.

YouTube is good for more than just vlogs and prank videos. Music-review channels like The Needle Drop, Dead End Hip Hop and Spectrum Pulse, along with strictly music channels such as SwagyTracks, Proximity and BestModernMusic, are all gold mines for underground or just otherwise obscure music.

Last but not least, SoundCloud, while undoubtedly oversaturated with mixtapes from everybody and their mother, is also saturated with some fantastic music that you won’t find anywhere else. Do some deep digging on your own, check out a playlist that fits your musical interests or follow a repost account like Rough Plates to try to find a needle in the haystack.

No matter which approach you might take, the important thing to keep in mind is that the odds of your next great musical find magically appearing on your timeline aren’t all that high. So, take your musical fate into your own hands and go find that new song you’ll want to show everybody.

January 18, 2017


Jon Vilardi

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