Where to Find Good New Music

There is an endless amount of music available to us, but why does it feel like the good stuff is so hard to find?

I have to come clean with you: I am utterly uninspired by new music right now. Before you think me aloof and annoying, please hear me out! I love music… Ever since I was a little kid sitting cross-legged listening to records with my dad, having discussions (if you can call them that) about whether or not Jethro Tull needed so much flute on their records. After college, I got into the LA music world — not as a scenester — but as a true music fan. I’d see about three shows a week; songs sounded fresh, live performances were engaging, and I was obsessed. My love for music continued as I learned about new bands from going to shows or reading obscure music blogs. Today, I sit here, pounding my head against the wall trying to remember the last “new” band that I found and loved.

There is so much music these days, so many streaming options and so many music blogs, that it feels near impossible to find new artists that you actually love. It’s like sifting through 100 warehouses of records, looking for a Joni Mitchell first edition. Platforms like Pandora and Apple Music try to alleviate the “noise” by curating playlists based on music they think we like. And as much as I enjoy the idea of Spotify’s “related artists” feature, I am still left just hitting fast-forward. I have literally worn off the skip button in my car.

Finding new bands and artists, or lack thereof, has been an interesting conversation between my friends and me. I definitely have opinions on the subject, but I don’t have the resume to back up my thoughts, so I asked one of my friends who has been in the music industry for over 15 years to help me. We went through articles, checked out websites, read blogs and signed up for various free trials in the pursuit of finding the platforms that would best help us discover more of the artists that we like, but have never heard before.

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The Hype Machine: Before we begin, let’s break it down. The majority of all new music is uploaded to SoundCloud or Bandcamp, where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere. It allows people to easily share their music privately or publicly with blogs, sites and social networks. Whoa, pretty overwhelming. But that’s where Hype Machine comes in. After new music is uploaded to SoundCloud or Bandcamp by artists, music blogs pull the music they want to feature on their specific sites. Hype Machine aggregates this information and then curates playlists for you based on the blogs and artists that you follow. For example, say you follow Pitchfork on Hypem. You will then receive all of the music that Pitchfork writes about in your feed. Same goes for artists that you follow. You can also heart a song that you like and it will be saved to a hearted playlist, which you can play through at any time. In addition, you can search for a song, see how many blogs have written about it, and click through to the article to read more.

Spotify. Good ol’ trusty Spotify is my automatic go-to. By the click of a button, you can curate your own playlists and share it with friends. You can also browse music based on your taste, a genre or mood you’re looking for, or discover new or related artists. Though the features are easy to use, you need to be willing to enter the rabbit hole in order to find new artists you love.

Various Blogs. Try these on for size: Stereogum. Pitchfork. Pigeons and PlanesHillydilly. And my ultimate favorites, Aquarium Drunkard and NPR Music.

YouTube Music. When you think of YouTube, you think of video, I assume. But YouTube is also the second largest used search engine after Google. In late 2015, the powerhouse released a new music app called YouTube Music. In a recent article on The Verge written by Ben Popper, “you can use the app like a standard music service, searching for artists and playing individual songs or albums. It has licensed the same pool of roughly 30 million audio tracks you would find on its competitors. But the service is also optimized to present a vast collection of additional options — from live concert footage to karaoke tracks with embedded lyrics to instructional videos on how to play that bass line — which don’t exist on any other music streaming service.”

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+I’d love to continue this conversation! Where do you find great new music? Do tell in the comments. 

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

Comments

  1. I didn’t realize I needed this article in my life until I saw it. I love the Hype Machine! NME & Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist have been some of my favorites for years, too. RCRD LBL used to be my number one place to find great remixes and new music, but it got shut down a few years ago and I still haven’t been able to find a good replacement for it.
    xx
    Ella
    http://www.thirteenoctobers.com

  2. I always like to hear recommendations from my friends, blog readers, and pen pals – there’s always such diverse answers! A blog reader turned me on to one of my favorite newer groups, CHVRCHES a while back, and whenever I play their records, I think about how I would have (probably) never heard of them if I had never asked.

    Another one of my favorites at the moment is Bleachers.

    http://fabulosityfactor.blogspot.com

  3. Love this conversation – thanks Elysia, Ella, Ally and Indy! Word of mouth is still one of the best ways, totally agree with you guys! xx, Joanna

  4. There is a great presenter/DJ on an Irish radio station, although he presents the show in Irish it doesn’t matter because he just plays the music and names the tracks, he receives 600 new suggestions every week from listeners around the world, Cian O Ciobhan on: http://www.rte.ie/rnag/an-taobh-tuathail/
    lots of new music there, and you can’t beat BBC 6 Music, digital station for the best range of music and presenters, Iggy Pop, Cerys Mathews, Guy Garvey and lots of others, top of their game, will be checking out your suggestions thanks.

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