Six ways to find new music …
Online music store Bandcamp is a key revenue driver for many artists, taking a scant cut of sales compared with streaming services. For fans and listeners, the Bandcamp Daily blog is a treasure trove of independent gems and curios, and a few hours spent trawling other users’ profiles or the site’s Discover function is always sure to yield a new favourite or two.
The human algorithm
A great way to discover new music can oftentimes be just dropping a message in your favourite group chat: “What’s everyone been listening to lately?” Even if your mates have the exact same taste as you, there’s bound to be some kind of variance, and those small differences are often where you’ll pick up the kind of track that an algorithm could never show you.
Your local record store
There are few better ways to find new music than simply going down to your local record store, telling the staff member at the counter what you’re into, and asking what they recommend. If you’re shy, don’t worry: many shops feature a staff picks section to trawl through.
It’s easy to be paralysed by the repetitive cycles of streaming services. Online radio stations such as KPSARadio, Worldwide FM, The Lot and Hope St Radio offer tailored, extraordinarily niche, and often mindblowingly good radio shows. It’s a great way to hear something you have never heard before.
Musicians can often provide the best recommendations, and even if you don’t have most pop stars on speed dial, interviews are generally the next best thing. A Björk profile, for example, may lead you to wild techno experimentalists Sideproject, while a podcast chat between Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama could lead you to discover your new favourite diva.
If Spotify’s algorithm is disarmingly tailored, YouTube’s is shockingly loose. You almost never know what’s going to come next when you are listening to music on YouTube (which many people, especially among Gen Z, use as their sole streaming service). Sometimes, it will be another song by the same artist, at other times, it will be something extraordinarily unlikely, such as this 1994 performance of Fade Into You that, for about a year, was ubiquitous in many people’s algorithms. Either way, it’s a journey.