When it comes to music, I’m like a vacuum -- I’ll consume anything anyone puts in front of me. This tendency of mine leads me to all sorts of little subgenres, full of artists who I would have never found if I hadn’t taken a little initiative. This kind of search is imminently rewarding; there’s bragging rights in being the person who’s “discovered” an artist or group first. So how does someone find new music in the rapidly expanding digital marketplace? Well, that’s what I’m here to show you.
It’s really easy to get lost down a YouTube rabbit hole. One minute you’re searching for a tutorial on how to make an omelet, and the next you’re in a deep spiral, unraveling a conspiracy about a long-dead cold case with the help of your three thousand partners-in-crime, the comments section. Well, click in the right places and you’ll end up with some cool tunes. Often on YouTube, if you search one of your favorite genres, like say “alt-rock” or “flute music," and then add the word “mix” at the end, you’ll find yourself flooded with hour-long mixes with all sorts of new stuff. And the best part about all of that is that once you start watching enough of these, YouTube’s algorithm will start recommending albums to you under related videos, and then wham! You’ve found like fifty new bands.
Soundcloud is a completely different beast from YouTube. One, it’s a site actually designed to help discover music, and two, it requires you to have an account to get the most out of it. For the most part, you aren’t going to find anyone on a major label posting songs here. Here, you can build a portfolio by liking songs and following specific artists. In turn, they’ll recommend either stuff that has influenced their sound or stuff their friends have made. There’s just so much music on this website that it’s a godsend for anyone looking to pick up their next musical obsession.
Ah, Spotify. What hasn’t been said about this music giant, the streaming service to end all streaming services? You’re going to be hard-pressed to find any sort of album from a major label that isn’t within Spotify’s collection. These are the benefits of being a paid service, I suppose. Spotify’s curated playlists are an incredibly good way to discover new stuff, with tone suggestions like “Chill Vibes” and “Summer Songs” to genre suggestions like “Conscious Rap” and “Vocal Jazz”. Spotify is a great investment to anyone with an eye for new music. An interesting addition to Spotify is Forgotify, which allows you to hear a song that has never been played before on Spotify. Who knows what you’ll find!
Bandcamp is more similar to Soundcloud than to Youtube or Spotify, but it has it’s own benefits, being primarily a music marketplace. It has a robust tagging system that lets you navigate genres with ease, and often you will see artists giving away their albums for the low, low price of free! I’ve amassed a whole hard drive full of albums that I have been given from Bandcamp artists, some of which I have come to enjoy very much. Special mention goes out to large independent labels that operate out of Bandcamp, and often have huge discography sales.
This is really only scratching the surface of the wide world of internet music discovery. Depending on which little niche you find yourself, you could end up any number of places on the web, from places like OCRemix to genre subreddits. When I go looking for music, it may not always be fruitful, but it is always an adventure.