It’s easy to get stuck in a music rut where you’re listening to the same songs over and over again until you grow to hate them. Even with our unlimited access to millions of songs, we continuously go back to the songs that resonate with us. While these songs bring a sense of familiarity and comfort, it’s time to branch out and listen to something new.
Now that you’ve decided to expand your music taste, you’re left with the daunting task of actually finding new music. There are hundreds if not thousands of music genres to choose from and even more playlists to scour through. Where do you start?
First, a quick thought
Music taste is subjective, and just because someone else likes a certain type of music doesn’t mean you have to hold the same opinion. To discover music that you want to listen to, rid yourself of the idea that you have to live up to someone else’s expectation of what “good music” is.
Also, older music from older generations is not inherently “better.” The reason you may not like it is because you were not the target generation when the artists recorded their music. Ultimately, your music taste is purely that – yours. Find what makes you happy and what makes you want to keep listening.
Where to start: Music Streaming Services
The best place to start looking for new music are streaming services. There are many streaming services out there for you to choose from – it’s up to you to figure out which one is best for you. The two most popular sites, Spotify and Apple Music, vie for the top music platform spot, but Spotify outweighs Apple Music when it comes to finding new music based on algorithmic recommendations.
Spotify curates “daily mixes” playlists for the listener based on similar songs and artists you listen to. In these playlists, Spotify will add songs that you already listen to but also throw in some new songs that sound similar to the current ones that you haven’t listened to. This is a great way to begin listening to new music without completely ignoring the songs you love.
Another great feature on Spotify is the “fans also like” section. If you go to one of your favorite artists and scroll down their home page, you’ll run into this section. Here, Spotify lists artists with similar sounds and genres that other users listen to in addition to the artist that you love. This list of artists includes big name musicians but also smaller, lesser known artists. For example, if you love listening to Lorde, you can scroll down and find big name artists, Carly Rae Jepsen and Troy Sivan as well as smaller artists like Allie X, King Princess and Lily Allen.
If you want to emerge yourself in a new genre but don’t know where to start, check out Spotify’s curated playlists based on genre. If you type in the genre you want to listen to into the search bar, Spotify gives you playlists with the best hits from that genre. This is a great way to get a collective sound without weeding through individual artists and their discography.
Next Step: Music Reviews
Let me remind you that your opinion on music is subjective and you don’t have to agree with other’s opinions about what they think good music sounds like. However, reading, watching or listening to music reviews and recommendations might help you discover new songs to listen to.
If you want to read music reviews, album discussions and interviews with musicians, take a look into these music review sites:
Pitchfork: They write reviews on mainstream and indie artists which is the perfect segue into diversifying your listening habits.
Atwood Magazine: Each Friday, Atwood staff shares what they’ve been listening to that week and compiles that list into an article detailing the intricacies of the music and how it impacts them.
The Luna Collective: This group of creatives produce quarterly editorial magazines and consistent online content that spotlights young, lesser known artists.
There are plenty of music reviews on YouTube and other platforms that combine audio and visual elements to pique your interest and find new music to listen to.
The Needle Drop: Anthony Fantano creates music review videos on a range of genres from rock to R&B. His sarcastic, dry humored personality paired with his expert analyses of albums make watching him enjoyable and insightful into albums as a whole.
Mostley Music: If you want to find music geared toward Generation Z, look no further than this TikTok account dedicated to giving music recommendations from artists that the youngest generation would want to listen to. The user creates videos titled “New Music Friday” and reports on music news in a new, creative format.
Spectrum Pulse: Another classic music reviewer on YouTube, Spectrum Pulse gives insight into new albums and even does a video series titled “On the Pulse” where they review multiple albums at once.
Finding music that speaks to you might seem intimidating, but if you dedicate the time to actually find new artists and genres to listen to, you won’t be disappointed. It’s exciting finding a new artist you love, and discovering that new sound is worth the time investment because music makes our lives more bearable and enjoyable.
To prove my point even further, here are two artists I found through music review YouTube channels that now are staples in my listening habits.
Emotional Oranges are an R&B, soft pop duo from Los Angeles, CA. With danceable, throbbing beats coupled with whimsical vocals, the pop group masters the lo-fi hip hop balance.
Omar Apollo is a Mexican-American singer who combines R&B, funk and pop into his unique sound. His music is fun and energetic while still maintaining the love sick and yearning aspects of young artists.
Good luck on your music journey and never forget to stay true to what you love listening to.
I’m a public relations student at the University of Georgia with a passion for creative storytelling and content creation. The work I produce reflects my love for music, art and culture, and I strive to create content that resonates with college students.