How to discover new music?
An extensive guide on how to discover new music. TBC.
How does new music appear?
As silly as it sounds, some people create music and then decide to share it to the public. It can be shared on various supports, digital (a file, mp3, wav, aif, ogg, flac etc.), analog (tape, vinyl record), or mixed (CD, mixing digital and analog). The same music can be released on many supports. These suports have different properties, some make it easy to share the music. Some put emphasis on the sound quality or the sonic experience. In any case what matters is that it gets to an audience enjoying it, so it is great to combine supports when publishing (as in making public).
A method to discover new music organically, and learn your tastes
You liked something that artist did, she/he/they possibly have other projects you might enjoy. Also note that the bassist, trumpetist, backing vocal of an act can have a solo project, or collaborate with other people. Don’t just look at the big names, dig into those who more in the shadows are also part of the creation of the grooves we like.
Labels are a key on the production of new music, making it happen, promoting records they create so they are being heard, accessed by us, the craving audience.
A label is mainly composed of one or a group of persons, puting energy and time in finding music, artists they like. Then, working together so an artist music’s is compiled and distributed to reach an audience, other people who might enjoy it. Labels usually publish multiple new music over their years of activity. You can follow their news, and get music fresh out from where it’s baked.
Many artists are also self pusblishing their records, often you will be able to follow their updates on the different channels once publish their work, Youtube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud.
Note that, as for an artist, a label which may have ceased to exist, as in publish new records, does not make it any less worthy of interest.
If you haven’t already, look out for the name of the labels on your favorite records. Maybe try to find the smallest labels, the ones for which putting out a record requires as much energy and involvment as producing its notes. Look it up online, explore its release on Discogs or at a record in town. This is most definitely where you’ll find a great deal of new favorites.
Styles and genres
You’ve been listening to rock, house, classic or raggae for a while now. There is definitely something aside that you will get to love. It maybe even doesn’t have a name yet. Sure the beat is not quite the same, but give yourself a little time moving some of the rocks surrounding your new gold. Let pre-constructed opinion asides, there are streams out there that mixes what you already enjoy and what you will get to love.
save what you find
Buy music to listen at home. Play it on your computer or turntables, organize it in shelves or in folders, create playlists offline or online, but store what you find and start building a well organized collection of good tunes, that you can learn to understand.
Some sources to stumble upon new discoveies
All the following sources can be combined. Mixing them will lead to great results.
From the comfort of your home
Discogs is some sort of community generated encyclopedia. Everything that can be known about a record should be found there. If you know something that cannot there be found, reference it! For the sake of knowledge sharing! Click the labels, different artists who made that record possible, listen to all tracks on an album, look at other users created list in which this record is. There are many ways you can get serendipity started.
Look as the Discog’s page for the band Azymuth. You’ll find a list of all their albums, the label they were realeased on, when, who played the piano etc.
The good old Wikipedia, giving you an overview of an artist, a genre, style, era. Click on those links, get lost, learn and explore, copy paste name in Youtube, Spotify, listen.
Try out the Wikipedia page on House music.
Definitely one of the place where it is the easiest to listen to music. Start listening to something you know already; then listen to the side recommandation, other music from the same artists, other tracks that are suggested that user also listened. Youtube has developed a crazy algorithm which as been fueled by a constant and massive ammount of data we give it while browsing the site. The result is auto-generating lists of somehow related music.
Have you tried Musique concrète?. Here are two example Youtube videos to start exploring, Pierre Schaeffer & Pierre Henry: Orphée 53 (1953), and Pierre Schaeffer - Études de bruits (1948).
Of course, if you enjoy this, or out of curiosity you’d like to know more, look for these names on Discogs, and follow the links!
Because Bandcamp is working on offering a fair cut on sales, this platform is being increasingly used by artists, labels and other publishing houses to release their work. You can listen to music that has been uploaded in good quality.
It is always better to know for what you are looking for when going there as the interface does not lead to exploration accross their database. For a Wikipedia feeling, where links lead to unexpected gems, see the section on Discogs.
Great thing being that it is possible to follow favorite artists and labels, and be notified of their new releases. Bandcamp is one of the few platform with Discogs on which the label is visible. See the labels section for why this is a happy fact.
A website filled with user submitted mixes. One of the nicest way to discover music. On Mixcloud you can follow djs, labels, music producers, music podcasters playing their favorite records.
You should definitely look for your favorite artist names on their site, see who is playing them. That will definitely lead to discoveries.
One of the great aspect of Mixcloud is that it also shows in most cases which tune is on air. So when you like something, you can find it on Bandcamp, Youtube, maybe add it to your Radio4000 channel so you can listen to it later again.
Blogs and magazines
Blogs have been one of the most fantastic creation of Internet. Each of them islands of knowledge spread accross blog hosting platforms, Blogger, Wordpress instances.
Many music diggers and amateurs present and share their discoveries online. They offer a wide range, sometimes hyper-specialized, of genre explorations to whoever wants to spend the time to listen.
There are also many magazines about music, talking about releases of new or old tunes, generalist or specialized. Jazz, raggae, techno, look out for yours. Find some online, or at the kiosk.
Maybe the good old FM radio does not satisfy you any longer? No worries, there are plenty of web based radios with dedicated people willing to share the good tunes. This list could help getting started.
A good tool to organize and learn from your music discoveries. Radio4000 is also an amazing spot to discover what other people on the planet are listening to. Follow someone else’s musical explorations and get inspired by their audio journeys.
If you find a track you enjoy, look out for its name, search for it on Discogs, get to know who was involved in its creation. So many links.
On Radio4000 you will listen to tunes you like in the context of someone who selected all these tracks because they liked them. Any track can be saved to your radio, every radio can be listened again and followed for getting its latest additions.
Outside of home
Those guys are spending their days listening to music, expert diggers, they’ve dedicated their life to finding and sharing the grooves. Find some you record delears you like the taste of and get their records!
If you’re looking for your favorites music on vinyl records, you can try LP/EP Finder, a little tool we’ve put together to find music at local vinyl shops. Give it a name of a record you like, see in which record shop it is sold, and explore the rest of this shop’s selection.
Parties, concerts and festivals
Same here. A party, concerts or festivals mostly start to exist because some people wanted to share good music and good acts they discovered. There is high chance those person are also willing to create for you a unique moment in time and space you won’t forget.
This is forever work in progress. It is solely an introduction to what is a possible way to dig new music, suggesting ways some might not yet know.
In any case, share your discoveries online and offline. Listen to more music, at your workplace or at home, on headphones or speakers, go enjoy acts at venues. Start creating your music, alone or together, with your name or anonymously, make it available to listen.