People ask me where I find new music all the time. In fact, they’ve been asking for years, I guess ever since I started blogging about new bands, tracks, videos and remixes. My answer over time has changed, with the musical landscape, but also as I’ve found easier ways to keep my ear to the ground. No longer do I have to camp out in bars every night waiting for something to happen. I can use a few of my trusted sources, which are:
For years, music blogs have been considered to be on the front lines of music discovery, existing as a “testing ground” for bands/artists to submit their music for exposure. More as a place to feature good, recommendable content (as opposed to a place for negative reviews), I’ve had incredible luck finding new bands from music blogs. Although, to maintain a music blog and gain followers, you have to post regularly. That’s why there’s a ton of music blogs out there, many disappearing just as quickly as they are appearing. The trick is finding (and following) the diehards with a good ear for new music.
When Google Reader was still available, it was the best way to keep all your favourite feeds in check. Now, I use an online service called Feedly, which does a similar job. As most people read their “go to” gossip/news/social media websites in the morning, I search through the feeds of over 200 music blogs. Even though there’s a lot of music I might not be into, there’s always something new to peak my interest. Recommended blogs to follow: Disco Naïveté, Stereogum, We All Want Someone To Shout For
Streaming Music Services.
In Canada, we have a variety of music streaming services that we can use to play music and discover new bands. The ones that have really worked for me are Soundcloud and Rdio. Soundcloud seems to be the best DIY tool for bands to put their music online, especially if they plan on promoting it to online music sites. As a Soundcloud user, I not only find interesting bands from playlists of other users I follow, but the system allows users to send music right to my inbox. Rdio is a great way to stay up to date with new releases and seems to have a better way of discovering your friends/followers current playlists and albums. If you’re not sure who to follow, try out their list of Influencers (I’m one); a great list of music websites and blogs, consistently making custom playlists on their system. Finally, Rdio has started experimenting more with music recommendation with their “Stations” program, which brings me to my next point.
Music Recommendation Services.
Unfortunately, Pandora still has not launched in Canada, but at least I’ve been able to experiment a bit with Songza. Now, I don’t typically spend too much time on a site that tries to build playlists based on what kind of event/setting your in (i.e. “cool indie loft party”), occasionally a playlist will throw me that curveball and put on a song I haven’t heard, that I like as well. If you’re a little more hands on in your music collection, Songza might not be the thing for you.
Finally, I do find great new bands as they show up on my doorstep. Well, digital doorstep that is, my inbox. I get a ton of e-mail as a music blogger, from publicists, labels, management and publishing companies, and artists and bands themselves. The success rate of finding a relevant and likeable song is pretty low, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised so many times when I dig through my inbox and find those gems.
As the years go on, I’m sure my answer to this question will continue to morph. Stay tuned until next year when I answer this question and tell you all about how I download songs directly to my brain.