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10 tips for finding good new music

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This isn’t going to make a huge difference to your life, but it won’t cost you much – if anything – either. If you’re into music, you should find some of it useful, but it’s what’s worked for me personally, so your mileage may vary.

Finding good new1 music should be easy, with pretty much every song ever made in your pocket, and algorithms to connect you to the bits you should like. But I still struggle to find it.

So here are the things I’ve found helpful in my quest to keep it fresh:

  1. Listen to the radio now and then. You’ll hate plenty of it, but really like some stuff, and that will lead you into more. Radio Garden lets you play radio from anywhere in the world.
  2. Go to music festivals and see acts you’re not already aware of. Or go and see bands you like, and get there in time for the warm up acts.
  3. Ask friends for recommendations. You could even set up a discussion group.
  4. Go into the back catalogue of artists you already love. Or listen to them being interviewed, and dive into the artists they mention as inspirations.
  5. Subscribe to newsletters or magazines, like Pitchfork or NME. Or follow them on social.
  6. Try different streaming services. You might use Spotify when you’re on the go, for example, but use YouTube or SoundCloud when you’re at your desk.
  7. Shazam songs you hear while you’re out.
  8. There are loads of good music podcasts. I particularly like Song Exploder and Strong Songs.
  9. Apply a low bar to what you save to your library, but then archive stuff if you later decide you don’t like it.
  10. Use lists, like the charts, or newspaper articles on the top 500 albums of all time2.

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Footnotes

  1. By ‘new’, I mean things that are new to you. It might be old to other people.
  2. This list is pretty questionable, to be honest, but that doesn’t matter here.