2014 was the year many of us realized that Spotify and other streaming services aren’t doing right by our favorite artists, but breaking it off can be hard. Peter Getty explores new ways to discover music in 2015 on PeterGettyMusic.com
Sure, we could pay for albums, but how will we discover new artists without algorithmic recommendations? How did we ever do it before?
I don’t want to sound like a commercial, but below are eight actually useful tools for music discovery & exploration. Use a few of these on a semi-regular basis, or enough to get the hang of how they work, and you’d be surprised how nice it is to feel like you’re discovering bands again. Or that listening to the same Spotify recommendations as millions of other users is just stupid, anyway.
These good folks have been putting out ‘indie rock playlists’ every month since 2009 (and before that as Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist). They keep an eye on the little acts, and they’re fair to them. Each playlist can be streamed or downloaded from their website and it’s like listening to a reliable alt rock station. Not sure why my laptop screen on their site is giving me pro-Keystone XL ads…
KEXP Song of the Day
This music podcast is simple and sweet — a new song downloaded to your favorite podcast aggregator every weekday. It’s a good mix of new and established artists; again, reliably high quality.
This is the most mainstream-feeling streaming service on the list, but with an important difference: you have to listen to mixes, playlists created by other users of the service, which makes 8tracks a virtual word-of-mouth recommendation system. You don’t need to create an account to start listening, and once you find a mix you love, you’ll probably want to follow the person who put it together, right?
The Guardian’s New Band of the Week
Paul Lester introduced bands to the world in his New Band of the Day series for The Guardian for over 1700 days. A weekly series since last April, Lester provides great background and embedded tracks, giving ‘new groups a whirl, so you don’t have to.’
Yes, that 4chan. Though anonymous posting does mean you’ll come across the occasional non-music images (NSFW), this is easily the most active music discussion happening on the internet. What’s more, you don’t need an account to browse or join in the discussions.
There are a lot of music discovery blogs out there, but they could all take cues from this active, clean, straightforward advocate of new music and artists. In recent years, DN has won several awards and accolades, and has even organized some showcase performances at music festivals.
Rate Your Music
I originally discovered this site when I was looking for quality reproductions of original art for (often very obscure) albums and singles, so the right image would appear when they came up instead of some greatest hits cover rubbish. Anyway, it’s snobby and multilingual and people come to show off their various incredible music collections. I’ve loved it for ages.
Like 8tracks, Indie Shuffle believes in the power of human-generated mixes and playlists. Many new tracks are added to the blog-like homepage every day, with easy ways to see which ones have had the most impact over the past week or month. Staff & guest writers give a brief synopsis to accompany the embedded music files.