When music was digitalised in the 90s, it seemed like the downfall of the music industry. But, copyright laws were enforced eventually and artists began to make a profit again, just much less than what they were used to before.
However, every disruption brings with it a certain progress. In this case, digital music streaming services allowed niche genres and new artists the opportunity to reach global audiences.
If you are truly obsessed with music like me, music streaming services are not enough to discover new music.
You might find yourself going down the Youtube whole, listening to a guy murmuring into a harmonica while spanking a watermelon. Or holding your phone directly to the speakers every time you hear something you like that you’ve never heard before so Shazam can tell you what it is. Or maybe you are a Soundclouder who spends hours discovering musicians no one ever heard of.
In any case, if discovering new music is important to you because you believe music is the most fulfilling product you can consume, read on and use these tips to discover new music.
Top of this list is not reserved for a popular music magazine or a digital music streaming service. Because since the beginning of 2000s, YouTube is still the best place to discover new bands, and see live acts, unrecorded covers etc.
However, the success of Youtube is partly due to the good old MTV. Music video was the driver of popularity in the 90s and 00s, and Youtube showcases the videos we would wait hours to see again, on demand.
MTV’s rise was not surprising considering we associate image with sound ever since they were first linked together in the 20th Century.
But MTV was a revolution in itself, promoting low-budget filmmaking and original ideas such as the OK GO’s Here It Goes Again viral music video.
Youtube Music finally launched in 2018, offering a pretty good deal to those who are keen on an ad-free music listening experience on Youtube.
Youtube’s move comes at a right time. It has been the go to music streaming service for many internet users for years and no other service offers a complete audio visual experience.
A recent study showed that in 2018, 55% of people listen to new music via video stream, 23% with paid subscriptions and 22% using free audio streaming.
You might have already noticed that sometimes when you find yourself listening to music all the time on Youtube, it will come up with exceptional song recommendations. That’s because it has so much data on listening patterns of others and what they liked, that they know what you would like according to your listening pattern.
Channels: Best Youtube Channels for Music Discovery
COLORS / HipHop, R&B, Rap
Colors lives up to its name. Always new, open and changing, this channel acts as a platform for young, independent and individualistic artists to showcase their talents.
Mahalia - Sober
JID - Working Out
Eliza - Wasn’t Looking
The Needle Drop / Anything
Anthony Fantano reviews absolutely anything from mainstream to relatively well known artists that his music junkie fan crowd would have heard of.
Sofar Sounds / Acoustic, electronic, jazz, rock
When two friends who love live music began holding live music sessions in their houses, Sofar Sounds was born. Anyone who’s been to one knows the story, and it was a great thing to happen to music lovers worldwide. It gave us artists like Hozier, Leon Bridges and Moses Sumney.
City of the Sun - Intro (The xx Cover)
Tamino - Habibi
Moses Sumney - Plastic
Triple J is my absolute favourite radio station channel on Youtube, regularly featuring indie artists to do covers of great hits.
Aurora - Teardrop
But there are so many more channels curating music for genres you don’t even know exist. From EDM (Mr Suicide Sheep) to Psychedelic Trance (Psychedelic Muse) to Deep House (Fine Tunes), you can find so many original recordings of new/old/undiscovered music.
Check out playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal created by musicians you like, since, chances are, your tastes will align with theirs. For example, if you are a Bonobo fan, check out Bonobo’s playlist.
It’s very interesting to find out about an artist’s inspirations. Or check out the playlists your favourite artists are added to. Also, I am not a big fan of mood playlists, so I prefer listening to a “song radio” on Spotify to discover new music by listening to other songs related to the one I already like.
Who Sampled is a unique way to get a deeper understanding of the songs you thought belonged to one artist when they’ve actually used another artist's beat or melody. It’s a must for every music fan!
There's nothing more infuriating than hearing someone talk about how "original" a cover is without knowing who wrote it first. Also, artists usually cover artists they like and who knows, you might like them too.
Follow the old methods
As humans, we are tactile and still fond of sensations.
Although they are digital millennials, many of my friends still prefer to go into a bookstore and touch the books, or go into a record shop like Rough Trade to spend some time listening to staff picks or flick through the vinyls.
It is an experience to learn about new bands and be surrounded by people who are there to do the same. Physical location is a very powerful thing and indulging in one of your favourite passions in a place is much healthier than losing yourself in front of a computer screen.
Last but not least; going to local concerts, live music gigs and festivals are all great ways to discover new music. For example, I really like stoner and psychedelic rock, and I realised DesertFest in London is mainly comprised of such bands. So I checked out the names that would be performing and started listening to them. Equally, there is a Stoner Rock playlist on Spotify you can check out.
Or follow me on Spotify! ;)
I'm making loads of playlists for different genres all the time.
Check out this Funky Psychedelic Turkish Music one:
Happy listening! I'm also open to recommendations, connect with me on Twitter!