Music Discovery: 6 Ways to Find New Music in 2024

Music Distribution
Music Discovery: 6 Ways to Find New Music in 2024

Music discovery is how you find new songs, artists and albums to love.

But if you’re passionate about new and exciting music, you know that the best material can be hard to unearth.

With so many releases launched every day, it’s impossible just to keep up, let alone sift through for the best of the best.

That’s where modern music discovery tools come in. There are more ways than ever to find  new music that inspires you if you know how to look.

In this article I’ll break down the six best music discovery apps, sites and tech tools to help you find your next favorite track.

Let’s get started.

1. Spotify music discovery features

Spotify is the world’s biggest streaming platform. Its enormous catalog of music helped usher in the streaming revolution.

But a big part of Spotify’s success has always been its ability to keep users engaged by discovering new songs they love.

That’s why you’ll find some of the most talked-about music discovery mechanics in the Spotify ecosystem.

From its highly influential editorial playlists to its algorithmically curated Discover feeds, Spotify uses its massive stockpile of user data to try to play you the right music at the right time.

Simply engage autoplay to hear how the Spotify algorithm suggests what to play next.

Not only that, the platform’s song, album and artist Radio functions are also a fun way to generate instant playlists of related material from a single piece of music.

Finally, Spotify’s Release Radar function helps you stay up to date with new material from your followed artists.

Still, it’s important to note that Spotify’s recommendation features come from listening behavior’ data it gathers from users.

That means it can’t really expose you to anything that isn’t already part of listening trends on the platform.

For example, it also doesn’t work particularly well for artists and genres that are part of a longer tradition or that may not be active in the modern day (Trending new artist for you—The Beatles!)

Even so, you’re missing out on important music discovery tools if you’re not using Spotify.

2. Bandcamp

The undisputed home of DIY artists on the internet, Bandcamp likely has more completely unheard music than any other platform online.

The site broke new ground in the late 2000s by allowing artists to set “pay-what-you-want-prices” for digital downloads and keep a generous portion of their sales.

Since then it’s been the platform of choice for self-releasing artists who opt out of digital distribution.

To help expose the best of the catalog, Bandcamp started an ambitious editorial program in the mid 2010s.

Called Bandcamp Daily, the initiative employed top music writers to discover and expose unique new releases and contextualize them within notable musical niches.

Despite its near-universal popularity, Bandcamp’s editorial division couldn’t survive the company’s two successive acquisitions. New owners SongTradr notoriously laid off nearly 50% of its unionized workforce in 2023.

But despite the bad news, the extensive catalog and remaining editorial staff continue to help expose new music to new listeners.

3. ChatGPT

This one may sound a little strange, but hear me out.

ChatGPT is one of the best ways to discover music if you know how to use it correctly.

If you’re a pro user, you likely have access to Custom Instructions.

These can help tailor the way GPT-4 responds to your prompt so that you get more useful answers to your questions.

It may require a shift in your thinking about music recommendation to get the most out of it.

But, try asking ChatGPT directly what you’d like to hear. Don’t be afraid to ask for specifics that might seem outlandish, GPT-4 will try its best to recommend something!

4. Discogs

Crate digging culture was a key factor in the development of early hip-hop and techno. It’s easy to see why.

There’s something captivating about combing through piles of old LPs in search of the perfect, untouched sampling gold.

Discogs takes the dollar vinyl bin experience into the digital age with an exhaustive database of recorded music products.

You’ll find the rarest imports and private pressings alongside newly pressed audiophile vinyl

And if you’re in the market to collect, Discogs maintains a robust marketplace for just about any physical release ever produced.

If pouring over liner notes and sifting through esoteric release formats is your idea of a musical rabbit hole, you’ll find an unlimited fix in the depths of Discogs.

5. Shazam

Ever heard a great song in your favorite cafe?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you no longer have to awkwardly ask the barista what’s playing to save it to your library.

Shazam and other music identifier apps can listen through your phone speaker and identify the music that’s playing in your environment.

It lets you bring music discovery into your everyday life as you move through the world.

Once you get in the habit you’ll find opportunities in unexpected places. It trains your ears to always be on the lookout!

🧠 Hot tip

Digital assistants on your mobile device such as Siri can respond to requests to identify music directly. All you have to do is say, “Hey Siri, what song is playing?”

6. New music radio

Radio is the original home of music discovery.

Before the format was consolidated in the 90s, it was common for local DJs and radio personalities to break new and completely unknown artists to regional cohorts of listeners.

There are still pockets of discovery-focused music radio that can be found today, mostly on public radio stations.

One excellent example is New York Public Radio’s long-running New Sounds program hosted by John Schaeffer.

Guided by their genre-agnostic, algorithm-free mission, New Sounds focuses on creative and artistic music from a wide range of contemporary disciplines.

You’ll find modern jazz and classical compositions alongside new recordings of folk music from across the globe as well as curated selections from modern left-field hip-hop and pop.

Discover your new faves

Music discovery is as advanced as it’s ever been in 2023.

If you’re due for some refreshing new influence, you couldn’t have better tools at your disposal with what’s available right now.

Whether you’re looking to explore uncharted territory or simply find more of your favorite stuff, try these music discovery tools for new fresh finds.

Michael Hahn

Michael Hahn is an engineer and producer at Autoland and member of the swirling indie rock trio Slight.

@Michael Hahn

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