I’ve beat up on on-demand streaming music services before — Is Spotify unfair to musicians? — but this time I’m more upbeat. I’m hoping that with Spotify, Google Play, Slacker, Rdio, and so on, you’re less stuck in a groove and constantly getting turned onto new music you never dreamed you’d like. Is that true?
It was never easier to try new music on your timetable, so go ahead and sample Gregorian chants, bluegrass, disco, 1950s bebop, and Chinese folk songs. Fill your playlists with new sounds; the only possible downside is you’ll barely have time for Eminem, Pavement, or Beyonce. It’s the old kid-in-the-candy store scenario: you’re free to sample whatever you want, and there are no limits. Or do you stick with genres you’re comfortable with, and look for new artists there? Or explore your favorite bands’ back catalogs?
The streaming model doesn’t work for me — I use curated podcasts where DJs pick tunes and assemble segues that keep me on the edge of my seat. I’m a big fan of New Sounds and NPR’s All Songs Considered, two podcasts that turn me onto lots of music I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Over the last year or two I’ve warmed up to electronica, and I’m listening to a lot of world music — ’80s African pop is amazing. Go ahead, sample some of King Sunny Ade’s tunes — they’re mesmerizing.
What’s your favorite way to find new music? Or do you stick with what you know? When you hear a new band you really love, do you buy their music? Share your thoughts and discoveries in the Comments section.