How do old people find new music
February 3, 2018 10:16 AM   Subscribe

I have become a Typical Old Person and don't listen to a lot of new music. I've tried Spotify weekly playlist thing and it's okay--but there's got to a better way to find new music, because I don't have this problem with books or movies or music or videogames. Ideas?
posted by Automocar to Media & Arts (42 answers total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
When you say "new," do you mean new releases, or new to you?

I don't think losing track of new releases is an old person thing. I think it's the way the internet has changed music advertising and distribution. You're just not going to hear this stuff unless it's part of your social scene or unless you seek it out.

For new releases, I like

Hype Machine
Bandcamp, especially Bandcamp Daily if I'm not browsing related artists
Afropop Worldwide and other music blogs/review sites

But also often use Spotify or Pandora playlists. I'll pick someone relatively recent as the seed and see what it suggests. It often is a few years old but I'm not really worried about being behind the curve.

I find a lot more new music now than when it was mostly radio, TV, or browsing the weird corners of the record shop.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:29 AM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

TOP here as well. I have always liked current music and don't like oldies or the dreaded "classic rock"...gah. I mean, I heard it enough back then, don't need to hear it all day every day 40 years later, ya know? What is up with that? I have Google Home and simply say, "Ok, Google, play some music" and it's very often spot on in finding what I like. GH also plays any I Heart Radio station in the country (other assistants may as well, but I am not familiar with them), so I googled around to find stations all over the country that play the kind of music I like (twee, indie stuff with some mainstream "rock" thrown in...(not sure how to classify mainstream bands like Imagine Dragons or 21 Pilots but that sort of thing as opposed to pop...)) and I ask GH to play them. My fave way of all of finding new is zeroing in on what I like, going to the Google Play station online and look through the stations, and asking GH to play those as well. For example, Crowd-Pleasing Indie is my current fave. I've discovered tons of new music this way.
posted by the webmistress at 10:35 AM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Reddit as a whole is an abomination, but a lot of the smaller musical subreddits are perfectly civil and good for keeping up with new music. Basically every subgenre has a subreddit, some more active than others: r/hiphopheads is good for deep-diving new hip-hop, r/metal has a pretty comprehensive list of contemporary metal, etc. For a more general overview, r/listentothis is broad in scope and organized by genre, and is also comprised of entirely new music.

I just sort by top submissions for the week or month and check out a few things. The commentary is usually meh but I've found it is good for finding new artists.
posted by joechip at 10:36 AM on February 3, 2018

For me, it's a combination of reading specialist music websites (Drowned in Sound is great for indie, with a UK bias; Resident Advisor for electronic/dance; The Quietus for an extremely eclectic mix; Pitchfork if you really must), listening to the radio (BBC 6Music is a permanent fixture in our house; KEXP and KRCW in the US) and paying attention when something comes on that I like; getting recommendations from my local record store (yes, they still exist and yes, the people running specialist ones will get to know you and will have a good sense of if-you-like-that-try-this); and yes, Spotify Discover playlists, but it takes a while for Spotify to get to know you.

The other thing is, there's no quick and easy guaranteed way to find new stuff you'll like - but spending time deliberately exposing yourself to new music and being prepared to accept that some of it you'll hate, some you'll think is alright will mean very occasionally finding your new favourite band.
posted by parm at 10:38 AM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I listen to the All Songs Considered podcast. Not everything they play is to my taste, but all of my new favorites I have found in the past 5 years have come from them. They play a pretty wide variety of music and I can passively listen while I am doing other things and just kind of wait for the brilliant songs to find me.
posted by August Fury at 10:44 AM on February 3, 2018 [9 favorites]

Honestly, I find most of my new music on here. When someone asks a music question and I listed to a few of the answers, I usually find something I like. Then, back on Spotify, I'll listen to the radio playlist for that song or look through the related artists list for that artist.
posted by dawkins_7 at 10:47 AM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you still use Spotify, here are a few playlists that may contain some good stuff:
BBC Radio 6
The Quietus

When you do find something you like, exploring the Related Artists or listening to the Artist Radio for that artist is often a good way to find additional new things.

One thing I do find with Spotify is that you need to be constantly trying out new things for the automatic playlists (Daily Mix / Discover Weekly) to stay fresh. If you're not exploring proactively, the playlists seem to settle into a mix of stuff you already know - which I guess is a feature for a lot of people.
posted by pipeski at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

College radio stations still exist and can be streamed online. The music is new, but there's still a human DJ playing the tracks. Here's one I like (but I'm biased because it's where I went to school).
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm 64, and new-new music comes to me from movie soundtracks, YouTube videos (i.e., background music to a vid about some topic) or Sound Hound (i.e., I hear something catchy in a restaurant and use the app to identify it). Also, AskMeFi music threads (as dawkins_7 said). Plus Prime Music play lists and asking Echo to play some genre (I skip a lot until I find something).

If you mean new (to you, but not new to others), it's only been in the last year or two that I heard the Rolling Stones "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" which is currently a favorite (how'd I miss it in 1971 when I was 18?)...this was found on Amazon Prime Music.
posted by forthright at 11:00 AM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

The "What's in my Bag" series from Amoeba Music (L.A. record store) is great - they get musicians in who do a bit of shopping and talk through what they've chosen. I've discovered new stuff, re-discovered old favourites, discovered old stuff I'd never heard before, and it's sent me down various rabbit holes to discover new stuff on my own as well.
posted by cilantro at 11:10 AM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites] Is a former pirate radio station that went legit in Portland. They do live streams and store weekly shows for a week or two. They have lots of really good genre specific shows. I’ve found myself listening to new stuff from reggae to Bollywood tracks since they’ve started up.

Some favorites are Beaches (soul r&b; beach tracks loosely defined), Radio Bandelero (psychedelic and world music), mr ghost goes to town (offbeat pop from the 40s on out), encyclopedia sound (Afro-Latin everything)....really, their DJs on Saturdays and Sundays are all pretty phenomenal. You’ll get a good mix of new and old, and some really obscure stuff too. On the weekends we just let it ride. I’ve found some of my favorite music listening to that station. The quality and breadth is really beyond what I’ve heard on most independent stations.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:16 AM on February 3, 2018

As paper chrom mentioned: seek out your local college radio station. If you don’t have one, I’ll humbly suggest WTMD in Baltimore - they have a slick and easy to use app too. Or, if you want, you can send me a PM with some things you like and I’ll give you some suggestions! Good luck and have fun!
posted by stinkfoot at 11:17 AM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're free on Tuesday nights, try streaming The New Music Machine.
posted by JanetLand at 11:41 AM on February 3, 2018

BBC Radio music then pick a genre from the "filter by" drop down menu. So many shows.
posted by Botanizer at 11:47 AM on February 3, 2018

My methods are pretty similar to forthright's: I use Tunefind a lot to find out what music played on TV or movies I watch, and find 'new' bands that way. I use Pandora to get suggestions for bands similar to my existing tastes. I bounce around Youtube music videos a lot, especially when I'm working, (their algorithms are notoriously horrid for many things, but work fine for music IMO).

I also fall back on music as a small-talk topic with friends and family, and sometimes get pleasant surprises there too.
posted by mordax at 12:08 PM on February 3, 2018

I'm an OLD and I listen to independent radio and then also sift through year-end "Best Album" lists.

If I'm in a car I'll tune in to WFMU or WFUV. I stream both of those as well as The Current- when I'm at my desk.
(You can tell I'm old because I by at least 15-20 new CDs a year. Full albums only. None of that digital download stuff for me.)
posted by stagewhisper at 12:09 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Live shows. I like a range of styles and I know the venues that book those kinds of acts. It is inexpensive and intimate to see a band when they are just starting out, and it's fun to be with other people, and everything sounds good live. Our venue where the orchestra plays books all kinds of acts so I go there if I want to push myself a bit and hear something different.
posted by headnsouth at 12:25 PM on February 3, 2018

They're currently offline after a server upgrade, but keep your eye on Boil the Frog. You plug in any two musical artists (seriously--any two), and it creates a playlist that moves through genres and trends to link the first artist you put in to the second one. Thematically, lyrically, artistically, whatever -- I've found a LOT of music I would never have encountered otherwise by putting in, say, Beethoven to Lady Gaga, or Gladys Knight and the Pips to Fiona Apple, or Phil Ochs to Nine Inch Nails.
posted by tzikeh at 12:27 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I've made some great discoveries by browsing through the AV Club's AVC Sessions and AV Undercover.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:53 PM on February 3, 2018

I still listen to the radio (I found a really cool one on the street...real wood sides...tubes, etc)...that's how I just discovered this really hot new Katy Perry song...that came out 9 years ago. :/ Hey, it's new to me... :D
posted by sexyrobot at 1:11 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

ABC Australia's young people focused radio station, JJJ, is available online and is strongly focused on discovering and promoting new music. They have different shows through the day, might be worth a listen.
posted by glitter at 1:33 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I get most of my leads from Austin City Limits though it tends to be more country and folk
posted by canoehead at 2:17 PM on February 3, 2018

Wednesday evenings they run a voted-upon top 20 tracks on The Current (Minneapolis) that you might consider listening to; previous broadcasts are available.
posted by mr. digits at 3:39 PM on February 3, 2018

Every two months or so I create a Spotify playlist from the top 50 or so albums on metacritic then weed out the ones I don’t like as I listen in the car. Typically end up with a couple of albums this way, and I like this approach because it exposes me to a bit of everything. If anyone knows of a way to automate the playlist generation I’d love to hear about it.
posted by doctord at 3:56 PM on February 3, 2018

I don't have the patience to listen to song after song I don't care about to find one I do like. Every few days I flip through the app's For You suggestions to literally hear what people 30 years younger than me think is cool enough to build their music videos on. Each musically video is 15 seconds, so this suits my short attention span. When I find something I like, I look up the original on YouTube.

This pretty much only works for pop but whatever, pop is popular for a reason.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:16 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. (There is a good playlist if you search Spotify — and YouTube playlists)
posted by starman at 4:22 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I still like to buy my music on physical media. I check out new releases on places like AllMusic (where I discovered First Aid Kit a couple of weeks ago), No Depression (hey, there's a new Wood Brothers album!), and sometimes Rolling Stone and Spin. If I run across something that sounds good, I'll often check it out on Spotify before buying.
posted by maurice at 4:43 PM on February 3, 2018

Like @stagewhisper, I go through various best music lists at the end of every year and listen to everyone I don't know.
posted by cnc at 5:55 PM on February 3, 2018

We’ve been streaming KUTX (Austin, Tx) lately and it’s a great mix of newer stuff and alternative/college stuff from the last ~25 years - so we pick up new music but also hear a fair amount of like the Talking Heads.
posted by Mid at 6:36 PM on February 3, 2018

Morning Becomes Eclectic needs a podcast....
posted by lalochezia at 7:37 PM on February 3, 2018

I don't have the patience to listen to song after song I don't care about to find one I do like.

Me either, so most of the methods people use don't work for me.
Plus most sources really concentrate on only a few genres.

I find most of it by reading. When I find something I like I search the internet and try to find connected artists. I search for descriptive terms.
I've used emusic for many years and browse their categories. They used to have a good recommendation feature years ago that got me started on a lot of people, but it's long gone.

I browse and listen to samples, but I make a decision literally within seconds. If I think something sounds interesting I just buy it to give it more time.

The interesting outcome of this is that I have no idea about the popularity of a lot of things. I have things in my iTunes that I've listened to for years, and realize when I try to look them up I can't find anything about them. And other things I think are relatively obscure that aren't.

My wife does it the mostly the old fashioned way, going to used CD stores and ebay and buying 99 cent CD's at random.
posted by bongo_x at 7:54 PM on February 3, 2018

I follow the Guardian's music page in my RSS reader, I go one category further just to get the RnB, but there are all genres.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:18 PM on February 3, 2018

I like Spotify's Release Radar playlist better than the Discover Weekly one. Similar concept/algorithm, but centered on new releases, and often new stuff from the artists in your other playlists or that you listen to regularly.

I also dabble in Soundcloud and Youtube for this. On Soundcloud, follow some of the labels/artists you like, then new stuff will show up in your stream. Youtube for channels like NPR music, Tiny Desk Concerts, etc.

And lastly, I get on the mailing lists of genre-specific record shops who send weekly release mailings. I particularly like the format Boomkat follows: they pick out around 20 top new releases, include genre info, artwork, and description, w/ links to the site (w/ audio clips). Easy to scan through all in just a minute or two, and pop open a few browser tabs if interested enough to listen to the clips.
posted by p3t3 at 9:44 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you're still on Spotify, find someone who shares your taste in music and follow some of their playlists. Many radio stations and magazines have new music playlists on Spotify too.
posted by miche11e at 12:34 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you tried any of the stations on There is a wide variety and I'm sure you could find something to your taste.
posted by james33 at 7:37 AM on February 4, 2018

I came here to recommend NPR Music. Others have already mentioned All Songs Considered, and Tiny Desk Concerts. In addition to those, NPR's First Listens are a great resource (where they stream new releases a week or two before the release date).
posted by JonathanB at 7:49 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

A little late to the game, but to continue on the Bandcamp theme -- be sure to try out the 'discover' feature that lets you browse trending and artist-recommended albums by genre.

I could also vainly recommend a monthly podcast I put together called EarsOpen. I try to keep it pretty eclectic, with a lot of music you can find on Bandcamp or otherwise online.
posted by kmkrebs at 4:01 PM on February 4, 2018

The greatest thing I've ever found is youtube. Go there, search on something you like, go down the rabbit hole of concerts and behind the music documentaries, and then come back later for recommendations. You can watch each song for as long as you like and then go on.

As others mentioned, NPR's tiny desk series is a great place to start (they're on youtube as well).

If you play an instrument and are curious how to play a given song, there are often tutorials on youtube giving all the details. Or some young teenaged virtuoso playing it note for note in their bedroom.

It's an amazing resource.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 4:38 PM on February 4, 2018

KEXP Podcasts
KCRW Eclectic24
posted by matildaben at 6:06 PM on February 4, 2018

So many good suggestions. For me:

1. Every Friday, hit up Spotify's This Week's Releases playlist (several dozen key releases, all genres, selection criteria is stuff that's been reviewed on a range of major sites).

2. Add to a 'too listen' playlist: any albums by artists I know I like; any artists from genres I prefer with a rating of over 80 on Metacritic; any albums from genres I'm not so keen on with a rating over 85. Add any albums that have been recommended by friends, or on Drowned in Sound (there's usually a 'new albums this week' thread). Also anyone I'm curious about or is big enough culturally that I want to know about them even if I think I won't like them.

3. Check the Flying Out (the shop associated with the Flying Nun label) weekly email for any albums by New Zealand artists that I've missed. Also check the Wellington library's music blog for any Wellington artists.

4. See what bands are touring in the next few months and find recent albums by them.

By this stage I have at least 8 or 10 albums, and they go into the rotation. It sounds time consuming but only really takes a few minutes a week.

[Example, recently I've added Aimee Mann (good reviews), Priests (recommended on Drowned in Sound), First Aid Kit (already like them), Alex Cameron (touring), King Krule (friend recommended), Salad Boys (Flying Out recommended), etc]
posted by Pink Frost at 1:19 AM on February 5, 2018

You didn't mention whether you're more interested in actively or passively finding new music. A lot of the methods suggested would be exhausting to me, so I get new songs more opportunistically, like forthright and mordax, above. In addition to their methods, when I'm watching a show on Amazon prime, if I pause during a good song, its name shows up on the left hand side.
posted by mabelstreet at 5:56 PM on February 5, 2018

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