The Best Services and Platforms for Finding New Music

A man is in ecstasy as he listens to brand new music.
Ranta Images/Shutterstock

Even with the “discover” playlists on your streaming service, finding new music you actually like can be hard. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources for finding new music, and some of them are more fun than you’d expect.

Most of these music discovery methods are pretty simple. While you could spend a few hours diving into the abyss for new music, you could also make music discovery an occasional 10- or 15-minute activity. Simply get your ducks in a row (bookmark some websites, follow some playlists, etc.), and skim through them whenever you want to find some new artists.

We also suggest keeping playlists of music you want to listen to. That way, you’ll be able to take your time going through new artists, and you won’t have to remember what you need to listen to.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the best services and platforms for discovering new music.

Subscribe to a Streaming Service

Two phones display the Spotify and Apple Music logos.
nikkimeel/Shutterstock

Streaming services host the music you listen to, so they’re a convenient place to find new music. Most streaming services track what you listen to and use algorithms to predict what kind of music you might like on radio stations or generated playlists.

If you’ve only tried to search for music on one platform, then maybe it’s time to expand your horizons. Here’s a list of solid streaming services, along with some info on how to use them as a music discovery service:

  • Spotify: Spotify has some great playlists for discovering music. Some of them, like the RapCaviar and Fresh Finds playlists, are curated for music discovery. Others, like the Discover Weekly playlist, are attuned to your listening habits and taste.
  • Apple Music: Like Spotify, Apple makes it easy to find new music. You can look at curated playlists (like New Music Mix) from the For You page, or listen to music from the Beats 1 integrated radio.
  • Soundcloud: It’s easy to find new and undiscovered music on Soundcloud. Simply check the  Soundcloud charts, or adjust your genre preferences in the Soundclound settings to get curated listening suggestions.
  • Bandcamp: Bandcamp is a service where independent artists can upload their music. It’s packed with all kinds of great music, and it’s easy to get lost finding new artists on the Bandcamp Discover page.
  • Pandora: Pandora’s straightforward interface makes it great for discovering new music. Just listen to some of Pandora’s pre-made playlists, or have the app build you a playlist around an artist, song, or genre.
  • JQBX: JQBX integrates with Spotify so that you can share and listen to music with friends or strangers. Simply join a listening party, hop in the DJ chair, and show off your tunes.
  • Last.fm: Last.fm was one of the first internet radio services to make music suggestions through the use of algorithms. While it’s not the best service for listening to music, you can integrate Last.fm into services like Spotify to reap the benefits of its music recommendations.

If you’re not happy with what you’ve found on Spotify, Apple Music, or one of the other streaming services, then maybe it’s time to look at some extra-curricular music discovery platforms.

Watch Shows or Listen to Podcasts

A screenshot of NPR's Tiny Desk webpage.
NPR

Music hunting is hard, but shows like NPR’s Tiny Desk make it a fairly enjoyable experience. You just sit back, go through a playlist, and watch some new artists lay it out live. Invite some friends over, and you’ve just created a killer listening party.

Of course, Tiny Desk isn’t the only live music show out there. Here’s a few music shows and podcasts you can use to discover new music:

  • NPR Music: NPR’s reputation in the music world is unmatched. The station’s All Songs Considered podcast is great for learning about and discovering new music, and its Tiny Desk concerts are famous for bringing old and new artists into the limelight.
  • Live on KEXP: KEXP radio’s YouTube channel is a fantastic resource for finding new music. Like NPR’s Tiny Desk, this YouTube channel is full of long, intimate performances from a range of artists.
  • Jam In The Van: Want to watch musicians play live in a van? Jam In The Van travels around the country, catching live performances from local bands along the way.
  • BBCRadio1VEVO: The BBC films live performances from a variety of popular musicians, like Khalid and Harry Styles.
  • q on CBC: A small, intimate show for interviews and live performances. This show has a great selection of Soul and R&B artists, along with a few rock groups.

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