I’m old enough to remember when my music collection consisted of a frayed CaseLogic book packed with compact discs. (Those are CDs to your teens and 20-somethings … They played music.) I can remember getting sick and tired of listening to the same old stuff all the time.

Today, we enjoy endless access to an ever-growing music landscape. But, sadly, I still get bored with my playlists from time to time. That boredom leads me to wonder how to find new music.

When I search for new music, I use 7 strategies. For anyone else out there who’s trying to branch out and find new stuff, use the ones that work for you.


1. Pandora

I feel like I’m one of Pandora’s biggest fans. Many others are fleeing for other streaming services, but I’m standing by this one. Maybe it’s because I’ve been using it for more than a decade.

Pandora is pretty simple: Just enter in a genre, song, artist or band, and it will fire up a playlist tailored to deliver similar music. It’s style that you know you love, but you gets songs and artists that perhaps you’ve never heard of.

The bummer about Pandora is the commercial interruptions. You can upgrade to commercial-less listening, if you want to spend money on music.


2. Spotify

Spotify isn’t necessarily new, but it’s recently become dominant in music streaming. I do have a premium Spotify account, which lets me listen without interruption. I can create my own playlists and listen to virtually whatever I want.

But we’re talking about how to find new music, right? Well, Spotify lets you do that, too, through its Discovery Playlists. Every week, I get a mix of new and fresh music added to my account. This is music I don’t know in the least, but it’s similar in some way to music that I often listen to.

I’ve found that I’m adding more and more to my library from my weekly Discovery Playlist. Also, Spotify offers Your Daily Mix, which includes playlists full of songs in your library plus new discoveries to try. Pandora was my original music discovery tool … but Spotify is quickly replacing it.


3. Indie Radio

Who listens to radio anymore? I do. There’s an indie station here in town that I absolutely adore. Yes, you get the traditional annoyances of radio, like incessant commercials for car dealerships and insurance companies. But, hey, everyone’s gotta make a buck somehow, right?

What I love about indie radio is that the DJs are super plugged into the new music scene. When something new and cool is available but not reaching a wide audience, indie radio typically has it in heavy circulation. Your town most likely has an indie radio station. Give it a shot.


4. Check the Venues

There’s nothing quite like listening to music live. I’m not talking about hitting a big arena to see Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift or Billy Joel. No, I’m talking about the far smaller venues that have multiple shows every week.

Admission is probably around $20 for general admission. So get in the door, grab a drink and make a night of it. The cool thing about these smaller venues is just how intimate they are. You can get as close to the stage as the crowd allows. And how knows, you may someday go see that same artist at a huge arena and be able to talk about seeing them before they got big.


5. Ask Around

Know someone who loves music? Ask them what they’re listening to. I love to have happy hour with one of my music-loving friends on a regular basis, and I make her show me the playlists she’s been listening to. This is a fantastic source of new music.

And share the love. Let others know what you’re listening to. A song or an artist that you may be growing tired of may be a dream come true to someone else.


6. Look at the Labels

Here’s a neat trick: Think of the artist or group you love most right now, then find out what record label they’re on. Record labels tend to work with similar artists, so you may find other groups you like just as much (that you’ve never heard of) by scanning a label’s roster.


7. Visit a Music Store?

Seriously, a music store? Is it between the arcade and the Orange Julius?

Yes, they still exist, and they are still staffed by some of the most knowledgeable music lovers around. Hit up a music store and ask what’s cool and new. In fact, music stores typically play what’s cool and new over their own stereo systems. Hang out in one long enough and you can Shazam songs that you like.


Final Thoughts on How to Find New Music

Here’s the thing about finding new music: You must be open-minded. So you like country or your like pop. That’s fine. But you may be surprised at how much you like a new hip-hop artist. There’s nothing more fun than exploring new genres and discovering, “Hey, I kinda like this … a lot!”

Let us know if you have an even better method for finding new music. Use the comments section below, or send a message through our contact form.