When I use music streaming services, such as Apple Music or Spotify, I often struggle to find new music. I consider "new music" to be music that I have not yet experienced rather than newly released music. It's a similar story of pain when I use services by Amazon Prime and Netflix for movies. The other evening I spent 30 minutes looking for a "new film", I couldn't find anything so I gave up.
When I'm looking for new music on Spotify I have to resist the safe option of searching for music by artists I am familiar with as this isn't experiencing "new music". When I'm browsing through Apple Music the bombardment of album artworks and album names makes the whole experience of finding new music almost impossible.
Recently, my neighbors introduced me to a new liberating way of discovering new music using music streaming services:
- Pick a word, any word - Enter that into the search
- Artist or Album?
- Pick a number between one and ten - Select the song that corresponds to the number in the search results
- Hit play (The song must be played in its entirety)
Artist Recommendations For You - No Thanks
This simple little trick of picking random words and numbers turned out to be a great way of discovering new music. Together we spent an entire evening listening to new music. Most of the songs that we played that evening using this tip we had not heard before. Interacting with Spotify this way meant we were not interfacing with the Spotify application in the usual painful way, instead, we disregarded the ways we are supposed to use the app in favor of our imagination and willingness to listen to new music.
We as musicians, songwriters, engineers, and mixers must frequently seek out and listen to "new music" in order to develop our musicianship. I used to find it very challenging finding new music, now it's as simple as picking a word at random. Sometimes, the simplest of ideas such as this one can make the biggest of differences.