I get this question a lot: Where do you find new music?
My answer: Blank stare.
Silence is almost never a satisfactory answer. I’m forced to come up with words.
“Well, I’m alive and I have functioning ears, so…”
Asking where I get my music is like asking where I get my oxygen. I’m alive and my lungs work. It’s reflexive and life-sustaining.
As it turns out, not everyone has the same priorities as I do. (This can come as a shock when you’re 23.) Some people put more conscious, deliberate thought into finding new music, and therefore might benefit from some tips. They need the equivalent of an iron lung for their auditoricampus — the music-discovery brain part I just made up.
So here I go, breaking down and examining my music intake. Below are some of my best habits and sources. Breath easy.
I mean, come on. There’s a reason this internet radio station is named for the Greek myth. Open it up and unleash the music on your world. It’s a good way to ease into finding new bands, since your starting point is picking a band or song you already like. You get a cushion of familiarity around the new stuff, not to mention this is all pretty passive.
My favorite station is The Strokes station. Because wow. Just try it.
The collaboration rabbit hole
This is definitely the most active way I find music, and the only one that requires a concerted effort. If you choose to journey down the collaboration rabbit hole, know that things might get weird.
Better to demonstrate than explain this one. Kanye West’s “Runaway” — I like that song, and it features Pusha T, so I’ll look him up. That might lead me to “Trouble On My Mind,” which it turns out I’m also into. Tyler, the Creator is on that track so I’ll Google him (careful, now). “She,” which features Frank Ocean, is really good. Time to look him up.
And on, and on, and — hey, a white rabbit!
OK, I already knew all of those guys, but I didn’t want to risk disappearing into unknown territory right now. Also, this works particularly well with hip hop because everyone is guesting on everyone else’s records and mixtapes.
Chances are you’re spending some time every day on Facebook and/or Twitter. That means you’ve got at least one platform that can feed you music.
On Twitter, all you need to do is follow music blogs, magazines, music reporters, bands, and record labels. Some of my best sources are publications, like Stereogum (@sterogum), SPIN (@SPINreviews), and Pitchfork (@pitchforkmedia), for example. And here comes the shameless self-promotion — you can follow me (@AshaleyJill).
Facebook won’t necessarily offer a constant flow of music, but if you and your friends are on Spotify, the social network nicely integrates that app so you can play music as it shows up on your feed. Nice and simple. Let’s hope your friends have good taste.
Social music, old school-style
Speaking of friends, those people you like also exist in the real world, where they have conversations, iPods and record collections.
This is the most obvious suggestion of all, but just ask and follow up with the answers. Next time your bro is cranking something excellent in the car, dowload the artist later instead of forgetting who it was (it was totally Professor Murder, by the way). You could also get a little more aggressive and browse his iPod for something new or bug him to make you a mix. This is how people functioned pre-internet. Crazy, right?
See? It’s pretty damn easy. Now go forth and listen.