How do people find out about new music?

Ok, this is a naive question your mother (or more likely, your grandmother) might ask. So sue me.

In the past, there were top-40 radio stations, variety TV shows, and later MTV where you could hear the latest music. Or you could go to record stores or record departments of big stores and see/hear/buy the latest stuff.

From what channels/sources do people find out about the latest pop music now? How do people keep up with music?

(Aside: I remember going with my mother to a record store in Buffalo, NY in 1964 to buy the 45 of the Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand. I had heard them on the Ed Sullivan Show and fell in love. She liked them, too, God bless her. My father didn’t like their haircuts. :roll_eyes: )


Of course, there’s still plenty of radio stations around, but I have it on good authority (my 8 year old god daughter) that YouTube is go-to.

That occurred to me. I watch YouTube all the time for various things. Ask your 8-year old how you specifically find new artists and new material on YouTube?

The top-40 stations and MTV curated material (by hook or by crook, sometimes the latter) before they presented to the public. YouTube has everything just piled in all together – cooking, travel, religion, TED Talks, pets, news, etc.-- how do you find the latest music in that hodge-podge? How do you know what artists to search for?

Wikipedia has lists of all the Grammy Award winners, as well as links to all the Top X charts, and I can and have spent time browsing through them.

Top-40 and new rock stations are still around, so you can listen to that. Spotify has new music playlists for every genre. I imagine Apple Music has the same. Pandora also has stations dedicated to every genre and it’s free.

I don’t listen to the radio anymore but I still hear it. People drive and listen to music on the radio, or they listen to it when I’m visiting. I hear it when I go shopping and when I get a haircut. (The barber is elderly, so he listens to a classic channel, but he could listen to something new if he liked.)

If I want to find music, Youtube seems to be the best place to go. (The audio-only sources all seem to hate my computer.) Of course I generally find old music this way. Presumably I could favorite the Vevo channel of a modern star and get new music videos as they come on line.

I personally use youtube and internet radio stations. Youtube has a lot of playlists of new music by different genres.

Also, the Audacy and iHeartRadio apps have new music streams, plus access to any radio station on their network in the country.

I listen to the radio when I drive. I have several stations whose music I like–local NPR, two pop, two contemporary/alternative.

I think it’s funny that you (the OP) mentions MTV as a source for new music. How long did they go between starting up and basically giving up on music? Maybe 10 years?

Six Music (Radio 6 Music - Listen Live - BBC Sounds) the BBC “alternative” radio station (basically aimed at old farts who are also music nerds) they do a good job of mixing stuff old gits remember from their days of being young and rebellious in the 80s and 90s, with a good range of upcoming independent music that the kids are into. does something similar – old new wave and current alternative music.

Once you start listening to anything via YouTube, it will start recommending videos based on what you just watched. Liking/Disliking videos (or marking them as Not Interested) and subscribing to favorite artists will help.

I get much of my new music off Spotify by pretty much the same method. Listen to stuff, say if I like it, get more stuff. It generates a weekly list of thirty songs it thinks you’ll like (with varying degrees of success) plus a separate channel of new releases based on your listening habits AND six daily stations based on your habits and nominally geared around select artists. Plus, of course, the option to just listen to the hottest new songs, though those rarely appeal to me.

Another comment about youtube - their suggestions algorithms can be helpful in finding new music and artists that may appeal to you. Just start listening to stuff you know and like, and suggestions for similar songs will appear on the list, likely based on what others with similar tastes have been clicking on.

I know some people find it creepy and intrusive, but I like it when YouTube (and amazon) suggest new videos, stuff, books based on what you’ve searched for and liked.

How else am I going to learn about stuff I never heard of five minutes ago but now I can’t live without?? :stuck_out_tongue:

I also like the amazon feature that suggests books/merchandise thusly, “People who bought A also bought B, C, D, etc.”

Howdy, fellow music lovers!

The tips on how to help YouTube help you find new stuff are excellent, IMO; that’s been one of my primary ways of finding new artists for more than a decade now.


So on this page that I’m about to link to, what you want to do is scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. The very bottom is the perma-links (About, Contact, etc.) but right before that is the DISCOVER section. Select genres and away you go!

There are hundreds of thousands of artists from all over the world selling their music directly to consumers. Every conceivable genre, style, etc. From big-name famous artists to people who busk in the streets and record in their bedrooms. Podcasts, kids stuff, spoken word, audiobooks; it’s all there. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on Bandcamp and never, not once, had a transaction go wrong in any way.

They also run feature articles about artists, genres, etc. to actively promote the artists that are on the site.

Highly recommend.

Some part of me still rebels against the idea of the system telling me what I should listen to. Another, more pragmatic, part of me realizes that the better the system is at nailing down my music preferences, the less time I need to spend listening to music I don’t like looking for something good.

Yes, great site/app. I always try to buy from Bandcamp, knowing that the artists get a bigger cut of the money there.

As for finding music, two other places:

  • I follow musicians I like on Twitter, and they’re often very good about giving the nod to other artists
  • a tip I got from a friend, I go to every few months and look at top-rated albums (say 78 and above), and try artists after scrolling through reviews

I wholeheartedly agree with Jophiel. I haven’t owned a radio for years, other than what comes with what car I own. I listen to satellite radio in the car, sans commercials. I’ve had to listen to that more since CD players were removed from vehicles. I own many CD’s (& LP’s). I have zero interest in streaming. I also have no interest in cramming a load of poor quality MP3’s onto a telephone.
I prefer to form my own tastes in music (a nod back to Jophiel) and have as long as I started taking music a bit more serious, probably about age 13 or 14. I’ve always scrutinized the covers of LP’s & later CD’s to see which musician was playing what instrument on which track, the producer & engineer. You get to recognize who’s playing you enjoy and can subsequently follow their careers and gradually add more names & so on.
Now-a-days many don’t seem to give a rats ass who the musicians are. Music to them is simply a commodity. Fine. There’s things I don’t care much about as well.
There’s lots of music magazines out there, as well as music related internet sites. But it helps to have an inkling what general music genre you’re after. Which brings forth another problem. The suits have so commercialized music that they’ve fitted it into countless categories. Look at Amazon Music new releases for example and pick a genre. Rock or Jazz, whatever. Within each you’ll find countless sub-categories. Who comes up with this?!
‘All Music’ can be a good source. Maybe you like a song from a film you’ve watched. Pay attention to the credits and then look up the artists name. That will likely lead you to similar musicians.
There’s loads of good new music out there but you won’t hear any of it by tuning into stations that use pretty much the same play lists the world over. They’re just like shopping malls. Same stores in the mall, doesn’t matter where on the planet you are. Today’s radio has one purpose; to sell crap to gullible people. Sadly, a good many of those people are about 12 years old. So guess what the music is that fills the air space between commercials.
How do you find new music? You’ve got to work at it a bit. At least to get started.

I’m fascinated that you see the suggestions and recommendations as “telling me what I should listen to!” (My emphasis, but that’s how I hear your statement.) Is it possible for you to explain that kind of rebellion?

I tend to see these nudges as, “we noticed you like chocolate-- have you heard of chocolate-dipped bacon, or chocolate-flavored toothpaste?” IOW here are things we think you might like. I don’t see even a teeny whisper of should in there.

I gravitate toward certain genres of books and types of food on amazon (for example). When I get a “we think you might like this…” book, coffee, gadget, dog food, underwear, makeup-- I like that. I admit I am an advertiser’s dream and I’m constantly curious about new things, new products, now solutions to old problems, etc.

Some interesting answers from the crowd! Thanks to all!