LISTENING TO MUSIC IN 2013: How Do You Discover New Music?

"How do you discover new music?"  

That was one of the questions on an online survey conducted by the Nielsen Company last year.  Here are the most popular answers to that question:
  • 48% discover music most often through the radio
  • 10% discover music most often through friends/relatives
  • 7% discover music most often through YouTube

HERC is curious how you would answer that question. Please email us here at The Hideaway (the address is close by) or, if you prefer, leave a non-Anonymous comment for possible publication or an Anonymous one for HERC's eyes only.

To kick off his series on Listening To Music in 2013, HERC is going to reveal how he discovers new music.  He knows he's preaching to the choir here so be sure to let him know if you have any tips or suggestions.

Happily, HERC does not discover music through the radio (unless you count Spotify and Songza as "radio"), from friends and/or relatives nor through YouTube.  He actively seeks new music out both online and in the real world.

1) HERC discovers new music through Spotify and Songza.  The playlist above - updated weekly - is where you can find most of the New Releases from the past 4-6 weeks all in one place.  But it does not feature ALL of the music newly available on Spotify as thousands of tracks are added daily, mostly Catalog releases.  

Spotify's library of songs (current population can be found hereis constantly changing, with content being added, deleted and added again, much to the frustration and joy of users.  Click on that link and the page above will appear.  Jer White (the man behind the curtain of the Pansentient League site) maintains a searchable list of music new to Spotify in addition to a Spotify track counter; as of this moment, that number stands at 27,025,677 - that's more than 27 times the number of tracks on Pandora.

HERC does not use Spotify Radio feature often but when he does, he drinks Dos Equis he has almost always discovered new (to his ears) music to listen to.  The fact that by simply "Liking" a song (touching or clicking on the upturned thumb onscreen) places it in a playlist called "Liked From Radio" makes it too easy to listen to that new music at a later time.  Try Starting Playlist Radio from your "Liked From Radio" playlist and see what happens.

Songza's Concierge can be hit or miss sometimes - right now HERC is not even remotely doing any of the six activities on the screen -but browsing through the Explore feature on his mobile device (or Browse All on ye olde PC) almost always yields immediate new music rewards, especially when he chooses playlists outside his comfort zone.  HERC enjoys listening to artists on Songza that have yet to appear on Spotify yet laments the fact that it is ultimately more time-consuming to curate a playlist in Songza.

2) HERC discovers new music by reading music blogs and *GASP* print magazines.  In his defense, he does plant a sapling for every magazine he reads as well as reuses or recycles every issue.  This accounts for the ever-growing miniature forest growing near the Hideaway as well as the nearly full recycle bin he hauls out to the main road just about every week.

Each Monday, HERC visits On The CD Front part of the Pause & Play site to see what it going to be released the very next day as well as scouting ahead for upcoming releases to be on the lookout for in the coming weeks and months.

Throughout the week, HERC hits up sites like Billboard, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone for mainstream music news (all three have an active presence on Spotify as well) and sites like thisisjohnbooksmusic and Pitchfork for less mainstream music news.

On Fridays, HERC hits up Val's List ("We help busy adults keep up with new music") and Al Kooper's New Music For Old People.   In Val Haller's own words: "I find the best cutting edge music for busy people. My taste is anything but Top 40. You won’t hear most of my selections on regular radio."  She's been providing ready-to-download iTunes playlists since 2007 and has been featured both in The Lefetz Letter in 2008 and O Magazine in 2012.  HERC made the playlist above featuring songs from Val's Vault: "A collection of Val's favorite tracks recycled from older playlists. If you're new to Valslist, catch up with these. Our old might be new to you!"  If you like what you hear, support the work of Val's List by downloading her playlists through her site.

HERC has written about Kooper's column a few times now on The Hideaway and for those of you who still don't know about it, each week he picks 10 tracks that he likes and recommends.  The music is from all genres and decades so technically it is not "new" per se but is "to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the '60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze... The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don't miss this. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD be!"  Just last week, he professed to downloading three fun. tracks before they deservedly won Grammys and even included "Some Nights" on his playlist. While Al provides a Grooveshark playlist each week, HERC curates the un-official Spotify playlist of Kooper's picks (above).

As for those print magazines HERC subscribes to?  Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Sound + Vision.  Sadly, not everything is on the web.


3) HERC listens to the music being played on TV shows, movies and commercials.  Out in public, he listens to the music being played in every store and restaurant.  When he hears a song he doesn't recognize, he fires up his SoundHound app and more than nine times out of ten, the app delivers knowledge.  (He tried Shazam but was disappointed.)

Your turn.  Tell HERC how you discover new music?  It doesn't have to be new releases, just new to you and your ears.  Or maybe better yet, how do you find good music to listen to?

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