If you’re anything like me, then music is constantly the backdrop of your life. Obviously, this means that discovering new music on Spotify and other streaming services is crucial, because I can’t be listening to the same ol’ stuff day in and day out. I mean, I have playlists for everything: Shower playlists. Driving playlists. Rainy day playlists. Sunny day playlists. The playlist I made before my friend came over for dinner last Tuesday night. You get the gist.
In the words of one of my favorite indie-pop high school throwback bands, Cansei De Ser Sexy, music is my boyfriend — and finding new boyfriends, in this metaphorical sense, is one of my passions. I remember in high school, before we had slightly-creepy-but-also-pretty-helpful algorithms watching our every move, I used to have to exert a lot of time and energy discovering a steady flow of new music. I’d spend hours online scanning for mentions of new band names; Googling the lyrics of a cool song I heard in passing; asking friends what they’ve been listening to or begging them to make me a mix CD. Now, music streaming services like Spotify make discovering new music much easier.
If you have a Spotify account, you’re probably used to listening to (and making) playlists, or shuffling through the streaming service’s algorithmic song line-ups. But if you’re always on the hunt for fresh tunes that’ll knock your socks off, there are quite a few creative ways to use Spotify to find new music — and you may not have taken full advantage of them yet. These tips will have your library filling up with new and exciting artists in no time. Let’s get to sprucin’ up your autumn playlists, shall we?
1. Check Out "Related Artists"
I’m going to start with a feature that I personally use constantly to find new (or new-to-me) music that I love. You may have noticed that when you look up an artist on Spotify, there’s a tab called "Related Artists" that lists tons of sonically similar acts to the artist you’re looking up. Whenever I search for an artist that I’m really into, I take a peek at this section of their Spotify profile. Usually, it’ll list a lot of artists that I’m already into, so it’s awesome when there’s someone I’m less familiar with, as there’s a high chance that it’ll be up my alley. If you’re actively searching for some fresh artists to spruce up your music library, sit around and search the related artists to your already-favorites and see what comes up.
2. Take Full Advantage Of Your Home Page
Your home tab on the Spotify app isn’t just a placeholder for all of its other functions — it’s actually host to a great number of music-discovery features that will expose you to a ton of new, good stuff. While, yes, it has lots of playlists full of music you already like (such as the Spotify daily mixes, the "best-of" playlists of artists you listen to often, etc.), if you scroll through the various subsections you’ll find all sorts of themed Spotify playlists. Some are hand-picked (err, algorithm-picked?) for you based on what you listen to, and others are simply songs popular among Spotify users in general.
For example, some highlights from my home page (pictured above) include playlists created within specific genres that Spotify knows I enjoy, newly-released music from artists I like, and playlists of music that are similar to hand-made playlists I’ve already been listening to.
3. Test-Drive Spotify’s "Daily Drive"
For many people, the only time they have to focus on listening to new music is during their commute to and from work — and the smarties at Spotify figured this out. In summer 2019, the brand launched a new, personalized daily lineup of audio content called "Daily Drive," which includes music, podcasts, and daily news that’s algorithmically tailored to your tastes. The new Daily Drive programming "combines the very best of news talk shows, including the relevancy and personality of the hosts, with the best of audio streaming (on demand, personalized playing and discovery)," according to Spotify. "It combines music you love with relevant, timely world updates from reputable sources — all put together in a seamless and unified listening experience."
4. Discover Artists On "Discover Weekly"
While Spotify’s personalized daily mixes often include a lot of music that it knows you’ve already listened to, its personalized Discover Weekly playlists (which can be found under "Made For You") are designed to do exactly what they’re named for. "Discover Weekly is a playlist of songs we think you’ll love," Spotify wrote about the playlist. "Based on what you and those with similar music tastes listen to, it gets even better the more you use Spotify." Discover Weekly automatically updates with a new batch of personalized tunes every Monday, so make sure you listen each week and save the tracks you love before it refreshes.
5. Vibe Out With "Genres & Moods"
An oft-ignored part of my Spotify home page, Spotify "Genres & Moods" is actually an awesome tool when it comes to discovering new music. The playlists, which are generated by Spotify, offer a little something for everyone, based on (you guessed it) mood and genre. For example, under the Spotify Mood playlists, you’ll find playlists titled Life Sucks, Songs to Sing in the Shower, Boozy Brunch, Rage Beats, and so much more. Told ya there’s something for every occasion. Browse playlists by musical genre (indie pop), emotional state (crying), or activity (a long drive with friends) and find something new to jam out to.
6. Stalk Your Friends’ Listening Habits
Did you know that Spotify also functions as a social network of sorts? If you add your friends on Spotify (which is especially easy to do if your Spotify account is linked to your Facebook), you can track and follow what they’re listening to, browse their public playlists, and fully peep in on their musical headspace using the Spotify Friend Activity feature. Pretty cool, right? Instead of forcing your friends to burn mix CDs for you, like we would in ye olden days, simply lurk the heck out of their Spotify profile and see what catches your eye.
There you have it! There’s a whole wide world out there as far as music goes, and Spotify is making it way easier to discover a little bit more of it. Get ready for an autumn full of fresh n’ shiny new jams.
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