Organizing your Music Discovery

I like music a lot. I enjoy listening to it, let it grow on me, let it define me for that moment. Maybe I build up a connection to a certain song because of my mood, or because of the memories I’ve attached to it over time.

Discovering music has changed a lot the last years. There are great online services helping you find amazing gems from all over the globe. But I realized one thing: this whole thing around timing and newness of music is slowly fading away. It’s not important anymore if you discover this band right after they released their new EP, or if you heard that song on the radio the first day it aired.

Here are a bunch of music discovery services I use myself in no particular order:

Music discovery has become more personal. It became more important to people when they heard a song for the first time, rather then when it was released. A great thing about this is that you can send a rather old song to a friend, but you’ll possibly spark a precious memory or give him/her something new. The song will then grow on that person from then on and it will be perceived as something new.

It has become quite hard to keep discovering interesting music, simply because the internet has become quite good at making music accessible. There is just too much out there!

Organize all the things (songs)

I’ve slowly started to organize my music consumption and discovery, but I wonder how it works for other people. Let me explain how I handle huge amounts of great music:

1. Discovery

I discover a song or an album on SoundCloud,  Thisismyjam, or a friend sends me a link. I’ll add the song to my Spotify queue or play it directly. If it’s a SoundCloud link or a song on Thisismyjam, I’ll try to find the song on Spotify. I know, with all these different services it often happens something is not in the Spotify catalogue yet, in that case I bookmark or like it on that respective platform or service.

2. Save to remember

I keep a playlist on Spotify to remember what great stuff I have been listening to this week. Some things might be queued up in there that I haven’t listened to yet but planned to do so. Some things might be bad, some things might be good. Most of the things are new to me. This playlist is always changing. I’m adding and removing things as I go, I regard it as music I have “on deck”:

Spotify playlist: This is what I’m discovering right now

3. Share the good parts

Share the things you like. I found out that when a song really hits me I want to share that feeling. I most likely know some people who might enjoy this song too (since they’re my friends our musical compatibility is quite high). This also creates a moment in my memory where I shared this song with this friend, it’ll likely come up in discussions later when we meet. Also, your friends might be happy that you shared that great song with them. They’ll appreciate the gesture and will probably do the same later when they run into a great song, everyone wins!

In this same mood I usually might find the artist on Songkick as well to track their concerts. Songkick then sends me an alert when the artist announced a tour in my city.

4. Add to collection

When an album does grow on me or I want to save it for later, I add it to my “collection”. This is just one big uncategorized playlist, but it works for me. I can scroll / browse through it, find the things I was looking for and give them a listen. I keep coming back to this list to find things to add to a new playlist, find that one record I used to play back in 2004, et cetera. Of course you can use whatever music services’ search function as well, but now I’ve applied my personal filter to the music. I’ve heard these songs before and they mean something for me.

Spotify playlist: Albums that Stick

5. Rinse and repeat

Music comes and goes. The first playlist shrinks and grows, helps me to keep track of my discoveries. The second list keeps growing, enriching my musical history. Of course not everything I’ve ever listened to is in there, for that there’s my listening history at Last.fm.

This has been the way I’ve been handling my music discovery, but I know it might not be ideal. There is still no default resource to find all the music you want and I know my method is quite Spotify-centered. Why don’t you add me on there to share a song or two? You can also find me on HypemThisismyjam and SoundCloud.

How do you handle your music consumption? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations? Please share them in the comments!