On Finding New Music
I was really happy to learn about the Search Engine podcast. It's hosted by P. J. Vogt – one of the guys behind the also quite good and yet defunct Reply All. Each week he attempts to answer a question. And they're a lot of fun.
In catching up with episodes from last year the "how am I supposed to find new music now that I'm old and irrelevant?" one caught my eye.
Interesting hearing how you form an emotional attachment to music in your teens and early twenties. By the time you hit your thirties it's harder for new things to stick, and you gravitate more to the things that made up the soundtrack to your youth. And it's true, I find myself still listening to those formative years a lot.
I didn't agree 100% with the narrative that it's hard to discover new music these days. In many ways I think it's a lot easier than it ever was. That's probably worthy of a post in and of itself actually. The kids these days have no idea how easy they've got it.
In 2006 I discovered last.fm. Keeping track of everything I listen to was immediately appealing to me and something I continue to this day. But it was so much more than that. It was one of the early social sites. You had neighbors. Like minded individuals who shared the same taste in music. Being nosy about what they had listened to was all part of the fun. last.fm also had one of the first recommendation engines giving users their first introduction to a lot of new bands. It changed the game somewhat.
Fast forward to 2024 and I've been fully invested in the music streaming lifestyle for a number of years now. Spotify is actually pretty good with recommendations. The 'Discover Weekly' playlist comes out every Monday which I've found to be a goldmine. Also if you're listening to a band there will be an insta-playlist generated called, say, 'Depeche Mode Radio' made up of bands that are similar. Taking what last.fm pioneered and raising it a level.
So I'd say we've got it pretty good if you know where to look. It sure beats taping Radio One in my bedroom on a Sunday Evening as a 14 year old. Good heavens, remember when the radio actually played good music?
As a closing side note, PJ thinks he's old. He's 37. Oh you Millennials.