A Technics record play with no record on the turntable.

Where is New Music?

There’s nothing on the record player.

I’ve already discussed how difficult it is to discover new music in December and January.

Almost nothing gets released until about now. As I write this, the new Sleater Kinney record is due out in a few days. Thanks to the NPR First Listen series I’ve been blasting that along with Belle & Sebastian’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance.

There used to be a great service called "Your Next Favourite Band" or something like that. It used your Last FM library and some other available music genome type things. I can’t find it anymore. I think at some point Last FM changed its API and the site stopped working.

It was through that website, though, that in 2007 I discovered the band Mission of Burma, having never heard them on the radio, as far as I was aware.

For a while now it’s been true that I’ve chosen to seek out music other than what was already in my library.

The problem with my Mission of Burma anecdote is that I was shown a band I missed 25 years prior. The website identified a hole in my library but not an opportunity to be a part of something new.

When I was a music reviewer at university and for all the years I was a radio DJ, new music would be delivered straight to my pigeon hole. Once a week I used to just take home a bunch of CDs and listen to them while doing other work.

Some music would sink in and stay. Other music drifted into a forgotten corner of the shelf.

Once I left radio I left the world of having new music literally handed to me every week, but I still listened to the radio and could use the discovery of others to guide me.

And then in about 2008 I stopped listening to the radio.

NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’ podcast has helped me find new music over the past few years, but it’s not enough when no music in my library can currently be played.

Sticking with podcasts, I investigated a few. One of the issues with music podcasts is that they rely more on the copyright availability than the contemporary-nature of the music.

I found one release, though, called Insomnia Radio: Daily Dose which releases a new song every weekday, usually from upcoming albums or EPs.

Meanwhile I’m also trawling through reviews in Pitchfork and All Music.

One of the barriers I face, though, is knowing whose opinion to trust. It’s just one of many barriers to finding new music.

Do you have any suggestions? Please let me know in the comments.

Next up: The barriers new music must overcome.

4 thoughts on “Where is New Music?”

  1. Song Exploder has a weekly Tiny Letter that delivers links to five songs each week. WXQR’s Meet The Composer podcast is good for introducing you to new, contemporary classical music & it can be worth keeping tabs on NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts. The net labels and music blogs with free tracks like Better Propaganda seem to have declined but I’m sometimes rewarded for wandering through bandcamp/soundcloud.

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