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The Wrong Side Of 30

On discovering new music

Vahishta Mistry Dec 06, 2012
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Photo: SoundCloud

Is it just me or is it getting harder and harder to find good music becoming popular these days? Sure there’s good music out there, we’ve all heard it ”“ but more often than not, that next big song is more likely to be some random number that makes it big more as a spectacle than because it’s a great piece of music. 

My hypothesis is that this is due to music being harder to find. You have to admit, it used to be a lot easier. There was a time when all you had to do was turn on the radio or pick up a music magazine (are you happy, now, Rolling Stone? That’ll be 30 pieces of silver) and you’d be plugged in to whatever your generation was listening to.

Nowadays, though, you need to be the equivalent of a miniature electronic warfare station, constantly monitoring Twitter feeds, music news websites, YouTube and SoundCloud (and all their millions of clones) in order to find the next big song. Of course, some people love doing this and thrive on it – there are geeks everywhere, and more power to them, says I! For someone like me though ”“ a more, middle of the road, shall we say ”“ kind of listener, there seriously needs to be an easier way to find new music.

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It sometimes appears so random (“Gangnam Style”? “Kolaveri”? “Call Me Maybe”?) that it’s not hard to picture a secret cabal of evil underground music studio executives plotting the release of the next big viral sensation. (You know they’re really evil because they let Honey BooBoo become a thing.)

I’m a persistent sort of fellow, however, and so I’ve found a few solutions. Please note, your mileage may vary ”“ these are the things that have worked for me and they may not be as helpful for you.

 a)      Internet radio: I listen to Tunein.com and usually find great music there ”“ their 90s alternative streams are great for nostalgia trips, but their Indie Underground showcase is not bad either. I find myself usually listening to GotRadio or HotHits (If I’m in a self-punishing sort of mood) on TuneIn. It’s also great for driving, since it absolves you of the responsibilities of playlist creation.

b)      SoundCloud: The advantage with SoundCloud is also its disadvantage ”“ it’s super easy to use. This means that while it attracts a lot of good talent, the chaff of the world is already drawn to it. I like to call SoundCloud the DevianArt of the audio world. And it really is ”“ you’ll find great artists rubbing shoulders with utter hacks. The great artists make up for it, in my opinion. My suggestion to use SoundCloud truly well and discover some NEW music is to use the genre picker on the home screen and listing to everything that it suggests.

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c)       Blogs: Find a few (no more than one or two) bloggers who have similar tastes as you (this is the hard part) and follow them religiously.

d)      Gigs: For good local music, I can’t recommend anything better than gigs. Go out and experience the music! And if the band or artist sucks, have a drink. It’ll get better, I promise!

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