How to find new music you like
Article updated: 2022-06-25
I'm an independent playlist curator, and in this article I will teach you how to discover new music that you will enjoy, on platforms like Spotify and other websites.
I will also give you a brief history of why it is hard today to find anything new, because of how search engines algorithms have evolved, with YouTube being the main subject.
Table of contents
YouTube used to be the best music discovery website
The early YouTube algorithm
Pre-2012 YouTube used to be my main music discovery website. Changes to it's algorithm ranking system made it close to impossible to keep using it.
I would go from finding news songs that I really like every few days, to one per week, to one per month.
Why is that?
The changes affect watch time and music is often in the 2 to 4 minute range.
Those short songs I would frequently find were mostly in the 1k-5k view range and would fill my suggested videos recommendations, alongside the occasional 1m+ video.
After the algorithm changes, all I would start to see is very long (1h+) popular videos flooding my recommendations, and an occasional small one. It felt like my whole watch history didn't matter anymore and YouTube just wants to feed me those compilations I don't care about.
I kept using YouTube for a while, but as I said before, the frequency at which I would find some new stuff would go down drastically.
The algorithm shifted, burying short and low view count music videos.
Today's algorithm is bad for new music
Today's algorithm will just show you whatever has the most watch time and therefore the most views, closely related to the video you are currently watching.
Unless you listen to very generic music genres, this doesn't work at all for niche genres.
To make you stay on the platform, YouTube will mostly recommend old videos that already performed well. The issue here is that you are not "discovering" a 15 year old music with over 100m views, and you probably heard all of them already.
The way the algorithm recommends you videos works directly against brand new music.
And to give you an idea about how much Google actually values music on YouTube: they made 2 separate platforms, Google Play (discontinued) and YouTube Music.
Yes, music discovery on YouTube is not a thing anymore.
How to discover new music in 2022
Community playlists introduction
There is something very similar among the 3 following platforms. It's called community playlists (a playlist made by an independent curator) and I will explain you how to use those playlists to find new music you never heard of.
I will take the keywords "Game OSTs" (O=Original, S=Sound, T=Track) as an example of the type of music you want to discover, and the game "Final Fantasy" as an example of what game music you already know about.
Note: Read the tutorial for the one you're already using or if you don't know which one to choose, I made an article about the best music streaming services and their pros and cons.
How to find new music on Spotify
After opening the Spotify website or launching the app, you can safely disregard everything you see and click on search in the left menu, then type your keywords "Game OSTs" in the search bar.
You will then see a top result, being most likely a playlist or an album. A few songs listed next to it. And multiple categories scrolling down (those categories now also appear in small tabs on top - June 2022 - Deezer had it first).
From there you can either scroll down until you see the word "Playlists" with a bunch or playlists listed horizontally. Or you can click on the top playlist tab (above the "Top results") to see a big list of playlists.
Now step by step:
Click on one playlist that looks appealing to you.
Read the title and the description. It should accurately describe what you're going to listen to.
Look at the song count and the total duration. A good playlist will have below 100 songs in it and a 2h to 4h duration. Massive playlists are a waste of time, you wont discover anything in them.
Now, look at the songs inside the playlist. Do you see anything you recognize? A good playlist will have popular and less popular songs in it. If you like Final Fantasy OSTs and don't see any in this gaming playlist, chances are you wont like it.
Let's say you found a playlist with a few Final Fantasy tracks in it, all other tracks are probably closely related. Chances are it's full of games you never played and have great OSTs.
You can see when a song was added to the playlist, scroll down looking at all the dates. Abandoned playlist with all additions from 2015? You can still listen once, but you wont get anything new afterwards.
You see daily, weekly or monthly additions? This is the type of playlist you want to follow, because someone is actively curating it and will add new songs for you.
In the end, you basically let curators find new soundtracks for you. If you like someone's playlist, you will probably like every new addition to it.
How to find new music on YouTube Music
After opening the YouTube Music website or launching the app, click on search in the top bar menu, then type your keywords "Game OSTs" in the search bar.
You will then see a top result followed by multiple categories.
You can now click on the community playlist tab located above the top result.
Note: YouTube Music pushed community playlists late 2021.
Now step by step:
You will see a mess. Random playlists with a very low song count.
Scroll down looking at the playlists, reading the title and looking at the amount of songs in them.
A good playlist will have below 100 songs in it. Too small or massive playlists are a waste of time, you wont discover anything in them.
Spotify does a good filtering job that YouTube Music does not. So, it's a little harder here.
Keep browsing until you find a nice looking playlist and click on it.
Read the title and the description. There is a lot of space in the description to very accurately describe things.
You already choose a decent size playlist, that should be in the 2h to 4h range.
You can now browse the songs inside the playlist. Anything you recognize? A good playlist has a mix of popular and less popular songs in it. If you like Final Fantasy OSTs and this gaming playlist doesn't contain any, chances are you wont like it.
Let's say you found some Final Fantasy tracks inside a playlist, all other tracks probably have the same vibe. Chances are it's full of games you never played and have great OSTs.
Unlike Spotify you cannot see when songs were added. Or when the playlist was updated, like on Deezer.
This prevents you from actually knowing if a playlist is being actively curated or not.
You can do some extra effort on your side and try to keep track of it.
Like on Spotify, you basically rely on curators to find stuff for you. That said, it's harder on YouTube Music because you can't know the frequency at which a playlist is updated.
How to find new music on Deezer
Deezer is a Spotify clone. Read the Spotify tutorial.
You get an additional playlist information below the description "updated: X hours/days/months ago". This prevents you from having to scroll down and check all song dates to see when the last one was added.
Becoming a power-user and using community playlists at their advantage, is a great way to passively find new music you like. Because once you find a playlist you like that is getting regular updates, you can just come back to it later and see the new added songs. Some of them might even be the best new songs you heard in a while.
Sadly, there are no community playlists to browse on Apple Music and Amazon Music, you need a direct link on those.
Also, you can apply what you learned here to any other platform that has public playlists.