How To Find New Music On: Spotify, YouTube & Deezer
A Guide To Find New Music On Streaming Platforms
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, YouTube, Deezer or other similar websites.
The strategy involves a smart usage of community playlists (also named public) on platforms that implemented them. Community playlists are the opposite of in-house playlists (also named official or featured), they are created by independent curators.
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, based on my personal experience using pre-2012 and post-2012 YouTube.
Note: This article is about finding music in playlists with regular updates (like in my personal playlists). Not curating playlists. The curation process is based on your own personal past experiences (like the games you played, movies you watched, etc..) and is not the subject of this article.
March 2023: Added Method 2 (Spotify required), it assumes that you read Method 1.
May 2023: Updated information about Spotify's "Discovered On" playlist ranking system.
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 its algorithm ranking system made it close to impossible to keep using it.
I would go from finding new 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 songs 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.
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: a new song is not yet linked to any other videos, therefore the new watch-time (or session-time) oriented algorithm will not risk it.
It takes a very long time for music to start getting organic traffic.
The algorithm works fine for other type of content. Music is a special case of reverse SEO because it can't be searched directly, without you having fans first that type your name.
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 and they want it off the platform (this is Google's way of optimizing ad revenue; people listening to music tend to not engage with ads when compared to other video formats like how-tos).
Method 1: How To Discover New Music In 2023
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 these playlists to find new music you never heard of.
I will take the keywords "Game OST" (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 OST" in the search bar.
You will then see a top result, being most likely a playlist. A few songs listed next to it. And multiple categories scrolling down (since June 2022, those categories now also appear in small tabs on top, Deezer had it first).
From there you can either scroll down until you see the word "Playlists" with a bunch of 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 about 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 music 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 OST" 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. This is mainly because YouTube Music does not currently have proper ranking factors for playlists.
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 (you should still check everything the first time to get an overall idea about the update frequency).
Method 2: Using Spotify "Discovered On" Feature
Note: Even if you don't use Spotify, you can use still use this method to find new artists and then go back to your main streaming platform.
Method 2 is easier than Method 1, but also gives you less control as it skips the keyword search part.
Community Playlists Again
This method also uses community playlists to find new music that you will like. It involves a more direct approach that will be seen as easier, because you will be able to see a ranking of playlists that contain artists songs on an artist's page.
The downside is that any official playlist (opposite of community playlist) will be shown first.
Spotify Playlist Ranking: Discovered On
You can go to any artist's page that you like, then scroll all the way to the bottom to find this category.
"Discovered On" will show any playlist (official or user-made) that contain tracks of this artist. You can click on the category to see more playlists.
The playlist ranking of Spotify's "Discovered On" is based on monthly listeners (last 28 days). Playlists that have the most listeners will show first, but not based on an absolute value.
Here is how Spotify's "Discovered On" feature works:
This system requires the specific artist track inside the playlist to be played, so a playlist wont show first on every artist's page, even if it has the most listeners based on an absolute value.
Example: A playlist has 1000 monthly listeners, the first artist is played 1000 times, but the last artist is played 50 times. This playlist will show high up on the first artist's page, but very low on the last artist's page.
Now, depending on how popular the artist is, you might have to dig-in a little bit to get past all the official playlists.
Once you found a decent looking playlist, apply what you read in Method 1 for Spotify to find out if it's worth it or not (size? duration? regular updates? etc..).
Becoming a power-user and using community playlists at their advantage, is the best way to find new music you'll like. Because once you find a playlist you enjoy, 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 to someone's playlist on those.
Also, you can apply what you learned here to any other platform that has public playlists.