The Fundamental “Why” of Music Discovery
Cortney Harding
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I personally have discovered more new music through streaming services than I have and probably would have done in the older methods of music discovery: radio, friends and “hit or miss” random purchases from record stores. It involves some moving out of your comfort zone, but that’s pretty easy with a streaming service The old method might have involved locating and visiting a record store that you might not have previously known existed. Today, all of those obscure record shops are right on my computer at Spotify (my streamer of choice). The older method — physically purchasing a copy — involved a great deal more “risk,” of my dollars and time, which meant my music discoveries were more carefully made. Now, I can become more adventerous and take musical risks I might not have considered before. And, yes, those new discoveries I’ve made have resulted in not only my purchasing music by those artists (to make them available on other devices), but seeing several of them live in concert.

I think there’s a difference between randomly listening to streaming “radio” stations such as the ones on Apple Music, etc. and pecking through random songs artists and hearing things you may not have heard before. One is submittting yourself to the mysterious algorhythms of an unseen force that is suggesting music based on what it THINKS you like. That is not discovery. The other is YOU actively engaging with the music and actually “discovering” new music on your own. It’s not that much different than going to a record store, flipping through the racks and taking a chance on an album by an artist you’ve never heard before (this is particularly true if you’re a premium user of a streaming service).