Note: A very special thank you to Hugo Fauquenoi for helping me put this list together, and to all of the asongaday.co curators who contributed!
Music discovery does not come easy to everyone. It has to be a priority — a habit. It’s typically a habit that’s developed at a young age before we had “more important” things competing for our attention (liner notes or countless hours researching record labels, anyone?).
That’s why I started A Song A Day. I realized that although almost everyone loves music, music discovery isn’t a priority for everyone, like it is for some. I was also frustrated with people asking me for my music tips and resources, just to come back to me with the same questions a couple months later. I realized that it wasn’t resources they were seeking, it was music.
More importantly, I really wanted to help open people’s eyes to the vast amount of music out there that’s not played on mainstream private radio stations or trending on Spotify.
I know dozens of other people who are equally passionate about discovering and sharing music of all kinds. I have been fortunate to recruit several of them to be A Song A Day’s first contributors, which has evolved into an ever-growing community.
These folks are far more knowledgable than I am in music for their own tastes, and they’re from all over the world. As a result, they have access to resources some of us have never heard of. For that reason (and for the benefit of future curators), we put together a list of all the resources we use in our curation process.
Before we dive into the resources themselves, here are a few tips on how to incorporate them into your workflow and create a streamlined habit.
How to Build a Music Discovery Habit
- Set Twitter push notifications. If you’re active on Twitter, after you’ve identified your favorite music blogs, set Twitter notifications to receive pop-ups on mobile. That way, you’re always in the loop. If I don’t have time to check out something of interest that moment, I either open the tweet and favorite it, or take a screenshot and revisit later. To do this, visit the site’s Twitter page on desktop or mobile → select the gear icon → select “Turn on notifications.”
- Subscribe to newsletters → Filter them into a folder. Once you’ve identified the music-focused newsletters that fit your interests, sign up and have them filtered into a particular folder in your inbox. That way, you can read all of them on a time that works best for you.
- Carve out time that works for you. Like most hobbies, music discovery should be enjoyable; it should be an outlet. Pick a time or day that works for you every day or week — maybe it’s Sunday morning — to review all of your saved content. In other words, make it a ritrual. How nice does sitting with a fresh cup of coffee listening to new music sound?
- Go to shows! It may sound counter-intuitive since you’re so busy but you really should try to go see a band you’ve never heard of at least once every couple of months. For inexpensive or free shows based on your taste in your area, check out Jukely Unlimited.
Disclaimer: These notes were originally intended for an internal doc only, so don’t judge us for grammatical errors and slang. ;)
Hype Machine (+3)
(Kara Murphy) I’m a huge fan of the Hype Machine. Besides breaking down all their blog aggregation activity by genre and constantly updating the most popular/listened to tracks on the service, they also have a weekly feature called Stack where the staff shares their favorite discoveries.
(Shannon) la blogotheque — 100% my favorite resource ever, mostly bc I am obsessed with take-away shows. But also because they are the reason I was prob in the first 20% of America to know about bands like Alt-j. ;-)
My Spoonful and Drip
Vinyl Me Please (+2)
(Shannon) I am a new VMP subscriber (Monthly vinyls sent to your doorstep…*swoon*) and really enjoy getting their newsletter updates with a roundup of their content. They also just added a weekly rotation playlist that’s pretty sweet.
(Shannon) Not only is the Singles Club blog (and service — get 45s delivered to your door!) a great resource for awesome, streamable music, most blurbs are also chock full of other handy discovery resources, such as record labels, other artists, etc.
(Shannon) Bandcamp is an amazing resource that supports artists directly when you make a purchase. Like the website says, “We treat music as art, not content, and we tie the success of our business to the success of the artists who we serve. To date, fans have paid artists $172 million using Bandcamp, and $4.4 million in the last 30 days alone.” They’ve continue to make improvements and I’m excited to see what they do in terms of music discovery. In the meantime, definitely keep an eye on their blog!
(Julia Maehner) I’ve also subscribed to weekly/daily digests of Baeble, and Music Connection. I also know a decent amount of publicists, and have subscribed to their press releases, which also gives me a good chunk of new music delivered right to my inbox weekly
(Diana Rose) There’s also Paste & Pitchfork that have lists separated into categories so you can browse.
(Shannon) Pancakes & Whiskey Julia, Erin, Maria, and I all occasionally write for P&W — also a great resource for NYC shows.
Other Blogs: The Motherload
(Bryan Strang) Alfitude (pop), Sounds Better With Reverb (alternative rock), Hearing Gold (chillwave), The Le Sigh (females only!), Minneapolis Fucking Rocks (anything/local), One A Day (anything), Tuesdays With Lazerbeak (hip hop), I Hate The 90s (90s things I forgot), Willfully Obscure (80s and 90s things I didn’t know in the first place).
Music Geeks (+2)
(Jessie Wood) I also like Music Geeks, which is similar to asongaday, except not personalized. Derek sends out a song and matching dancing gif each day. Derek also made Product Collection with a bunch of music discovery sites.
(Shannon) Music Geeks — as Jessie mentioned, Derek Shanahan is awesome, he’s also an asad supporter. His emails are VERY entertaining. Show him some love!
Check it out! Derek also created this great Product Hunt collection of different ways to discover new music — many of which we did not list!
Resources: Mix Tapes & Podcasts
Song Exploder (+2)
(Shannon) Song Exploder’s 5 Song Friday’s is better for reminders of songs you’ve forgotten than it is music discovery, but I love Hrishi’s Song Exploder podcast series, which interview bands on the making of a specific song, and is pretty fucking awesome.
Resources: Playlists / Forums
(Shannon) I’m not sure how 8tracks missed the list until David Porter pointed it out. ;) I also wasn’t sure where to classify it — but it’s an awesome community of people sharing curated playlists based on artist, genre, or activity. They get pretty granular with the subgenres, which I appreciate. They have a mobile app (which I haven’t used bc I’m not much of an app person) and a newsletter I really dig.
Resources: Radio Stations & Shows
(Shannon) NPR All Songs Considered — admittedly, I do not listen as much as I should, but it’s a great resource.
(Jessie Wood) All Songs Considered is the only podcast I regularly listen to, and it helps me get out of my bubble of dance music. I love those guys.
(Laura G, Shannon) listen to bff.fm. Laura is occasionally a guest!
(Shannon) NPR First Listen — every Sunday night, yo.
(Shannon) Brooklyn’s radio station for indie and emerging artists, and undiscovered classics. Need I say more?
Resources: Music events
(Shannon) Jukely Unlimited — A friend and I pay $25 / month and try to go to at least two rando shows per month. Great way to discover new music! Also, Jukely in general is a great discover tool.
(Shannon) Music fests such as Sasquatch, the psych fest in Austin, Northside fest in Brooklyn — mostly the smaller or niche ones have line ups worth checking out, especially the bands playing earlier in the day.
The Independent (SF)
(Laura G) I discover bands via my favorite local venue, The Independent. I’m always checking to see who they have in town.
Resources: Music record labels
(Shannon) Record Labels — dude, such an under-rated resource. Find a handful that represent the bands you love ad follow them on Twitter. These three our some of my personal favs.
(Bryan Strang) Neon Gold (pop)
Resources: Online Communities
(Shannon) Twitter — so I used to be meticulous about my Twitter lists, and they’ve gotten out of control and need cleaning and updating, but making lists are a great way to keep your pulse on people who you trust to curate quality music Check out my music biz list.
(Laura G) Twitter, I follow a ton of friends, bands, stations and labels.
(Laura G) I follow a ton of friends, bands, stations and labels.
(Shannon) Reddit — I’ll explain later. too tired. ☺
(Cristian Colocho) Normally I don’t really care much for reddit, but for finding newer more underground-ish music, looking through certain subreddits can really reap some great results.
(Jessie) Check out this collection of electronic music subreddits.
(Shannon) DoNYC — for local giveaways and bands I may not have heard of.
a song a day curators’ homemade resources
Jessie Wood — Newsletter with 10 songs a week.
Laura Gluhanich — The LP is my monthly playlist column
Laura G — My personal music tumblr.
Kara Murphy contributes.
Kara Murphy — I talk about seriously cool album covers, the artist responsible, and how they came about conceiving that work — if that information is available.
Matthew Ström — one of the founders of a monthly music magazine.
Hugo Fauquenoi — Editing weekly playlists to share the latest electronic gems (French Touch , Deep House, Beats, Nu Disco/Soul/Funk, Future Garage, Chillwave, Future Bass).
Our awesome Medium readers had a ton of other suggestions for music discovery as well. Check them out!
Streamsides is a newsletter of upcoming releases that are streaming on legit sites like NPR.
22tracks.com is a music discovery service curated by local top DJs from Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Paris.
Haven’t adopted Slack at your communications / collaboration tool yet? You’re missing out. It’s life-changing, or at least a significant improvement. And here’s a community all around music discovery!
Music curation based on your mood or activity.
Samuel Diamond says, “Tinymixtapes.com will not only put you on to great new music; we’ll help you sound smarter when talking about it.”
Rodney Keeling says Discogs is one of the largest music databases online.
Hillydilly.com is a website dedicated to unearthing new music, pushing only the best, and ultimately, connecting the average music fan to all good music out. Andrew Holt says, “ I belong to beatsmusic, but still listen to hillydilly more. Their playlists are great, but the recent content is always spot on.”
Nusiki is a music social network. Chris Gorges says it’s pretty cool.
More music podcasts!
Patrick Charles says we have to check out:
Let’s Make This Thing Collaborative!
Ok — your turn. What do you have to add?
Want to be an a song a day curator? Head on over to the site and fill out the form at the bottom. We’d be happy to have you!