How Technology has Impacted Music Discovery

Spotify’s algorithm recommends different types of music based on different factors.

You don’t need to be a seasoned music nerd to realize that technology has completely shifted how we discover new music. The era of shuffling through bins at record stores and asking employees for music recommendations came to a close many years ago. These days you can discover new music in a matter of seconds thanks to the internet and music streaming platforms.

So let’s examine what exactly has changed and how this has impacted music discovery.

1.     Finding Music Recommendations Online

In the past, people often relied on music magazines such as Rolling Stone and NME to see which artists were popular or were making a mark in the music industry. These publications still exist today, but they aren’t as popular anymore because there are plenty of other ways to discover music online in the digital era.

For example, you can browse music subreddits on Reddit and see discussions about your favorite artists and learn what other artists these fans are into. You can also visit music rating websites such as Rate Your Music and see lists of the best music releases sorted by year or genre.

All these music discovery methods have led to people finding more artists in a very short amount of time. As a result, people are listening to more diverse music than ever before, and with less effort.

2.     Going Down the Rabbit Hole on Youtube

Let’s face it, Youtube is one of the popular websites on the internet, and for good reason. The online video sharing platform has made it easy for just about anyone to upload their video content and get the chance to become famous.

Most of the popular videos on this platform consist of music videos and song uploads. Youtube’s algorithm also works to recommend certain videos to users based on their watch history. For example, you could be watching the music video for the new Beyoncé single and see a video from a less popular artist with a similar sound suggested in the sidebar.

Clicking on this recommended video could send you down a deep rabbit hole of discovery where you find other artists with the type of sound you are into.

3.     Letting the Music Streaming Platform Algorithm Guide You

Modern music streaming platforms use advanced technology to analyze the music they host and give users recommendations.

Spotify does this in a couple of different ways. The first method involves analyzing the musical elements of a song and then recommending other music with similar musical qualities. So if you’re listening to Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up  on repeat, Spotify might recommend a similar sounding track like Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

The second method involves observing what artists each user listens to and then grouping them together accordingly. For example, Spotify will notice that a large percentage of people who listen to Michael Jackson also happen to listen to Prince. Therefore, it will recommend Prince’s music to new users who listen to Michael Jackson’s music frequently.

Finding New Music in the Digital Era

As you can see, finding new music is easier than ever before in the digital era. Technology has made this possible and many of us couldn’t be happier with this change. So let’s appreciate these technological innovations and the way they have made the world of music so much more accessible for us.