How to Discover New Music and Be Discovered in the Digital Age
This past summer I received a CD from a friend, as a birthday gift. I was so excited because I love new music and I felt something satisfying about holding a packaged mystery. I found it exciting that I had to wait until I got to a CD player to hear this EP. I had no option for a 30-second soundbite to sway my perceptions or even a description from my friend aside from her advice of “let me know what you think!” The EP was great and as I failed to figure out why my computer wouldn’t transfer the tracks onto my cell phone, I happily turned to streaming to take the music with me wherever I went.
With so many platforms for an artist to share their music instantly, I wonder how often artists, especially independent, may or may not hesitate to even invest in a physical copy of their music to sell. Vehicles and computers have gradually replaced the compact disc player with an auxiliary or USB input and Bluetooth capability. These changes though, in my opinion, have increased an artist’s ability to be discovered when a consumer selects their favorite artist and are guided into the similar sounds by other musicians that services like Spotify or Pandora Radio generally operate from.
While the power of word of mouth and live performances have always ensured people see and hear you, the advantage to uploading your music digitally is that these horizons can reveal you on a broader scale, much quicker. I just watched Brother Ali on Instagram Live, throw down heavy bars for his rehearsal while I’m eating breakfast. How dope is that? We can be transported and connected with a powerhouse artist prepping for a tour, an indie artist making their climb or even sneak a peek at the concert we couldn’t make it to.
As we connect through the abstract language of beats, rhythm, and melodies paired with a lyrical story, that has been resting in a musician’s life, the opportunities to share this have become abundant. The largest social media stages such as Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are a great place to start. They even sometimes offer the personal touch of direct acknowledgment from an artist responding to comments, reposting fan art, or reposting a fans content, such as an Instagram story, that resonated with them. Though it may not provide considerable revenue for musicians, Spotify has become a massive service offering a user-friendly place of discovery. They also share available merchandise as well as current tour dates. Soundcloud has a hefty reach and makes it very easy to upload what you want to share. Finally, Bandcamp is a place where an artist can not only set their own price but allows fans to offer their own price, manage a merchandise store, obtain a custom domain and private streaming invitations when it’s time to promote. Whether you’re an artist or a fan, tell us your favorite way to discover and share!