Because it’s just not summer without a soundtrack.
Ah, youth. That golden time where your taste in music probably made up a significant chunk of your identity and pushed you along the path they call ‘coming of age’. By the time you’d graduated college, though? As your teenage angst fell away, your dreams of being Penny Lane probably dissipated with them; and were instead replaced with late night screenshots of expensive furniture you dream of one day buying. After all, that’s adulthood.
That is, until at one party this summer, playlist-selecting duties will be turned over to you. And you’ll freeze (unless you heed our advice now, that is). As someone who has an overwhelming music library dedicated to what I listened to in high school, I totally get the feeling of realizing your days of discovering new music have passed, leaving you to feel like Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls. Luckily, though, the Internet has come through (doesn’t it always?) with a myriad of ways to source soundtracks to fit your every mood. These are just a few of our favorite ways to discover new music—so you can secure your rightful future as makeshift DJ at every sangria-fuelled dance party, all summer long.
When Spotify’s not busy fighting with Taylor Swift (JK!), they’re making finding new music easier than ever. The two features leading the way? New Music Friday and Discover Weekly. New Music Friday, as you might have guessed, is a weekly compilation of the best new music released that week that—yup—comes out every Friday. Discover Weekly goes one step further, putting together a weekly playlist and suggesting new artists based on whatever you’re listening to now. Pretty great, right?
Aside from their ‘New’ tab, which shares the newest releases that week based on your music taste, Apple Music has a seriously mean playlist game that can get incredibly specific. From mood (Romantic Duets, Loves Rap and Heart Skipped a Beat are all excellent lovey-dovey ones) to artists based on your favorites (Post-Drake R&B is so good), specific producers (Dev Hynes, Jamie xx and Hit Boy, to name a few), their influences, essentials and beyond, these are compiled and aggregated under a tab aptly named ‘For You’, along with album and song suggestions. You can also start stations for any song you’re really feeling, and Apple will queue up similar jams.
What would Instagram for music look like? Probably a little something like Cymbal. It’s a start-up that allows your music taste to be followed and sync with your Soundcloud and Spotify accounts to post favorite songs; while your feed is made up of your friends’ (accounts from actual artists, record labels and music critics are cropping up, too) picks. Plus, getting to see your mutual music taste makes for the ultimate icebreaker with your crush or that guy you met on Bumble, BTW.
Predictably, social media comes in as a great tool to enable discovery here. @pitchfork, @nprmusic, @disconaivete, @hypem, @RapUp, @NoiseyMusic, @Billboard, @thefader, @complexmusic (just to name a few) are all worth follows on Twitter or Facebook, to get you started.
Soundcloud is excellent for finding slightly under-the-radar tracks or songs by producers you love. Once you make an account, you can follow different users (musicians, producers, and other users alike) with tastes similar to yours and see the tracks they like, turning you on to endless new music options. It also displays related tracks to the right of whatever you’re listening to that’s sure to send you a discovery rabbit hole, too.