Discovering Music In The Age of The Algorithm
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
What a time to be a music enthusiast. Those of us who lived in the days before streaming remember a time when we were essentially force fed music. Our music discovery was limited to what was popular on the radio, MTV, or good ole fashioned word of mouth. Don't get me wrong, CD/Album stores were a good source for music discovery, however you would need to purchase a whole album to see what it entailed, and if you liked only 2 songs on the album, oh well, try again next time! So unless you had a decent amount of pocket change, your music discovery was limited to what you could afford.
Nowadays, we have excellent streaming services that have a seemingly endless ocean of music to discover at the push of a button. While that seems like a good thing, and it most certainly is, it also presents a new set of challenges to music discovery. There seems to be so much music, especially from unknown artists, that it feels like an impossible task to explore and find new songs or artists that suit our musical pallet.
Luckily, streaming services like Spotify, have begun to employ the latest and greatest algorithm's to help us navigate the vast library they've created. One of the first updates they added to the service was a simple play radio option. The radio option enables you to listen to a song and find similar songs from a variety of artist that match the algorithm's variables for that specific song, enabling the listener to find new songs or artist's they would have never found on their own. One could seemingly hit "play radio" indefinitely and be taking on a musical wormhole of different artists and genres.
Perhaps one of the best updates was the advent of the Discovery Weekly Playlist and Daily Playlist options. This is by far my personal favorite addition to the service and I have found a insane amount of new music, from relatively unknown artist that I would never have been able to hear if not for that feature.
If you are not using these features you are for sure missing out. A bit of caution tho, I have had some HORRENDOUS playlist generated for me, to the point where I had to ask myself "Who the hell does Spotify think I am?". The answer of course is your data. One of newest and most precious commodities of our time, data is the fuel that drives the algorithm and feeding it accurate and bountiful date will eventually yield some delicious and juicy music fruit. The key is to let it know either by liking or adding a song to a playlist. Once you let it know what you like, it will start to work for you and generate some fantastic random music for your eardrums to enjoy.
The amount of music discovery is endless and a targeted approach can yield you some of the best songs or artists that would have never existed to you. The algorithm however is not perfect; it's getting better, but still needs the human element to assist.
We here at Uncut Jamz are attempting to do just that. We seek to discover, cultivate and organize our brand of music to help music fans find more of what they like and shed light on some of these uncut gems that would other wise never have graced the tiny hair follicles of your precious eardrums.
It is a great time for music discovery given the new tools we have, and no one should ever be able to truly say that they can't find good music anymore. If they do, help them out, show them the light, and call them a boomer.