All too often, even people with the most decked out, eclectic music tastes find themselves in a music rut. It can feel impossible to find a single song that you really like, let alone a whole album of new music. It’s as if you’ve heard every song ever made, and now you’re left to listen to the same playlists on repeat.
First of all, you haven’t heard every song ever. You just haven’t; there are so many hidden gems out there, like that time you heard an absolute banger at a party and, with a stroke of luck, were able to Shazam it in time. So, if you’re wondering how to beef up your tracks (and you use Spotify), here are some helpful tips to rejuvenate your music library when it seems to have been sucked clean of all that is new and exciting.
1. Dive Into a New Genre Altogether
It’s almost impossible to find music when you haven’t narrowed down what you’re looking for, because there are just way too many songs out there, and you can’t expect to just shuffle the World Bank of Music and hope that you will find something that hits home. Figure out what you are missing out on, and what you want to dive deeper into, whether that’s metal rap by artists like City Morgue, or German pop with musicians like Lil Kleine.
Once you have honed in on the sound you want to get further invested in, take your favorites and build a Spotify playlist. This will help you wade into the pool of a new genre without being overwhelmed and unable to really sustain any of the new music you’ve just discovered, like you would if you had just added whole albums to a playlist that you’d probably only listen to on shuffle.
2. Make a Collaborative Playlist
There’s no universal reason why we like music; some people listen for a “summer never ends” feeling, others want to feel absorbed in a moment and really think about what is happening to them, some people appreciate a song’s production value and some just like certain artists. Whatever reason you have to love music and want to further your collection, find someone who holds similar values and create a playlist together.
Again, it’s very easy to be too broad when you’re deciding what kind of music to include in this step in your discovery, so to manage this, try to pick a theme, situation or type of scenery that you both want the playlist to center around. Perhaps you want the playlist to make you feel like you are driving in a low-rise car past a brightly-lit city at night, or like you’re on a beach with crumbling gray buildings all around you. You’ll be surprised what your friends can come up with.
3. Listen to the Album
A lot of the time, when we are in a music rut, we’ll find one good song and get bored of it in a week. Before you ruin a perfectly good song, check out more from that artist or the album it’s part of because, chances are, if you like the one song, you will like at least a few others on the album. In the days of feel-good, hand-tailored playlists, it’s easy to forget the beauty of a complete album. The producers and artists have already taken the time and care to fit the songs together perfectly in terms of flow, pace and style, so just sit back and press play.
4. Related Artists
So, you’ve worn out a certain artist, and you want to know how you can find more artists in the same genre of the new music you’re exploring. Where do you go next? Spotify has employed a system to promote related artists on the pages of all the bands you search. For example, if you just got into Pink Floyd and you want to find a similar vibe and feel in another artist, just search for the band and their page will have a tab labeled “Fans also like,” where you can see the names of artists like Rush, Led Zeppelin and Yes that deliver a similar feel to your newly-rockified ears.
5. Never Forget About Spotify’s Discover Weekly
Holy cow, Spotify users, have you forgotten about this feature? Well, listen to this: Discover Weekly is an expertly-designed algorithm that takes the songs you listen to on the regular and finds songs that other people with similar music styles listen to.
Sure, it won’t be the perfect Band-Aid for your musical wound — no computer-generated system is perfect, no matter how much we wish they could be — but it’ll give you some new music that can point you toward another genre you might want to crack in to next or an artist you might want to investigate. So please, remember: There are systems in place for this emergency you’re dealing with.
The real trick to climbing out of a music rut is to keep it specific, because you are never going to find the music that truly speaks to you and your brand (whatever that might be) if you don’t clarify what that brand is. You can’t just say, “I like German rap” into your phone and expect it to generate a beautiful list of golden songs that you’re guaranteed to like. We are not that advanced yet — nor should we be, as that would eliminate a lot of personal creativity. You have to dive into yourself to find what you really like.