10 Music Digging Tips to Help You Discover New Music

Discover New Music

Digging for new music has always been the thing that makes me excited to get out of bed every morning.

I’ve always been sort of obsessed with the idea that my favourite album of all time or a bunch of my favourite songs are still out there waiting to be discovered.

Which is why for the past six years I’ve been ritually digging for new music every single morning.

But I appreciate that not everyone has this sort of time on their hands.

And in the same way that a huge restaurant menu can make it harder to pick a meal, the sheer volume of music that gets released can make it harder to discover new music you love.

Where do you start? How do you narrow down the search when 100,000 songs are uploaded to streaming platforms every single day?

Sometimes when the choices are overwhelming the easiest thing to do is retreat to the comfort of the same songs that you always listen to.

It’s half of the reason why I started my new music discovery platform Somewhere Soul. So that I can do the digging on behalf of people who don’t know where to look or don’t have the time to look.

So if you’re stuck in a new music rut and spend far too much time listening to your Spotify ‘on repeat’ playlist, here are some tips to help streamline your digging and freshen up your playlists with new gems.

1. Fish in a Smaller Pond

There’s an insane amount of music available on streaming platforms, so sometimes it’s easier to fish in a smaller pond.

Record shops are lovingly curated by humans rather than algorithms and that means you can often discover gems that you wouldn’t have otherwise come across.

I’ve discovered some of my favourite albums of all time through record shop websites such as Stranger than Paradise and Drift Records.

Manual digging like this may take a little longer, but once you find a record shop that really caters to your taste, it’ll serve you for life.

2. Utilise the Beauty of Bandcamp

If you discover a new song or artist that you love, head straight to their Bandcamp, if they have one, and sign up to their mailing list so that you don’t miss any of their future releases.

Better yet, if they’ve released on a label, sign up to the label mailing list so you can stay on top of everything that the label drops.

Every Friday morning I look forward to my inbox being filled with new music from many of my favourite record labels.

If only streaming platforms would introduce a similar feature such as a mailing list to allow artists to communicate with their followers.

3. Dig by country

While it can feel logical to dig for music via genre, I’ve often found digging sessions to be a lot more fruitful when I narrow things down and explore a specific country.

For example just searching for Hip Hop playlists on a streaming platform is way too broad. But if you search for ‘French Hip Hop’ you narrow down the search massively and you can start exploring a specific scene, rather than just a genre.

Not only does this help to focus your digging, but it can help to expand your knowledge of music and the idiosyncrasies of genres from country to country.

4. Globetrot the Radio

There’s a wonderful app called Radio Garden which allows you to globetrot through radio stations all over the world.

The user experience is incredibly fun and it’s also really useful to be able to leverage different time zones around the world.

For example if you’re digging in the morning or afternoon in the UK, but you’re looking for tracks for a club night, you might want to tap into dance music stations in countries where it’s currently night time.

I’l never forget a friends birthday in the countryside where we spent all day in the sun listening to the island music of Tahiti FM. Bliss.

5. Dig by Sub genre

Did you know that on Rate Your Music there are as many as 89 sub genres of Hip Hop listed?

Websites like this have done a lot of the filtering already so that you don’t have to.

Digging via sub genres is great not just for narrowing your search but it can also help you learn a lot about what sort of music you really love. It might be that you love West Coast Hip Hop but don’t like Southern Hip Hop and you didn’t even realise it.


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6. Interviews and artist playlists

Your favourite artists can be an amazing source of new music inspiration, especially as in my experience they often cite such a diverse array of artists.

If you’re short on time, the quickest way to tap into your favourite artists music selections is through any public playlists they may have on their streaming profile.

Or for a more manual, and in my view more enjoyable method, you can look up artist interviews and read through those. Nine times out of ten there will be a question about what they’re listening to at the moment or who inspires them and the extra context they provide often provides a fascinating window into their mind.

7. Treat Producers Like Record Labels

Discovered a new favourite track? Don’t just dig through the rest of the artists discography, check the song credits for the producer and have a dig through everything that they’ve worked on.

If you’re a Tidal user you can do this with a click of a button because all credits have a hyperlink straight to the producer or writer, whereas with other streaming platforms it’s a little more manual.

I’ve been down some amazing rabbit holes using this method and it’s great a habit to follow your favourite producer's output in the same way that you would a record label.

8. Search through Venue Listings

Just been to see an amazing show where you discovered a new artist? I recommend taking the time to dig through their past and future event listings for any other artists that aren’t already on your radar.

Most venues have some sort of music policy and the chances are that if you’ve found one artist you love, there will be more to discover.

I appreciate that this is quite a labour intensive method of music digging, but I’ve discovered some incredible artists through this method and have gone on to see their shows and even book them for my own shows.

9. Leverage TikTokers and Playlisters

There’s a huge number of TikTokers and Instagrammers posting music content on a daily basis and many of them are essentially digging so you don’t have to.

If you find some that are really aligned with your music policy, turn on notifications for their posts and follow their public playlists.

Many of them are always on the hunt for new content ideas and will listen to requests in the comment section. So if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of South African jazz, go and request a post about it!

I’m always responding to comments and DMs from music fans asking me to cover specific genres and I’m really thankful for the ideas.

10. Create Designated Digging Time

Ok so this last one isn’t so much about where to go for music, it’s more about how to approach music digging.

I dig for music every single morning for at least one or two hours. It’s part of my morning routine and it’s become somewhat of an unbreakable habit. It’s my equivalent of someone else's meditation or ice bath.

And sure, there are mornings where I don’t find anything I like and it’s not fruitful but that’s just the nature of it. I still wake up excited to get out of bed the next day to see what I can find.

We all lead busy lives and algorithms have led us to believe that we don’t need to dig for music anymore. But if that’s the case, why are so many of the music fans I speak to stuck in listening ruts?

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