Best Ways to Discover New Music

Best Ways to Discover New Music

Everybody wants to discover the next Beatles or Adele. Not only will this net you a ton of industry cred and boost your profile, but you get to leave a mark on the career of a great artist. So how do you get in on the ground floor? Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Don't chase trends

You don’t want to represent what’s on the radio now, you want to represent what will be on the radio next year, or the year after. It’s always important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. One industry guy I know talks to his nieces and nephews – kids who are maybe 13 or 14 – and asks them what they’re listening to. It’s not a bad strategy. Keep in mind, you may hate the music – and that’s okay. Just remember, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t good. If there’s a new wave coming up, you may be able to ride it if you can manage to put your musical tastes aside. Case and point:




 Check out new hotspots

Maybe you’ve been going to the same couple places for years – you’re comfortable there. It might be time to check out that new place the next town over that everyone has been talking about. See what bands are playing and if they’re any good. Don’t just look at things like audience size or tickets sold, though – remember, you’re trying to get in on the ground floor of a great artist few people have heard of yet. Look at the reaction of the people in the crowd, as well as the people that book for the venue. If they’re impressed, odds are, it’s a great act. Don’t be afraid to chat up audience members as well to get their take on the acts. It can provide you with some great insight.  Here are some of our favorite Nashville hotspots: 

The Basement and the Basement East

3rd and Lindsley


Mercy Lounge

If you have venues that you've had great experiences with, let us know in the comments! 

Six degrees of separation

Hypothetically, let’s say you find a band that’s really good – maybe they’re bigger than you want to take on, or they’re already signed with someone.  Don’t give up yet, though. See who they’re playing with and see if they’re any good. Or maybe the person who opened with them has also played with another great artist nobody has heard of yet.  

Also, Spotify's related artists is always a good shout — especially for local acts. You can step into a rabbit hole and fall your way through a large part of a city's music scene this way.


Stay on top of indie blogs

Are you constantly honing up on your knowledge of obscure acts to stay on the bleeding edge of what’s cool? If not, you should be. Start reading some of the best indie music blogs to get an idea of what others are listening to – you never know what you may find. Blogs like Hype MachineAquarium Drunkard, Earmilk, and Pigeons and Planes are a great place to start! As a bonus, it’s also a great way to find new music and artists – even if you don’t represent them.

A lot of blogs have playlists they update regularly on internet platforms as well, and these can be a great source of informaiton. If they have individual play counts you can get real time data on how well particular tracks/artists are doing.

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Dan Reifsnyder

Dan Reifsnyder

Dan is a full-time songwriter, performer, teacher, and was a prominent child actor and performer. Dan writes about his experiences in the music industry and is a long-time friend/collaborator of 12South Music.

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