In a Music Rut? Here Are 5 Handy Tips On How to Discover New Artists



No one likes to be the one who isn’t in the know, especially when it comes to indie music. Since anyone with a microphone can create and share music these days, the problem isn’t really finding bands, but finding good ones. How to filter through all the music out there? We talked to a bunch of writers, photographers and bloggers that have boiled the art of finding indie music down to a science. Happy hunting.

1. Check Out Bandcamp

Consider streaming websites and apps better than your best friend suggests Emma Garland, co-editor of popular music publication Alter The Press!. She is constantly finding inspiration on Bandcamp, an online publishing platform for musicians, where, says Garland, many artists can release things for free. (Yes, new music, for free.) Even better, once you download an album, Bandcamp’s recommendation system will automatically list bands with similar sounds to help you discover even more.

2. Check Out Spotify

Spotify is another great music-streaming resource. Though there are membership fees associated with using Spotify, you can also listen for free (with a few commercials here and there.) The interruptions are worth it in order to take advantage of the platform’s recommendation system, which The Temple News music writer Brianna Spause says is spot-on and features local bands. Spotify also allows you to “explore” based on genre of mood, or within sections specifically dedicated to new indie releases.

3. Don’t Skip the Opening Acts

When you go to shows, it’s tempting to arrive late, especially when the artist you really want to see won’t hit the stage until 10 p.m. Though nepotism and the power of the dollar bill play a role, big-name artists like to take other musicians they believe in on tour. There’s a reason those opening acts are playing, and if you skip their sets, you’ll never know what that reason was. Blogger Daniel Choy of Unsigned & Unleashed has attended a few shows where he didn’t even know who the opener was. Take, for instance, Twenty One Pilots’ tour that featured Small Pools. After seeing them live, Choy said he would pay just to see just Small Pools. So don’t be afraid to show up early. You just might leave with a new favorite band.

4. Local Shows, Local Shows, and More Local Shows

Regardless of where you live, there’s probably a huge amount of local talent, but Philadelphia is particularly saturated with killer artists. Get out to those tiny local venues where bands are playing for $5 so you can see them before they sell out Madison Square Garden. Venues like Boot & Saddle, Kung Fu Necktie, Johnny Brenda’s and The First Unitarian Church are great places to start. Any venue that stays in business while consistently putting new acts on the stage is worth a visit. Plus, like Spause says, the lower the ticket price, the more likely the band will talk to you.

5. It’s Okay to Stalk Social Media

Keeping tabs on the music other people are enjoying is a great way to find new artists. Remember, there are people out there who are actually paid to find the bands headed to the top. Rock On Philly is a fantastic blog that’ll keep you in the loop on upcoming shows and even hand out some free tickets. Music lovers with a good ear for new artists run the blog and the writers don’t stick to just one genre. Plus, Rock On Philly will even supply you with a list of monthly concerts, including embedded YouTube links to each artist they mention. Talk about convenience—but now you have zero excuses not to get out there and explore.