When it comes to music, you can only listen to so much of the same artist or genre before things start to feel a little predictable. Maybe you’re looking for some variety but don’t know what it is you want to hear. On the other hand, maybe you’ve heard a few things from other music styles you like but don’t know where to start.
Moving out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but it’s often necessary, even with music. If you’re looking to dive into a new type of music but don’t know where to jump off from, we’ve got a few tips that should make the process a little faster.
Start With Something Familiar
One of the easiest ways to start listening to music you’re not familiar with is to see if there is any crossover with music you are familiar with. Of course this isn’t always possible — you’re not going to find a whole lot of crossover between classical and country music, for example.
On the other hand, if you like rock music and want to get into jazz or classical, try jazzier rock bands or progressive rock. Love hip hop but want to get more into UK garage? You’ll find some artists successfully combining the two.
Take Advantage of Playlists
If you use a music streaming service, no matter whether you subscribe or not, there are likely a ton of different playlists available to you. These are one of the easiest ways to start listening to music you’ve never heard before.
You can combine this with the above tip as well. Want to try progressive rock but don’t know where to start? Try a playlist. If you don’t find something you like after a few hours, maybe that music just isn’t for you.
Don’t Be Too Quick to Hit “Dislike”
One of the problems with playlists is that many of us tend to hit “dislike” or whatever the similar button is as soon as something we’re not familiar with comes on. If you’re listening to a genre or artist you know well, this is all well and good. That said, if you’re looking to expand what you listen to, you might want to let tracks hang around, even if you’re not sure you like them.
Part of getting into new music is jumping outside of your comfort zone, and you may not like some of it at first. That doesn’t mean it won’t grow on you. Give songs a second chance. If you still don’t like them the next time you hear them, maybe then it’s time to let them go.
Once you find a few new playlists or artists that appeal to you, don’t go “okay, cool” and immediately go back to what you usually listen to. If you immerse yourself in the new music, you’ll get an even better idea of what really speaks to you and what might have just been a novelty.
The more something holds up over repeated listens, the more likely you are to keep listening to it. This is how we find our new favorites, so give this part some time.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve found some music you love, read up on it. Wikipedia is great for this. Look up artists, see where they came from and who they collaborate with.
You might not like everything you encounter, and you might even dislike most of it, but it’s worth trying in case you find something you like even better. Speaking from experience, I’ve often found new music I fall in love with by reading up on music I already know and like.
Need Some Recommendations?
Of course, finding new music is easier if you’ve got somewhere to start. With the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll have an easier time getting started with almost any kind of music, but a few well-placed recommendations certainly can’t hurt.
If you don’t have music nerd friends who are always naming five new artists you should listen to, don’t worry. Just take a look at our roundup of the best music discovery services, which can function as a virtual version of the same thing.