How I Explore New Music on Spotify

While I am still a much bigger fan of analog than I am of digital, due to my life on the road, I am unable to maintain a healthy collection of vinyl and CDs. Therefore, I am thankful for all streaming platforms, and I constantly have Spotify playing somewhere in the background of wherever I am.

However, part of my disposition is my need to constantly discover new things and, in this case, new music. My fear is that, like many others, I feel that algorithms are not as random as I’d like them to be and for this reason, I have come up with a partially-random method for a legitimate discovery (or re-discovery) of new music. This method, which I have been practicing for a year now, is subject to minor alterations but is also, but remains unaltered at its core.

I pick a song I want to listen to and then I right click on the title of the song and choose the “Go to Song Radio” option. Once I click on that, a list of related songs pops up. I look at the length of the song I am playing, and the last digit of that serves as my reference point. Say, for example, I’m listening to “Maybe I’m Amazed.” That song is 3:49 minutes long. So, in this case, I would add the 9th song of the list to my queue.

In the case of this example, “Maybe I’m Amazed” would be followed up by Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” Once that song starts playing, I repeat the process. “New York State of Mind” is 6:02 minutes long. So, I go to song radio and choose the second song of the list, which happens to be Barry Manilow and Cass Elliot’s version of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (which, incidentally, I never knew existed!).

If I repeat that process, the next five songs are Leo Sayer, “Magdalena”; Orleans, “Dance with Me”; Harry Chapin, “WOL*D”; Van Morrison “Moondance”; Van Morrison “Cyprus Avenue.”

It’s not a bad run of song. Furthermore, just looking at this short list, I can see three songs I have never heard of, one I had forgotten about, plus an old standard that is always nice to revisit.

What I also like to do is, once I get a double – as I do there, with Van Morrison – I start over, by picking a song I want to listen to, usually of another style of music. For example, I might choose Blur’s “Charmless Man” or Louis Armstrong’s “Jeepers Creepers.” That will obviously take me on a musical journey, which sometimes takes surprising turns.

NOTE: If the last digit of a song’s length is a zero, that counts as ten. If you’re stuck for a song to start your Spotify explorations with, why not use my “Song of the Day” feature as a reference point? It’s all about broadening your horizons people!

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