Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Finding new music in the streaming era

Discover Weekly’s rise to prominence

Finding new music in the streaming era

In the early 2000s, CDs were still the go-to for listening to music. Now, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have taken over, providing endless catalogs of music to discover and explore. Finding new circles of music has never been more accessible – there is an entire expanding universe of music hidden behind every smartphone and computer screen today.

Spotify’s own “Discover Weekly” has propelled itself into becoming the most comprehensive service for new music. Every Monday, Spotify provides its users with a new personalized playlist of 30 songs to listen to and enjoy. The playlist is crafted from algorithms that develop a “taste profile” for each user and then, through micro-genres of music, mix and match songs that have not been played by the user.

For a more in-depth understanding of the science behind “Discover Weekly,” Quartz has published a full story on the topic. Spotify is overwhelmingly the most popular option for 18-24 year olds, though there are several streaming platform options for students to choose from.

Apple Music has debuted as an iTunes 2.0 to-go. Now, Apple Music does not want to be a carbon copy of Spotify – although they have their own version of “Discover Weekly” called “My New Music Mix” that comes out every Friday. However, the creation of Beats One radio shows, radio shows hosted by famous musicians and artists such as Ezra Koenig’s Time Crisis, and artist-curated playlists are Apple’s hook for users to find new music.

OVO Sound Radio, a popular Beats One radio station, is a rap hub for fans to experience more of their favorite sounds. Apple Music invites users to seek out music and pave their own path for discovering new bands and genres.

Although Apple Music and Spotify try to broaden users’ music interests, the more “organic” source for new music in 2017 is SoundCloud. Typically dubbed as “underground,” SoundCloud allows for all aspiring music makers to express themselves and their work. Now famous artists Post Malone, Kehlani and Bryson Tiller can all credit SoundCloud for jumpstarting their respective careers. AU students have taken to SoundCloud to discover new up-and-coming artists.

Freshman Elliot Hunt is an avid Spotify Premium fan but also advocates for SoundCloud’s purpose.

“I sometimes seek out new music. I like SoundCloud because you can find a lot of artists that aren’t big enough to be on Spotify and iTunes,” Hunt said.

He also features his own music on SoundCloud – something that many young artists, rappers and producers do nowadays either as a fun hobby or a full-time commitment.

Overall, the music market has shifted to these online platforms and does not look to be moving again anytime soon. And while Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” has changed the way some find new music, SoundCloud has a place in the market for new artists to obtain an audience of their own.

draju@theeagleonline.com


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