I like John Jurgensen’s phrase “search-bar paralysis” to describe a common problem people face because of the seemingly endless supply of music to explore on music streaming platforms.
Where to begin? Jazz? Folk? Classical? Or the nebulous, catchall category Indie?
Needless to say my discovery of new music has been a little hit-and-miss thanks to music streaming platforms.
Algorithms v. Set Playlists
Some streaming sites use automated algorithms to recommend songs to users based on preferences of previously played music. Other sites offer curated playlists from music aficionados or playlists assembled by any old Joe Schmo.
I’ve had the best success with music discovery using the automated recommendations, but sometimes the algorithms play it too safe. In other words, they cause me to get stuck in a narrow, music genre rut instead of appealing to my other tastes. I mean, how’s an algorithm to know that someone who likes Jim Croce will also like Switchfoot?
I’ve about given up on trying out the Joe Schmo playlists for studying, smiling, or you-insert-the-activity. Apparently, songs that make Schmo smile can make me cringe. And songs that make Schmo dance give me a headache.
How do you discover new music? Do you like set playlists or algorithms better?