Apparently, there are a lot of people who type in Google “how do you discover music and pop culture”. Well, although the mighty search engine provides a lot of answers already, I wanted to add a blog post on the same topic. Because who knows, maybe it’s exactly what you might be looking for!
Historically, people would search for music and pop culture through the main information outlets. In the 20th century, they were TV and radio. Although, nowadays they are still major players in deciding what is being pushed into the masses and what is not, the times them being major players are long gone.
Yes, you might remember the 80s or 90s when you would turn on MTV to watch the latest music videos or you would tune in to your favorite radio station to listen to the new tracks. It’s as if you were living in those days. Now, the new generation mostly discovers everything from social media.
I’m a musician and I have to promote my music myself because I don’t have enough money to hire someone else to do it for me. Well, a few years back I came across the term “gatekeeper”. These are the people or companies that pretty much “hold the gates”.
They decide who is good enough to get through the gates and who is not. They are still there, although their power has been diminished in recent years (and they are pissed about it).
You could consider a major music label to be a gatekeeper for example. TV, radio, and newspapers are other examples. They won’t talk about an artist if they think he/she is not worth talking about.
Although these gatekeepers are playing the role of the filter in order to separate what’s good and what is not and give only the best to the masses, they fail. They actually fail quite often.
See, this system is based purely on someone’s opinion which might not be the same as the opinion of another person. You and I might like an artist X, but because gatekeepers don’t think, the artist X is worthy, they won’t be spending time working with them.
Instead, they’ll show us an artist Y who might be good, but not as good.
Shortly, modern music is not about talent, but it’s about if the artist can sell. It all comes down to dollar bills.
Good news, everyone!
Just because major players don’t want to show you some good music, we have another option: blogs.
They were quite big in the 2010s, and they still play a major role in discovering new music and being the first ones to emerge in upcoming pop culture.
So, how do you discover music and pop culture through blogs?
A few years back, there was a website (it’s still there, don’t worry), Hype Machine. It was a blog aggregator.
That’s how it works (I need to switch to the present tense). Pretty much, there are many music blogs that cover multiple music genres. They join Hype Machine and plug in the music that they cover into that website.
Musicians normally pitch their songs to these blogs, and it’s just like with gatekeepers. If the blog thinks that the song or an album is worth covering, they will write a post about it. Then that music shows up on Hype Machine.
It’s still a good way to discover new stuff even though it’s not that popular anymore.
Actually, it’s how the music for TV shows and movies is discovered sometimes.
Let’s get to the most recent ways to discover new music and pop culture. Yes, I’m talking about social media.
It was kind of introduced in the early 2000s with MySpace. Do you remember, people were uploading their favorite songs to the pages? Then, when someone would come to their page, they would listen to that song.
That was a way to discover new stuff during that era of the internet. Now things became a bit different.
We still have the dinosaur called Facebook. Yes, the website might be old, but it still plays a major role in discovering new trends.
People share memes that are part of the current pop culture.
I would dive deeper into the memes and how they were created by Richard Dawkins, but I won’t do it in this post. Instead, let’s continue talking about Facebook.
Besides the memes, we have news articles. I actually discover news on Facebook and Google. The news is a part of pop culture, right? For example, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. It started in the news and immediately moved into memes.
Being a part of Meta, Instagram shares some similarities with Facebook even though it’s a different beast.
With the introduction of Reels, we can discover new trends much faster. Although Instagram is not the main trend developer, it still brings a very important input into pop culture.
See, Instagram has multiple post types (images, reels, IGTV, etc) that can show various aspects of the culture from multiple angles. You can watch a video that features a famous song on reels and then check out the most recent meme that was shared as an image. That’s actually quite stunning.
Although Instagram goes a bit behind the next social media channel, I believe it’s still a very important part of finding music and pop culture.
If you still have a question “how do you discover music and pop culture”, TikTok might be your final answer! Recent information shows that people begin using it as a search engine. So, now it’s even competing with Google.
TikTok is where trends start, and with these trends, pop culture emerges.
Although it’s mostly a Gen Z platform, an older generation like me (Millennials), can still use it in order to be on top of the most recent changes. So, if you want to be hip (I sound like an old man, seriously), then join TikTok!
I’ve been noticing that a lot of musicians are actually promoting their music through this platform.
As a musician, you can actually hire an influencer to plug your new track into their video. If you can create a new trend using your song, it might go viral!
Still Wondering How Do You Discover Music and Pop Culture?
If you still have this question then my answer to you is to stay on top of the recent technological changes.
If a new social network emerges, then hop on it (Truth Social, ha?). Maybe, it will be a gold mine for finding new stuff. Being in the loop is great! It doesn’t matter whether you are a musician or a business owner. If you follow trends and pop culture, you are riding the wave!
When I was in business school, we were taught that there are different groups of people when it comes to selling new products: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. You want to be an innovator. Always!
If you will be the first one to accept the change, you are going to be the one that will be on the top. Never be hesitant in joining a new social network because you might miss your chance.
I really hope that this post helped you to find out how you discover music and pop culture. There are a lot of things that can be covered here, but I tried to make it as concise as possible.
If you still have any questions, you can find me on social media and we can chat about it. I am almost everywhere.
Now go discover something new and amazing!