New ways to spice up your old playlists

Finding new music through means of random generation is a fun and quick way to diverse one’s music taste during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo+Illustration+by+Ryan+Adams

Ryan Adams

Photo Illustration by Ryan Adams

Ashley Dawson, Arts Reporter


Music is recyclable, meaning listeners can hear the same song time and time again before tiring of it. However, throughout this quarantine period, music streaming apps are spiking in usage, and listeners are bound to grow weary of their overplayed songs and playlists. Fortunately for all music streamers, there are a multitude of ways that listeners can find new music, whether it be songs, or discovering a whole new genre from another country.

In the first week of 2019, the top 10 songs on Spotify had a total of 233,806,326 streams, as compared to the week that President Trump issued an emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic, which had the top 10 songs streamed a total of 305,349,324 times. This was the same week that more people began to practice social distancing, and music streaming skyrocketed.

Keeping in mind the fact that there were over 71 million more streams in the week that quarantining took off, music listeners are more likely to overplay songs more often and run out of music to listen to quicker than usual.

Here are some ways I have found new music:

Drawing from a hat

This system is a widely known randomizer for decision-making, and luckily, there is a way to find new music genres using two hats, which happens to be my favorite technique. By writing down and mixing pieces of paper with random countries on it for one hat, and writing down genres of music ranging from favorites to unknown genres, the musical-drawing possibilities are endless.

Once the hats are filled, simply draw a country and a genre, then input them into whatever streaming service you prefer. For example, if Italy was the chosen country and Pop was the chosen genre, just type ‘Italian Pop’ into any musical search engine, and pick a few songs to listen to.

My favorite discoveries have ranged from Bosnian Reggae, which produced a comical song by Dubioza Kolektiv called “French Song.” Other gems have included an incredibly catchy Kenyon Rock song by Murfy’s fLaW, titled “The Right Now.” After using this technique for two weeks, I have no plans to stop, as I continue to find enjoyable and catchy music.

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Looking through books

Flip open a book from your bookshelf to a random page and point to a word with closed eyes. Then, type that word into any music streaming app or website, and listen to the first song that comes up.

Using this technique, I first decided to go old school and use World’s Great Detective Stories, which were collected by the Black Readers Service Company. On page 274, as part of The Mystery of a Studio, originally written by Jacques Futrelle, I pointed to the word “burglary.” I then typed my key word into Spotify, and ended up listening to Burglary by Anxiety Reloaded, which turned out to be an impressively catchy song.

Of course, not every song is bound to be amazing, and not every key word or country-genre mixture is going to produce the perfect song for each person, but it’s always worth the continuous attempts to discover new music from all over the world.

Taking advantage of Spotify’s features

If you happen to remain unlucky in the search for new songs, or you simply didn’t vibe with any of the random choices, Spotify users can always click onto any of the crafted playlists based on moods, activities, or general sound to find music new to you.

Spotify also has a radio option in which users can pick an artist, genre, or even a single song and end up with a full list of music relating to your chosen piece.

Recently, I’ve come across a playlist crafted by another user called Back Porch Vibes, which is filled with indie folk, Americana, southern rock, and outlaw country. Personally, I’m not a big country music fan unless it’s outlaw, but through this playlist I’ve found that I actually enjoy indie folk and Americana.

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