Even though I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years (what the heck??) at this point, you’d be surprised how often people STILL ask me how and where I keep up with music as frequently as I do. Though the simple answers are “I follow artists and writers on Twitter and Spotify!” there’s a lot more to it. So I decided to write a post on it!
Below are the main ways I stay up-to-date with music and pop culture, whether it’s for information on artists sharing information on upcoming releases, my favorite writers sharing a new piece, or a music outlet sharing news.
I also thought this was a great time to share this piece since the current state of the industry is facing a bit of turmoil and uncertainty. It’s a great way to make sure writers, creators (and obviously musicians) are getting their views/plays/etc. by reading and sharing their work.
Hearby – I am biased because I am a contributing writer for Hearby, but they really are doing a cool and innovative thing right now. The Hearby app is based in 11 major US cities as of today and focuses on those city’s specific music scenes. Ranging from live shows to local artists to touring artists visiting for shows (that third one is on pause right now), the app allows you to gain even more insight on your specific city. You can also check out the blog for more in-depth features!
Ones To Watch – I also may be called a bit biased for this share, since I wrote for Ones To Watch for a couple years while I was in college. I think their work is incredibly relevant to my readers because we tend to cover and share lots of the same artists, and they do an incredible job sharing various types of content, including playlists, round-ups, interviews, and even video content. If you are looking for even more musicians like the ones featured on Chicago Haze, chances are you’ll find them on Ones To Watch.
All New Indie – The title says it all! If you like indie music, Spotify updates this playlist every week with new indie tracks to listen to.
Discover Weekly – I don’t use this one as much because it tends to include artists or songs I already know, but it really is a good tool to use if you feel like your library needs a refresh.
New Music Friday – this one is obvious for Spotify users, but I urge you to actually go through it farther than just a few songs or by clicking on artists you recognize. I guarantee you will find a new artist you love every week if you scroll just a bit longer.
Release Radar – I’ve recently learned that if you follow your favorite artists on Spotify, their new music is more likely to land in your Release Radar, which is really helpful! Since I like a lot of musicians that aren’t big enough to get on New Music Friday, lots of times, their new songs will be on my Release Radar, which is great.
Consequence of Sound – COS is the one publication whose album reviews almost ALWAYS align with my opinions. I also think they’re the most readable publication out of all of these, meaning they don’t use too many industry terms or wordy jargon that can make someone not as involved or dedicated to music feel like they can’t interpret the piece. I love that they cover all genres of music, and they also cover movies and TV.
New York Times – I really enjoy the New York Times’ music section for a few reasons, but I think the primary reason why I resonate with their team of writers is because there’s no sense of “shame” in terms of what they like and what they choose to cover. They do a good job covering a range of genres, but I generally tend to gravitate towards their coverage on pop music.
Pitchfork – Pitchfork is a very polarizing publication to most music fans and I have a love-hate relationship with them. They tend to do the opposite with their reviews in regards to what I like about COS, and often write pieces from a POV that sounds like they are the deciding factor in what is considered to be objectively good or bad music. However, I like to read their reviews just to see what they think about albums I am interested in because I think they despite their very elitist language, lots of the writers have genuinely interesting things to say.
Stereogum – I would like to give whoever runs Stereogum’s Twitter page a raise, because they do a RIDICULOUSLY good job at constantly updating their feed with new music releases. Sometimes during the week I check out their page and see a ton of tweets with posts about new singles, album releases, etc. and I love how frequent they are with it.
All Songs Considered – Though I will be the first to admit that I don’t listen to this podcast every week, I love it. I think this is the format of a podcast I would create if I were to ever venture into that field. They do a handful of features on albums as well as round-ups every week based on new music.
Keep It! – Keep It! isn’t a primarily music-focused podcast but if it’s a popular topic in the news, they definitely will talk about it extensively and how it relates to culture on a bigger scale, which I really like. Their breakdown of Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana documentary was really great.
Popcast – I already mentioned how much I like the NY Times’ music section, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. This is the same section’s podcast, and they release weekly episodes mainly on current topics. They do really detailed breakdowns of albums and current topics that are popular in the music industry. One episode in particular that I thought was done really well was about the Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun battle, and they did a good job making the jargon easy for us non-industry folk to understand.
Switched On Pop – Vox Media’s music podcast talks all about pop music and what makes a song catchy. I LOVE this podcast and it’s definitely something to listen to if you are interested in the further breakdown and analysis of what makes a pop song “catchy.”
Greg Kot – Chicago Tribune music critic (retiring this year).
Laura Snapes – The Guardian‘s Deputy Music Editor
Brittany Spanos – Staff Writer at Rolling Stone
Rob Sheffield – Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, avid Taylor Swift fan
Joe Coscarelli – New York Time‘s Music Culture Reporter, focusing on pop music
Thanks for reading! Hang in there 🙂