Picture this: you, a person with amazing tastes in music, are really, really bored. All that you're armed with is your trusty computing device, and the desire to venture out across the amazing world of music to find something that you'll enjoy. It's a big world with a lot of music, and by golly, you're bound and determined to find entertainment. Where do you start?
Step 1: Music Databases
You have to find something to make all this finding a bit easier; a digital music database is the place to start, especially if you're not willing to go to a record store - do they even have those anymore? - and pay for the prettiest album cover. Soundcloud, YouTube, Bandcamp, Pandora and Spotify are all great databases to use. YouTube and Spotify generally yield more mainstream music, while Soundcloud and Bandcamp may have some more obscure results.
Some things about each site:
Pros: It has lots of music and tons of variety. Here you'll find bands and solo artists that you never would have found otherwise.
Cons: It doesn't have a lot of older artists' music; things from yesteryear are not there a lot of the time, and you may need to use other databases to find something if Soundcloud isn't cutting it.
Pros: Here, you can (legally) purchase music via the site if you enjoy it enough. It has just as much variety as Soundcloud, and is also a place where you can find that one artist that you wouldn't have otherwise.
Cons: It, like Soundcloud, is missing some of the older music.
Pros: It has a nice blend of older music and newer music. This, and Spotify, are the sites you should go to when you want to have music from the 1700's to the 1970's and onwards.
Cons: As of late: ads, ads, and more ads. A lot of time will be wasted seeing advertisements you don't care about. The site can be a bit hard to navigate when you have an account as well.
Pros: It's a great way to stumble upon new music when all you have is a genre, artist, or really anything musical in mind. It has great variety is well, and the more you use the site, the more accurately Pandora can predict what you'll like.
Cons: You can't search for a specific song. If you're not paying attention to what song is playing, you may have a song stuck in your head forever and you might never be able to find it.
Pros: You can find specific songs rather easily, and it has good selection and variety.
Cons: The mobile app use, unless you pay, is less than desirable. You can find albums, and it plays random tracks from there. The site itself is very good, though: just type in a song title, find the precise song, and listen to it with relative ease.
Step 2: Genre Preference
Not many people, if anyone, loves, enjoys, and listens to all genres of music. All you have to do here is find what speaks to you. Soundcloud's 'Explore' feature and Pandora's music genre stations are great ways to start. It may help you to start out with wide categories of music (Electronic, Metal, Rock), before getting into sub-genres (Darkwave, Electroacoustic, Post-Pop). Make a note of all the genres you end up enjoying. Remember, listen to a good amount of a genre and not just one song; when you have such wide genre classifications, you could miss something. Never steer clear of certain genres that you don't like as well. Within a certain genre, there could be a sub-genre you might like. For example, you could dislike Folk music, but enjoy Anti-Folk music. (The next step deals with sub-genres.)
(Pictured: Atoms For Peace's 'Amok.')
Step 3: Sub-Genre Preference
Take all the large, all encompassing genres you have now, and start to combine them. There's a rule in music: every genre has been combined with every other in some shape or form. (Call it the Owl rule of music, if you want.) When you combine all of your favorite genres, you're bound to get other genres that you love.
Here's some of the combinations:
Electronic + Acoustic = Electroacoustic
Metal + Electronic = Darkwave
Ambient + Electronic = Chillwave
Hip-Hop + Alternative = Trip-Hop
Electronic + Pop = Synth Pop
Post-Punk (Sub-genre of punk) + Alternative Rock = Gothic
Gothic + Pop = Emo Pop
There's also another rule to music: if it's a genre, you can put the word 'Post' before it, and there'll be another genre. Post versions of a genre usually have a slightly different take on the original that you may or may not like.
Post-(Your favorite genre or sub-genre.)
Sometimes, there may be a different word than 'Post' that is used to differentiate the genre. A few examples are 'Anti,' 'Alt,' and 'New.'
(Pictured: Umin's album 'Antiv.')
Step 4: Find Your Favorites/Support the Artists
This is the step that takes the longest: finding your favorites and continuing to explore. This is something that you could do with every fit of boredom you've ever had. Once you do find your favorites, and if you want to own the music, don't pirate it. If you can, make sure to support the artist and buy the music. The life of an artist is hard work, as my friends always remind me. Making music is about enjoyment, and people need the money to continue enjoying what they do.
(Pictured: (One of my favorites) Queen's Queen II.)