Getting Out of a Music Rut

“Please give me song suggestions, I need some new music to listen to.” We have all read and/or posted this in a status update, tweet, or Instagram story. We all fall into a music rut sometimes where we listen to the same songs or the same types of songs over and over again. When you get in this loop, algorithms aren’t much help and they can even perpetuate the problem.

If you are a thirty-something like me, you may have deep dived into podcasts some years ago, because the contact is great, and podcasts are free and the commercials are easier to skip. (sorry, not sorry) When you come up for air you realize you have neglected music. So you turn on the radio or open a steaming app, but the music industry still has the age old problem of playing only five artists at a time. As we all know from Episode 288: Manufacturing the Song of the Summer of NPR’s Planet Money podcast, the songs that are getting the most air time are the ones that are paying to be played.

Getting out of a music rut can be work, but it’s worth it to discover your new favorite artist or the perfect song to match your mood.

Ask your friends - No shade about the Social Media crowdsourcing here, but I do suggest giving some guidelines about what kind of music you are and are not looking for. I find these threads to more enjoyable when they have a theme. For example, my friend Donny recently put a call out for everyone to share their favorite ‘guilty pleasure songs’.

Playlists are the new mixtapes - We all know someone with great musical tastes and with their fingers on the pulse of their favorite genre. Ask this person directly if they have any playlists that you can listen to or any suggestions. Most people will take this as a  compliment. Some might even make a playlist for you!

Listen to the lineup - Going to a music festival soon? Listen. To. Every. Artist. before making your schedule of who you want to see. You will discover so much new music that way and you might find some artists who you want to see more than the ones you were already a fan of.

Also if there’s a venue or promoter in your town that always books artists that you love then give all the ones on their schedule a quick listen. Flashlight Shows and Chattanooga House Shows has introduced me to so many bands that I had yet to hear.

Don’t miss the opener - I will never get why people skip the opening band on purpose. The cost to see them was included in your ticket price. You already paid to see them! Once my partner and I left a Moon Hooch concert new fans of the co-highlighter Marco Benevento. This is also how I discovered artists like Nikki Lane, King Tut and so many others.

Subscribe to Pitch Sifter - The Chattanooga Pitch Sifter is a monthly newsletter by that delivers five new locally-produced songs to subscribers for just $5 a month. If you are not a Chattanoogan, don’t let that scare you away. I would highly recommend this to non-Chattanoogans, because the songs and artist will be super new to you.

Speaking of podcasts - KEXP’s Song of the Day and NPR’s All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts will introduce you to artists from a variety of genres and backgrounds. I like to binge listen to KEXP’s Song of the Day and whenever I hear a song I really like, I pause the podcast feed and I hop over to Spotify to listen to more of that artist catalog.

Always be on the search for new music. New music will lead you in new experiences, friends, and will soundtrack new memories. Besides no one wants to be that old curmudgeon that rails about how no one makes good music anymore, when in fact good music is definitely still being made. New music is all around you, it just has not reached your ears yet. And maybe the best is yet to come? Godspeed on your quest!

“She Said, She Said” is a music column written exclusively by women. If you’re a fellow female fan who is interested in contributing, than head on up to the top of the page, and under the “About” tab, click “contribute your talent” and let us know!