Music is a very personal thing for most people. Each and every one of us likes a different set of genres and artists; what I love you may hate, what you love I may hate. Everybody has different tastes, which is something we should embrace. That isn’t to say you can’t recommend an artist to a friend or loved one, just don’t be offended when they reject that artist.
It’s far better to discover new music for yourself, but where do you begin? You could listen to online radio and pick and choose the songs that resonate. Or you could use Spotify apps to be recommended new music based on what you already listen to. Then again, you could delve into music mapping apps created using The Echo Nest platform (also responsible for Infinite Gangnam Style).
Mapping music isn’t as bizarre as it may at first sound. In the same way locations can be mapped out, so can music genres and artists, with one style feeding into the next, one band being connected to another. What follows are three methods for mapping genres and artists that should lead to you to discover new music. Hopefully, all without having to offend a friend or loved one.
The Music Maze [No Longer Available]
The Music Maze is surprisingly simple but effortlessly efficient. Rather than throw a whole map of genres at you — which is what the two other apps on this list do — it guides you by the hand through the music maze, hitting different, interconnected artists as you go.
You can enter the maze at a point of your choosing. Just type the name of an artist into the space provided and hit ‘Enter‘. A song by that artist will start to play, and a number of other artists will pop up alongside your chosen act. You can then choose either one you already know or one you’ve never heard of.
You navigate the maze by clicking on one of the artists, repeating the process ad nauseum. There is no exit to find, this is merely a way of presenting similar artists to those you already like. The grouping means you’re only ever presented with artists that share something in common with those you have already indicated you enjoy.
Don’t Forget To: Click the ‘Random‘ button in order to land on a random artist in the maze.
Map Of Music Styles, or MOMS for short, is a visual representation of the various genres that exist in music. There are over 1,000 listed, pared down from more than 2,000, and each is grouped together to sit alongside genres that they have things in common with.
Each genre is listed in terms of importance; the names appearing larger or smaller based on the number of artists contained within. There are lines between each genre, sometimes connecting multiple different genres. The end result is a kind of Google Maps for music, with genres grouped into continents and countries.
You can zoom in and out of the Map Of Music Styles, discovering smaller, more niche, genres as you do. Clicking on a genre will play a random song from that genre. In this way you can get a feel for which genres you would like to explore further and which you would rather leave well alone.
Don’t Forget To: Try charting a continuous line through all of the genres you like.
Every Noise At Once is the most epic of the apps on this list. Not only does it list all of the genres you’ve likely ever heard of (as well as a few more you haven’t), it has another layer dedicated to artists, all grouped within the genre they belong to.
The genres are clustered according to data, so there is a discernible pattern present. However, as no attempt has been made to add a visual element to the raw data (by design) the list can at first seem overwhelming. Focus on the kinds of genres you gravitate towards, however, and all becomes clearer.
Clicking on the small double arrows at the end of each genre’s name leads you further down the rabbit-hole, with artists in that genre revealed. Clicking on a name will start a random song by the artist. Clicking ‘Scan‘ within a genre plays a snippet from each artist located within it.
Don’t Forget To: Click ‘Scan‘ to have the app play through the genres at random.
I found all three of these music mapping apps to be both fun and fascinating. I’ve discovered genres I never knew existed, links between genres I could never have visualized for myself, and connections between artists that now seem rather obvious but which I was previously unaware of. Most importantly I discovered a host of new music to explore further on Spotify and beyond.
Which of these music mapping apps did you find the most useful? Did any of them help you to discover new music genres or artists? What kind of music map would you like to see created? Are you aware of any other musical mapping apps that deserve a wider audience? As always we’re keen to hear your thoughts on the subject at hand in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Dennis Tang