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Music Discovery Guide 

Be just a little intentional in your search for new music

If you're reading this, then that probably means that, at least once in a while, you look to your local alternative weekly for new music. That's smart—we're a good place to start.

But the truth is there's no end to the myriad avenues that all lead to amazing new-to-you music. The problem is, people often settle into a single lane of musical illumination. When that happens—like with Pandora, the method becomes ultra-commercialized while exposure to music that's beyond the reach of a listener's comfort zone becomes limited.

Enter our Music Discovery Guide.

Coffee Shops & Shazam

We know you spend time in coffee shops like Backporch and Thump, likely with your headphones on. Next time, try taking those ear cans off and giving the music they play a shot—it's usually pretty damn awesome. Bend has no shortage of local businesses with hip employees who know good music. Some of it might not be totally fresh, but if you haven't heard it, it's new to you. Grab your smartphone or tablet, download the Shazam app (if you haven't already) and tag that catchy song. Once you get the artist's name, step through that window into the rest of their catalogue and discover away.

Online Radio Playlists

Earlier this year, we brought you a story on some sweet online public radio stations like 89.3 The Current and Bend's own KPOV, both of which truly focus on the best new music out there. One facet of their operation we forgot to mention is that they all archive their daily playlists. That means that even if you weren't able to listen to the station while you were at work, you can, at your leisure, peruse the list of songs played that day. Plug the songs you want to hear into Spotify or Rdio and take control of your experience.


Most of you likely get your digital music from Apple or Amazon. Let's face it, those two giants control a large part of how we consume music. But the status quo was made to be broken. If finding music unknown to you and your friends truly interests you, check out online music broker eMusic. It's a subscription service, which means you'll have to sign up for a monthly plan (albeit without a commitment), but the rewards are endless. Not only is music cheaper here than on their large web-based warehouse counterparts, but the site is chock-full of industry experts who review albums, write articles on music discovery and blog about new releases. They even help readers dig deeper into a band's past so that former projects can be unearthed. Oh, and they curate streaming radio stations to further assist your musical quest.

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...
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