Streaming – Discovering Similar or New Music


There are multiple ways to search for similar or new music when streaming.  The most common way is to manually scroll down the page to find ‘Similar Artists’ – when currently listening to a particular artist.  Different streamer apps have different approaches.   Some offer a manual search only.  Others offer both manual and automatic.   

Which streamer apps do a great job?  Which do not?  EG: Innous Sense, Aurender Conductor, Auralic Lightning DS, Lumin, etc.  

Please share your tips & experiences.   With & without Roon.

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This thread is not about comparing sound quality.  Just the ease of discovering similar or new music.

steakster

My experience with Tidal - w/o Roon.

When using Tidal’s app on a laptop, I loved its automated functionality for discovering similar/new music.  The automated functionality displayed artists and songs without the need for a manual search.  Tidal automatically did it for me.  I found an enormous amount of new-to-me music this way. It was very simple & very easy.  (Described below.) 

These benefits changed when I switched from a laptop to a streamer.  I went from the Tidal app to the streamer’s app.   I immediately appreciated the superior SQ of the streamer.  But, the streamer’s app didn’t offer the same automated functionality.  I was limited to a manual search.  I realized that I wasn’t saving as much similar/new music as I did before.  This is with the Lightning DS app on a Auralic Aries.     

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Tips for discovering similar/new music using the Tidal app.

- With the Tidal app on a laptop, Tidal’s automated recommendations really shine when you create your own playlists.  After you manually populate your own playlists (such as: ‘Electric Blues’ – ‘Big Band’ – ‘Show Tunes’), Tidal automatically populates and displays similar music after your list ends. No need for a manual search.  These automated additions will refresh and change every week or so.  If you like a cut from their list, you need to manually save it to your own playlist.  This automated programming also tosses in a few cuts of very different music just to mix it up.

- After you create your own playlists, this allows the Tidal automated algorithm to create more relevant ‘Mixes and Radio’.    This is really nice!

- Tidal’s ‘Artist Radio’ is also excellent for finding similar/new music.   IME, it’s better than Tidal’s pre-built playlists.  If you click on the ‘Radio’ button for a particular artist, Tidal automatically generates a new playlist of many different musicians for that genre of music.   It’s not just music by the same artist.

- Tidal’s home page with new releases is targeted toward the younger generation.   Just skip it if it doesn’t appeal to you.  Tidal is pretty good once you figure it out.

Some streamer apps, don’t off as much feature-rich functionality as Tidal’s own.   It would be so much better if they did since a streamer’s SQ is far superior than a noisy computer.

I'm not quite sure of the details here, but when I cue up a particular song on Qobuz, Qobuz automatically cues up a number it deems to be similar. I actually find it to be a bit annoying, as the song it chooses is, more often than not, superficially similar but generally inferior in quality.

Maybe off topic but I've always looked at who is playing on a disk I like and go in search of their recordings.  Looking to expand as opposed to similar?  It's worked well for me over the years.  

I’m not big on building playlists but I do have an appreciation for the Spotify interface with regards to suggesting other titles/artists that “Connect” with what I’ve been listening to. I haven’t had much experience yet with Qobuz as I’ve only recently started using it.

Along the lines of what @bigtwin describes the interface in my Naim Uniti Core has an excellent method of supplying album/artist facts and recommending similar music.

Once a disk is ripped onto the server album art and data are brought in via Rovi, Music Brainz and Free DB. On the album page is a press review of the title and a link to a booklet. The booklet lists all track/performer/credit data as well as pictures of the artist. All references are hyperlinked for immediate browsing. At the end of the booklet there are multiple page lists of similar artists and recordings with hyperlinks. You can also use the descriptors provided with the associated links to sort your library by genre. It’s really nice.

Mostly when it comes to finding new music or artists though I rely on the AOTY website. This site lists all music releases by genre or by release date. I check it and sort every couple of weeks, audition the music via my Lumin on Qobuz/Spotify and makes notes of what I want. When I have enough titles to keep me busy for a few weeks I place an order and then repeat the process. It never ends!

My experience is with Lumin and Roon.  I have both Tidal and Qobuz subscriptions.  To me, it's not even close....Roon wins!  Roon wins for selecting the best highest resolution sound quality.  I have my Roon set up to bias Qobuz because I like that everything is hi-res.  I have also used the Lumin app and while it also does a fabulous job with playback I find Roon easier and faster to work with on an Apple mobile device.

I use Roon with a Qobuz subscription.

I mostly listen to the "Your Daily Mixes" feature.

One disappointing experience is that Roon's "Your Daliy Mixes" tend to populate well-known albums that for me are played out (at least in the jazz genre).

A Roon staffer on some forum mentioned their updated algorithm works best to surface new music when your library of favorite albums is well-populated. I think he mentioned that a majority of users favorite less than 500 albums.

Having subscribed to most every streaming service over the years before settling on Qobuz, I used an online playlist/favorite album transfer service to move all my albums over to Qobuz from Tidal, Amazon music, etc. where I could still see them without the subscription for those. I paid for the transfer service, moved the albums over, then cancelled. Some I had to move manually because the transfer service (I think it was Tune My Music) couldn't see albums in the former service without that service being paid up. Guess you could repay for those, transfer, and cancel, but in those cases I ended up moving manually.  

Now I have 600 albums in my library and "Your Daily Mixes" are a bit more diverse in their offerings. I'm less discerning in favoriting albums now so I can keep enlarging the library as "Your Daily Mixes" and the "Start Radio" features in Roon are how I listen to music most.

@deadhead1000 Thanks for the link, interesting website. 

I am all about building killer playlists. One of my discovery techniques is listening to internet radio, Spotify Discover Weekly and other people's playlists and taking a quick screenshot on my phone of the songs I like. Then at my convenience from my computer, I open my Photos app and add them to Qobuz playlists. It's quick and easy, and my discoveries are much broader than simply looking for similar artists.

Great subject, you gotta love streaming for this aspect alone.  

 I really dislike the streaming service throwing music at me unasked according to algorithm.  I prefer the services that have a tab saying “select new music” as opposed to just doing it automatically 

I abhor creating my own playlists. Tedious. 95% of my listening is via suggested playlists or "radio" type features.

Spotify has the best suggestions. Of course it’s content isn’t the greatest quality.

Tidal does a pretty good job of providing customized suggestions. @steakster if you use a streamer that supports Tidal Connect, you can use the Tidal app to remote control your streamer. Best of both worlds. I don’t know if your streamer supports this (I use Lumin).

I keep hoping Qobuz will release a Qobuz Connect so I can drop Tidal (not a MQA fan).

Definitely Roon with Qobuz and Tital subcriptions.

I don't like proprietary apps.

I use Conductor app with Qobuz. One of the many features I enjoy is Qobuz Playlists to explore music. And then there are tabs on my Conductor app, 

-New Releases, Streaming Charts, Most Featured, Editor Picks, Qobuzinissim

Creating Playlist is a breeze with Conductor App. I love cueing up my ‘demo’ playlist for each genre.

@deadhead1000 

Thanks for sharing the link to a very cool website. It’s pretty darn accurate for my musical tastes, now If I can find time to create more playlists :-) 

Tidal “Artist Playlist” works for me. I like the feature of previewing the queue so I can reject the songs I (or guests) don’t like. Or, bail altogether if the music becomes to redundant.

The Mermen artist playlist is the best music to play while working on old cars. It’s difficult to throw tools at things in frustration with the soothing sounds of California surfer music playing in the background.

I find out about 'new to me' artists browsing on you-tube, i.e. npr tiny desk concerts, boyce avenue, .. references from friends, and pandora radio stations which automatically plays similar artists to the 'stations' you make of the artists you know and like.

just yesterday found 'mandolin orange' on tiny desk

 

 

seems everyone else knew, their lps are pricey.

I subscribe to several services to get more sources of inspiration. 
Apple, Deezer and Qobuz are all great with this but with Deezer being the standout . 

I'm not a huge fan of the streaming services suggesting similar artists.  I use the all music site https://www.allmusic.com/  which tells me more about the artist and seems to have a more accurate algorithm.  As you move down the page it gets a little whacky but I've found a lot of great artists.

A better method for me is to look at the credits for an album I look and then click on the engineer or producer to see what other albums they've worked on.  

I tend to explore new artists and music the same way i did when I went to the record store, way back when. I look at the album cover.

@pokey77 

Glad to turn a few folks on to Music-map. I understand wanting to find new music vs. music that's the same. I listen to new stuff for three reasons, 1) Keep current and show my 12 Year old Niece I'm not some old guy listening to a lot of old/dead musicians. I really like Taylor Swift, sue me. 2) Find new bands/singers that fit my typical tastes. 3) Find new music that is totally unlike my typical tastes. I have heard some really good Hip Hop. It took me a while to understand that Hip Hop is not the same as Rap. 

@elliottbnewcombjr  - Mandolin Orange! Great stuff. That's one I found last year.

I am an Aurender user and Tidal is what I use as a streaming service. I discover new music clicking on "Album" categories in the Conductor app like New, Masters, Discovery, Rising, Staff Picks. The same can be done for "Songs" as well. I've found so much new music that way and made many great playlists. Because of streaming, I've ventured into so many genre's that I'd never have explored in the days of buying CDs. It has given me a new lease on life and I'm loving it!

That being said, I really do like Music-map. It will be nice to use it to remind me of other bands in a particular genre that I also like and maybe discover more new bands too.

 

This is a great thread. Thanks OP.

tidal’s own app is fairly good at this

qobuz less so

blu os not bad, kinda so so

roon and its various features do this just wonderfully, make it so easy and so enjoyable, in a number of ways... for me a big part of its value added

Lumin U1 streamer here. I do a lot of my music organization and searching in the native Qobuz app itself but use the Lumin app for listening.

 

Lumin has a function where you long-press a song, album, artist, etc., there's an information button that brings you to a discography webpage that has a tab with similar artists. I use that frequently and lets me do a deeper dive than just seeing suggested songs. 

 

But by far, the best source of discovering similar or new music are the music sections of Audiogon and others. Hearing fellow user's suggestions in specific genres, female vocalists, best guitarists, etc. is an amazing way to find great new music other enthusiasts endorse.

Just like christianb5s4, I tend to cue up recommendations I see on this site.

That is all I use streaming for, well also back ground music. Hence the reason I did not allocate a Ton of money. The Grace Digital Link does it for me. Connected to the very good musical fidelity v90 dac. Total outlay, less than $500.....

I've mentioned it a couple/three times before but I'll mention it again. Subscribing to a good streaming service is like having the keys to the world's best record store. For an eminently fair monthly fee. Sure, it could all come to an end for me if, one day, they churlishly decide to rocket their rates. But until then I'll remain utterly smitten.

@nosualc Didnt read through all of this so apologize if someone already posted this. With Tidal, you can select the Hifi option which provides hi res without MQA. You’ll save $10/month also. FYI. 

Qobuz playlist appear in ROON. Really good way to discover. I just kicked off the Chord Electronics playlist with like 170 tracks. Half dozen tracks already I have never heard. Bind Moggling.