Are you in a music rut? Do you hate your Apple Music Replay? Take things in a different direction for 2023 by using the discovery features on Apple Music to find new albums, artists, and songs.
Music discovery can be overwhelming, so the key is knowing what you’re trying to accomplish and then where to look for it. If you want your past listening history to guide new recommendations, there are playlists and sections that relate to your existing library. But if you want to dive into completely new genres, there are ways to do that as well.
We’ll focus on the Apple Music app on iPhone for navigating the streaming service, but all of these playlists and options should be available across iPad, Mac, the web, and even Android. You can also use a HomePod and Siri to surface something unique.
The first place to start is the For You playlists. These personalized collections include the Favorites Mix, Get Up! Mix, and Chill Mix, and they’re automatically updated once a week. Songs are pulled from your library and make it easy to re-discover old favorites.
The New Music Mix is updated each Friday when new releases from artists hit the virtual shelves. Here, Apple adds songs from artists you may not be familiar with but who align with your tastes. Similarly, if you’re following people on Apple Music, the Friends Mix pulls in songs they’re listening to and refreshes the selections each Thursday.
Find the For You playlists at the top of the Library section in the Apple Music app or about halfway down the screen in the Listen Now section of the app. If you do find a song you like, add it to your library so it’s not lost when the playlists get updated.
Another way to find new personalized music is Listen Now. Located in the Apple Music app’s first tab, it’s meant to be your go-to, music-discovery hub. It will show albums that are similar to your music library, offer up programmatic radio stations, and feature different eras of music.
Slightly buried on the Listen Now screen is a section called New Releases. Here, Apple will try to surface new albums from artists already in your library. Instead of you trying to keep track of when one of the hundreds of artists in your library releases a new collection of songs, Apple will highlight them here each week.
Sometimes discovering new music means breaking out of algorithmic cycles and finding completely new melodies. The first place to start is the Browse section of the app. Apple uses human curation to determine at least some of the music that appears here, so this will be targeted more toward the general public. There will probably be a lot that won’t be to your liking, but that’s okay; it can sometimes lead to serendipitous discoveries.
The Browse section is primarily refreshed each Friday when new songs and albums are released. The top promotional images are usually tied to current events (such as a death, holiday, or notable milestone) or popular artists and newly created playlists.
Further down the screen, you can browse music by mood, which might be one of the best ways to stumble on the kind of music you feel like listening to at the moment. City Charts show a ranking of popular songs in select cities around the world; there are also charts for countries. At the very bottom are even more options to dig through, including a way to manually scroll nearly 100 different categories and genres.
If you are following friends on Apple Music, you can see the albums they’re listening to via the Listen Now screen, without waiting for the Friends Mix to be updated each week. Throughout Apple Music, if your friends listen to something, you’ll also notice their profile picture on the bottom-left corner of the album art.
Whether it’s Siri on your iPhone or HomePod, asking the virtual assistant is a handy way to start playing music. I’ve found there are plenty of times that call for music but I’m not sure what to request. In this case, you can tap into the hundreds of Just Ask Siri playlists that revolve around moods or circumstances.
For example, you can ask Siri for playlists like Jogging, Singing in the Shower, Family Breakfast, On the Train, or Leave Me Alone. The idea is that you can ask for one that relates to your current situation. You don’t need to know whether a playlist for it exists or not—just ask for something.
If all else fails you can also shout out, “Hey Siri, play new music” to start playing something you haven’t heard before.
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