The best place to discover new music? Instagram.

The best place to discover new music? Instagram.

When 19-year-old pop artist Maude Latour released her summer 2019 song “Superfruit,” her fans quickly posted it to their Instagram stories. 

She encouraged it. “My audience is my publicity team, and when people share songs on Instagram, it helps so much,” she says. “With ‘Superfruit,’ over 100 people shared it on their stories. That’s a network of maybe 100,000 people. Not all of them look, but even if a few people do, that’s amazing,” Latour says. “Superfruit” now has upwards of 250,000 streams on Spotify.

Instagram began allowing users to share album covers and Spotify links to music on their stories in May 2018. But in recent months, the feature has grown increasingly popular. More and more, it seems that Instagram is becoming a place for discovery, while Spotify is more the place you go to listen and catalog those discoveries.

Tyler Dial is a 23-year-old country artist who says a lot of his fans have found him on Instagram. He, too, hopes people share his music on their stories when he releases a new song. He tells Mashable, “A big push is when you have new music out, and you want people to post it and talk about it.”

For many, Instagram is now their most effective method of finding new music. “I have noticed more people doing this,” Josie Milisci, a freshman at The University of Texas Austin, tells Mashable. She says she finds more new songs on Instagram than on Spotify because she “generally [doesn’t] like the music Spotify recommends.”

‘People are sharing the music they listen to on Instagram to establish their own identities.’

“I feel like [Spotify] is an outdated algorithm based on genre,” she says, noting that she cares more about the messages in the songs she listens to than the category of music they fall into. On the other hand, the stories she sees from her friends on Instagram “usually focus on music that suits a memory or an emotion,” and she believes that helps her connect with her friends. 

“People are sharing the music they listen to on Instagram to establish their own identities,” she says.

As an example, Milisci points to a day when one of her friends shared a “scathing break up song” by King Princess on her Instagram story after ending it with her boyfriend. 

Milisci clicked on the song and liked it herself. Now, King Princess is one of her favorite artists. 

It’s not ultra-famous pop stars she and her friends are looking for on their friends’ Instagram stories. Everyone already knows when Taylor Swift releases a new song, and no one needs Instagram to find it. Instead, Milisci has found a lot of up-and-coming or lesser known artists through Instagram stories. 

The best place to discover new music? Instagram.

Image: Screenshot/Instagram

Malavika Vivek, a recent high school graduate and a solutions architect at a software company, also says Instagram has been the way she’s discovered some of her favorite songs recently. “People used to post music with pictures, but now people are just posting the music they’re listening to, and I’ve gotten a lot of new music from Instagram.”

Vivek says her playlist generally consists of songs she first heard on the radio. But while she was overseas a couple months ago, she couldn’t listen to her favorite station.

“Lizzo was becoming popular while I was away, but I wouldn’t have known about her without Instagram,” Vivek says. “One of my friends posted one of her songs on their Instagram story, I listened to it, and now she’s one of my favorite artists.”

People like to listen to songs they see their friends post on Instagram because the recommendations are personal. “With a Spotify playlist based on your music, you’ll like maybe one in 10 of the new songs it recommends. But if someone whose music tastes I like posts a song on their story, I always look into that song. There’s more of a connection there,” Latour says, echoing Milisci.

Vivek, Milisci, and Latour all think music sharing has a lot of potential to grow on Instagram. 

“Instagram is one of the popular apps for our generation, so I think the move to include music on the platform was a brilliant idea, and I think it’s going to become something that’s increasingly popular,” Vivek

Milisci only sees music sharing on Instagram becoming more common as well. “As more people use it, it will become more popular,” she says, referencing the ability to add an album cover and a Spotify link to a story.

I’m getting all of my new music from people’s Instagram stories now so that’s cool

— Madison WamBam (@_WamBam_) June 19, 2019

To be sure, not everyone thinks Instagram will lead the way in music discovery. Tori Husain, an incoming first-year at New York University, says she’s found quite a few new artists and songs on Instagram. 

“I found both Jon Bellion and Kota The Friend on Instagram, and Jon Bellion is now one of my favorite artists,” she tells Mashable. 

In terms of where she finds most of the music on her playlist, Husain says it’s a mix of Spotify and “I guess Instagram now.”

But despite this, she thinks the platform is getting too cluttered and additional music features would only make this problem worse. “It’s just all getting too much,” Husain says. She misses the days when Instagram was just photos and short video. “You look at IGTV, and no ones uses that. That didn’t take off, and lots of people who use the app probably haven’t even heard of it. Now they’re adding shopping, and we don’t know how that will do,” she says. “If Instagram expanded more on music, I’m not sure if people would actually use it.”

Instagram is betting on the opposite. Devi Narasimhan, an Instagram spokesperson didn’t share statistics with Mashable on any uptick in use of music features on Instagram, but she does say the company is “working to give people more ways to share their moments and interact with each other using music.”

Latour, for one, thinks there is space for music in the social media arena. “I’ve always thought there is a niche for music sharing on social media. [Instagram is] definitely working on it, but I think there’s definitely room for more,” she says. 

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