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Discovering music by career

How do you search new for music? Probably by genre, or maybe by artist. But have you ever thought about discovering music based on what type of job you have? I didn’t but it turns out that’s a great way to find and enjoy new music.

A better way to discover music?

Places like Pandora, Last FM and Grooveshark let you share playlists with friends and explore strangers’ playlists but does that really help you? Most people organize their music by genre and share it as such, like “Brian’s Techno Playlist” and then you know instantly whether or not you’ll probably like it. But what if music was organized by what type of job you had…would that interest you more?

It worked on me. A co-worker discovered DesignersMX, a site that asks invited web designers to make a playlist of 10 songs, all of which you can listen to you on the site. I found myself really digging into the site listening to all sorts of playlists because of the connection I thought I had with these people because they are web designers like me. Are these playlists techno? Country? Rock? Swing? You don’t know until you listen and that’s the great part about it.

You’re probably saying to yourself that’s no different than giving your playlist some ambiguous name, like “Brian’s Super Potato playlist” and you might be right, but the sheer fact that the people sharing this music are like me makes a huge difference. We all associate ourselves with groups, often many, and that has a greater impact on people than just a simple music label like “alt rock” or “Music like Nine Inch Nails.” And I can say I did discover some new music with DesignersMX that I wouldn’t have otherwise found or even thought of looking for.

Cool cover. Album art at DesignersMX is awesome.
Cool cover. Album art at DesignersMX is awesome.

When people ask me about Twitter and Facebook, I qualify one as being emotional and one as being interest based. Facebook keeps me in touch with family and friends I have some personal connection too, whereas Twitter connects me with complete strangers that I find only because they have similar interests. I never thought of finding music this way and it’s fascinating. It’s interest-based music discovery, but not music interest, it’s career interest. Plus, DesignersMX also asks each designer to make an album cover for their playlist, and I have to admit that’s a lot of fun because when you don’t know what type of music lies behind it, the cover art is what will grab you first.

DesignersMX is a great project that has worked on me. I’m much more inclined to try something if I think the person making the recommendation is more like me. It doesn’t matter if that person is a complete stranger or close friend, and more times than not, acting on that feeling has given me friends I never expected to find.

So what type of career would you want to hear musical selections from?


  1. JuanO JuanO May 24, 2011

    Wow, what a good find. The artwork alone is a good source for inspiration.

  2. Rommelito Rommelito June 14, 2011

    First of all, thanks for the great find and an inspirational read. Just wondering what it takes to become a member and create a mix. I myself am on the cusp of going from print to web so I’m still figuring things out, but I do think I can contribute with a great mix. Do I need to be a well established designer to become a member?

  3. Brian Brian Post author | June 14, 2011

    @Rommelito – I’m not sure what the requriements are to submit to Designers MX. Few of the names are familiar to me but they all sound like they’re from “established” firms and what not. It looks like you get an invite code to join and then sign-up.

    It looks like you can tweet them through @designersmx to find out more. If you do get in, post back so we can enjoy your mix.

  4. Rommelito Rommelito June 17, 2011

    Hi Brian
    I got a listeners invite, but I’m not sure if it’s the same as what you have. Can’t seem to find any link regarding making my own mix list.

    BTW, I’m also a Iso50 fan, so I suppose I’m someone who hopes to become like you.

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