If your music collection has begun to sound a little stale and the music on your radio doesn't excite you like it used to, it's time to expand your horizons. Whether you're a music connoisseur looking for new ways to find new music or a die-hard hip-hop fan who wants to branch out into jazz, exploring new genres and musicians is a great way to find new music you love and also to gain new appreciation for music you already enjoy.
Change your radio presets. If you have 10 presets in your car and they're all tuned to the same hip-hop and R&B, change it up. If you only listen to pop radio, add a jazz, a classical or a country station. In fact, even if you don't want to hop genres, try adding a station you like that's broadcast by a local station or a local university. Big-business radio tends to be limited in the songs it plays, whereas independent stations play a wider variety of music.
Find out what music your friends like and why they like it. There's a good chance that you listen to jazz, funk or electronica because a friend introduced you to it years ago. There's no reason why the same thing can't work now. Go find a friend whose tastes differ from your own and find out why they enjoy the music they do. If they listen to soul, ask them which bands they listen to. If they love classical, ask them to teach you about it. Looking at an unfamiliar music genre from someone else's perspective is a great way to learn to appreciate new music.
Listen to a new genre each week. Pick up a couple albums representative of a genre you don't listen to much and only listen to that music for a week. Sometimes extended exposure to a certain kind of music is all you need to change from a one-trick classic rock pony into an eclectic country, hip-hop, jazz and rock renaissance fan.
Listen to the whole album. If you're suffering from a radio-induced state of never-listen-to-anything-that-doesn't-have-a-radio-friendly-hook-itis, then one of the simplest ways to explore new music is to listen to entire albums by musicians you already like. Top-40 fare, while fun, is geared toward catching your attention quickly, not toward depth or complexity. You might be surprised to find that, with a few listens, a lot of deep-cut tracks are just as enjoyable as radio hits and get even better the more you listen to them.
Listen to music on vinyl. Vinyl fans claim that music sounds different when you listen to it on a record. It's not an unfounded claim: whereas CDs are recorded digitally, records are recorded in analog. In layman's terms, music on vinyl sounds warmer and more true to original recordings. Vinyl can give life to music, especially older pop music, that you haven't given much notice to in the past.