Explore beats off the beaten track

While+music+apps+provide+opportunities+to+discover+new+music%2C+bopdrop+makes+the+process+unique+by+combining+it+with+social+media.+In+this+app%2C+users+can+select+their+top+three+genres+to+display+in+their+profile%2C+share+songs+they+enjoy+and+interact+with+other+users+including+friends%2C+music+lovers+and+small+artists.+Graphic+by+Alex+Garibashvily

While music apps provide opportunities to discover new music, bopdrop makes the process unique by combining it with social media. In this app, users can select their top three genres to display in their profile, share songs they enjoy and interact with other users including friends, music lovers and small artists. Graphic by Alex Garibashvily

Haley Sandlow, Executive Opinions Editor

Tucked in a corner of the App Store, beneath a series of high-profile social media apps boasting pictures, videos, live streams, recipes and dozens of other uses, lies an app stripped of the limitless content that often causes social media to feel overwhelming. On bopdrop, a music-sharing app that can be downloaded for free, music discovery is contained among a community of music lovers sharing their favorite songs, discovering new ones and connecting with each other throughout the process.

Users begin by selecting three “top genres” to display in their profile and can then post songs, accompanied by a caption and a clip of any 30 seconds from the song. Users can follow other individuals and like or comment on others’ posts. The app may be linked to users’ Spotify and Apple Music accounts to add songs from bopdrop to a playlist outside the app. Despite the occasional stalling in the connection between the app and Spotify or Apple Music, bopdrop makes discovering music simple and easy by eliminating the need to flip between apps.

Users can only post one song per day, a nice touch that prevents spamming and ensures a user’s “explore” page is filled with a wide variety of genres, styles and artists. Users may also send songs to individuals and start group chats, where everyone can share songs.

Dan Dreher, chief operating officer and co-creator of bopdrop, said in a phone interview that after its launch about a year ago, the app grew by word of mouth and gained visibility through TikTok, resulting in the large demographic of 18- to 24-year-olds on the app.

That demographic forms the surprisingly tight-knit community of users sharing music and interacting with each other in sincere ways often lost in the vastness of other social media platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat. The culture of bopdrop feels comfortable, casual and accepting.

Dreher said he’s had inspiring interactions with small artists who have reached out through social media and shared their experience gaining visibility because of bopdrop.

“You have artists who are looking for a new audience, and it’s hard for them to find new audiences,” said Dreher. “And then you have users who are looking for new music, but it’s not really that easy to find new music. So we want bopdrop to kind of connect the two.”

Quincy Coomes, eighth-grade history teacher and verified artist on Spotify, said in a phone interview that he engages with bopdrop by posting his own music, sending his songs to individuals and connecting with other small artists. Since downloading the app, he has seen an increase in his Spotify streams and social media following.

Coomes shared one of his songs with a user on bopdrop who happened to be an intern at Pepperdine University in California, he said. This led to an opportunity to showcase his music at an online festival through the university, for which Coomes pre-recorded a 20-minute set.

“Being able to build those connections and get things kind of spread by word of mouth is really how an independent artist does build a foundation for growth,” Coomes said.

Dreher sums up the experience of using bopdrop in his description of its unique community, which comes “inherently from music,” he said.

“Part of [the community] is definitely the social habits of the TikTok generation,” said Dreher. “But then it’s also just naturally what music is. And, you know, music is really best enjoyed with other people.”

Sharing music with others, especially with those who have their own unique appreciation and tastes in music, is a cathartic experience that bopdrop facilitates perfectly. The app is also constantly updating, adapting to users’ suggestions and introducing new features. Although not as meticulous or successful at offering new music attuned to users’ own tastes as Spotify’s Discover Weekly or Apple Music’s Discovery Mix, scrolling through bopdrop is both exciting and relaxing, the byproduct of which is rediscovering favorite songs once forgotten and finding those few wonderful beats off the beaten track.