This paper explores how we, as individuals, purposefully or serendipitously encounter “new music” (that is, music that we haven’t heard before) and relates these behaviours to music information retrieval activities such as music searching and music discovery via use of recommender systems. 41 participants participated in a three-day diary study, in which they recorded all incidents that brought them into contact with new music. The diaries were analyzed using a Grounded Theory approach. The results of this analysis are discussed with respect to location, time, and whether the music encounter was actively sought or occurred passively. Based on these results, we outline design implications for music information retrieval software, and suggest an extension of “laid back” searching.