I love soundtracks. But when I listen to movie soundtracks, I think about what happened during the movie. I can't get that story out of my head, so it makes it hard for me to think about my own story when it's playing.
Instead, I listen to video game soundtracks. I still have to eliminate some that are too recognizable (any of the Legend of Zelda franchise), but there are plenty others with great soundtracks that I don't already have memorized. To sample new soundtracks, I've been listening to the Top Score podcast which features composers talking about their work and the games it's featured in. Another place I find music is MyAPM which is a site for sounds and songs available for mixing into commercials and other forms of media. You can sort songs and albums by categories on the left-hand side of the page. Some of my favorite are the Endgame series of albums. Look under the "Libraries and Cover Art" tab on the left to find them. (The site is transitioning from Sept. 19th-21st, if the address changes I'll post a new link in the comments.)
My music app of choice is Spotify. Yes, I'm one of those sheep. The shuffle algorithm isn't as good as some others, but that would be my only complaint. I organize my music into playlists based on the moods that I might be going for in different scenes. I have one slush list that I then sort into other categories. Currently I have 14, but will probably expand them to more.
- Unveiled Evil - The bad guy isn't hiding in his castle or behind a mask anymore, he's staring us in the face and grinning.
- Hope - Self-explanatory
- Kooky - There are some wacky songs, particularly in games geared for younger kids. I haven't used it yet, I may just delete this one if I can't find a use for it.
- Journey - This is good for "navel gazing" scenes when a character is in reverie.
- Together - Songs for romantic scenes
- Determination - A driving beat for motivation
- Victory - Self-explanatory
- Sacrifice/Loss - " "
- Ambiance - These are good for when the characters are doing errands or chores, nothing special.
- Creepy - Self-explanatory
- Suspense - " "
- Action - " "
- Sense of Wonder - I listen to these when I want the scene to inspire awe
- Chase Scene - These are different from the action list (although there are probably some songs on both). These have a much more driving, percussive sound. If you can picture Aladdin running from guards to the song, it belongs on this list.