liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
I feel like I'm turning into a terrible old fogey when it comes to music. I mean, not that I was ever at the cutting edge of fashion, but I used to at least recognize some current stuff. Now I hear odd things that happen to be played in shops or the gym, but I basically hate background music in public places, so I mostly tune it out. When I do pay attention to it it seems to be the same three songs over and over; in these days of digital music I don't understand why shops are so restricted in their muzak. And if something does catch my attention it's hard to go and find out what song was playing.

I could of course listen to chart radio, and I sometimes do this. That was how I kept up (to the extent I ever did) in the 90s. The thing is that I'm increasingly finding that I am happier if I avoid broadcast media as far as possible. TV is certainly worse than radio, but radio still has a lot of the same sexism and consumerism and political depressingness. The truth is that I don't like DJs very much. In principle I like the idea of an expert whose job it is to introduce me to interesting music, but it seems to me like most DJs don't actually talk about the music much, they just make inane (and usually sexist) comments about current affairs, sport, and so-called banter.

I think most people in 2015 don't discover new music by listening to Radio 1, anyway. It's all online, it's via sharing and social media. And this seems like a really good thing because there's a lot more room for stuff to become popular while bypassing what the big labels feel like promoting. I just don't get how it works.

I am still rather fond of last.fm. And a couple of my friends are on there and just getting a random selection from their libraries does fulfil some of what I'm looking for. So if anyone else is on last.fm and would like to friend me, [last.fm profile] livredor, please do go ahead.

But I feel like I'm missing out, somehow. Partly because my friends on last.fm are mostly people of my generation and they play music that they have on their hard drives, same as I do, so this way I get to explore more of the same kind of stuff that I'm already familiar with, ie mostly 20 years old or more. And that's a good thing, but it's not quite addressing my problem of wanting to keep up with more recent developments in music.

There's also a kind of filter bubble thing. The people I meet are mostly people like me, with similar music backgrounds. And even if I input music I already like into algorithmic systems, they recommend me similar stuff, that's the whole point. I'm conscious that my musical tastes tend pretty heavily white, for one thing. But it's not just the race bias, it's that there are entire new genres that have basically come into existence since I was a teenager and I don't really have any access to them. R&B, notably. And I want to find properly independent stuff, not just the genre marketed as "indie", but really take advantage of long tail marketing and the more direct interactions between musicians and fans that the internet makes possible.

I think what I want is something curated, but I don't want to have listen to radio type DJs' lowest-common-denominator, advertising friendly patter. I am... ambivalent about reading pretentious written word music journalism, but at least it's reading so I can skim through quickly, and pretentious is less annoying to me than inane. Does anybody have any recommendations for good music journalism / blogging, something that's going to help me find new music I wouldn't come across otherwise?

And I love sharing playlists with friends, but I'm not at all sure which tools people are using for that these days. Maybe it's just not a thing people do any more. I tried This is my jam for a bit but couldn't quite make it work for me, I think possibly because I just didn't know enough people using the site. There's my little community [community profile] mix_tape, and I have in fact discovered a bunch of good music there, but it's very low activity, and I feel guilty about constantly spamming the community asking for recs.

The thing I really feel ought to work is Spotify. They have a special offer at the moment and I've signed up for a three month paid account for 99p. I'm going to give it one last try to see if I can use it as a way to find new music, both via friends and via experts. I read some articles about Spotify and it said that the site was good for people who know exactly what they want to listen to, what it calls "lean forward" listeners, but struggled with people who just want to put something on in the background, "sit back" listeners, and I'm definitely in that category. I don't want a jukebox that allows me to listen to any song I choose, cos then I interrupt the flow of what I'm doing every five minutes to choose a new song, and also I am only going to be able to choose things I already know about. I want something I can pre-load with someone else's playlist and listen to that and see what catches my attention.

So, regarding Spotify specifically, does anyone have any recommendations of accounts that are worth following to find good curated playlists? Or just tell me about how you use Spotify, if you do, or what else you use instead if not.

The other question I have is, how should I go about buying this music when I do identify something new that I like? Perhaps even asking that question makes me an old fogey, perhaps everybody these days just streams music. But I want to be able to listen when I don't have a reliable internet connection, such as when I'm running or travelling. I want to be able to put my music collection on shuffle, not have to keep searching for the next thing I want to listen to. And I want to be able to own music on my own computer where I can back it up, so that I'll still be able to listen to it 20 years' time when it's too old-fashioned for streaming services to be bothered with, yet still well within copyright. And perhaps most importantly I want to give money to artists I like; I don't think musicians are getting much income from streaming services, whether that's Spotify or just searching for random things on YouTube.

So I want music in .mp3 format, I'm prepared to go with .ogg because the minor hassle is worth it for the sake of supporting open formats. But I want music I can load onto my phone or a portable player, without having to deal with the bandwidth and storage of videos or go to a lot of faff stripping just the soundtrack out of videos. I am at this point completely unprepared to pay money for stuff with DRM, because that the defeats the whole point of having my music available permanently and without an internet connection. I'm still paying for an account with emusic, but at this point it's so much worse than it was, both in terms of value for money and available selection, that I'm ready to cancel that and move to pretty much anything else that's better. Is it basically iTunes or Amazon (and can you even get non-DRM music in plain .mp3 format in those places)? How much malware do you have to put on your computer to be able to buy from there? In the past I've been put off both because they insisted you had to have a specific piece of software to buy from them, and I wasn't keen on that. Or is there any website that sells music, shares revenue with the artists, and is somewhat less of an awful megacorp? I know about things like Bandcamp, and they're lovely, but part of what I want to do is buy mainstream commercial music, not just undiscovered amateur artists.

Recommendations of actual music always welcome, of course. I really appreciate people who do share music on their journals, like [personal profile] oursin and [personal profile] seekingferret and [personal profile] ceb. But what I'm really looking for is recommendations of how to music in 2015. How to discover new music, how to do music in a modern social media context, recommendations of places to go to look for recommendations. And how to buy music once I've discovered it. Any suggestions appreciated!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 01:37 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I use spotify more or less exclusively for music. Generally finding a playlist that has some composers I like on it will be a reasonably good listen; or spotify has a "radio" function where it'll give you a stream of music based on an exemplar track that you supply.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 01:53 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (harp)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
er, an exemplar track, album, or artist (right click on a link to whatever and select "Start Radio") But the things on the radio won't just be that artist; you can go to Play Queue to see what's coming up, and skip things as desired.
Edited Date: 2015-01-21 01:59 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 03:53 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: Dragon. Bagpipes. Dragpipes? (dragpipes)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I'm happy to listen to random baroque/renaissance stuff in the background. The "radio" you get on spotify by going to Josquin or Monteverdi and selecting "Start Artist Radio" is quite acceptable to me, albeit with the odd track I skip. If you find listening to one movement from an oratorio annoying, then you might want to avoid it, though, I admit.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 03:58 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
Another thing worth doing on Spotify is finding a good ensemble who performs a variety of music within a style you like, e.g The Sixteen,Chanticleer. Whether you pick albums by them or shuffle or what is up to you, again, depending on how much it's important to you to listen to an entire oratorio together and in order.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 01:52 pm (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
I use Pitchfork to discover stuff. The bloke and I go through the staff lists (Top 50 Albums/Top 100 Tracks) every year to look for Christmas presents and almost always find something amazing. Lots of genres are covered, the descriptions are pretty good at letting you know if you'll be interested in listening to a track and each one has a link to a track, usually on SoundCloud.

Examples of artists we've discovered through Pitchfork: Burial, Bat for Lashes, Lykke Li, FKA Twigs.
Edited (Adding examples) Date: 2015-01-21 01:56 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-23 11:10 am (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
Yay! I'm glad it was useful.

I listened to Bat for Lashes yesterday because of this thread. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 02:07 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
I listen to my favorite radio station, which is a great combination of eclectic stuff and new music so I don't feel completely clueless when people talk about new music.

Its focus on Minnesota and random things like weather reports, which are features to me might well be a drawback to someone else. :) But I do love it. And their playlist includes iTunes and Amazon links for all the songs it plays, as well as information like other songs by that artist and other songs on the same album.

I also listen to Cerys Matthews' radio show on 6music, which is if anything even more aggressively eclectic but also has that standard-6music programming so again I feel just sufficiently infiltrated by modern culture that I am content. :)
Edited Date: 2015-01-21 02:08 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 03:55 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
And, I forgot to mention, but if you've not clicked on the link and noticed this yet: it's public radio, so no commercials...and the DJs aren't very commercial in what they talk about or what they play or anything, either. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 04:48 pm (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
Ooh, I second Cerys Matthew's 6music show. She has an incredible knowledge of music history.

I also enjoy Craig Charles' Funk and Soul Show on 6music.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 02:07 pm (UTC)
ursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ursula
A lot of this is country-specific: I listen to Pandora, sometimes songza, and buy DRM-free music from Amazon, but I don't think the first two are available in Britain.

My favorite Pandora station is seeded from Gillian Welch, whose group I heard on NPR a few years ago. Maybe this is fogey-ish advice, but NPR does have a broad-ranging musical selection on its website, and if you're able to access the streams in the UK it might be fun to explore. Presumably the BBC does something similar?

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 04:40 pm (UTC)
ursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ursula
These days I have a paid Pandora subscription, but I've found that if you listen to Pandora in a browser and close the window in a panic every time you get an ad, it stops playing you ads. I'd be interested to know whether that trick works for someone besides me!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 02:12 pm (UTC)
sashataakheru: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sashataakheru
...We are totally super compatible on last.fm, oh dear, I will friend you anyway. :D?

I'm quite slow to add new music to my collection, as well. I've got am mp3 player, so when I go out, I listen to my own music and tune the rest of the world out, which is great for this introvert. :D

But I'm trying to change that. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine took up this challenge to listen to 365 albums in 365 days. When she talked about doing it again this year, I decided to have a go, and broaden my horizons. Which is why I finally caved and paid for Spotify, which I'd never been particularly interested in until I found a use for it. I can pick out random things to listen to when I need an album and have no inspiration. I've already bought one new album from a band I'd never listened to before because I liked it so much. So it's proved useful for something.

If you're interested in following the music I'm listening to, I'm blogging it all over at [wordpress.com profile] sashataakheru. I don't know how much of it will be of interest to you, but you never know, you might find something interesting.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 02:19 pm (UTC)
sashataakheru: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sashataakheru
Well, all the random stuff I'll be listening to this year ought to introduce you to something you haven't heard before. So there's that.

Yeah, definitely. It's not that I'm bored with my current lot, but I want to broaden what I do have. I also want to get through this epic backlog of albums I've always meant to listen to, but never got around to doing so. So that'll be nice. I'm blogging about them mostly so I can get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, and writing about albums seemed like an easy way to do that.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 02:38 pm (UTC)
wychwood: chess queen against a runestone (Default)
From: [personal profile] wychwood
1. I have an online radio station I like a lot, Radio Paradise. It plays mostly what I would call eclectic rock, definitely including some up-to-the-minute music as well as the rest of the last forty or fifty years. It won't help with things like R&B, but plays quite a lot of world music and some jazz, etc, so isn't entirely white! There is a DJ, but he only ever talks about the music and he only comes in very occasionally. I have found a ton of new music that way.

2. Probably there are other online stations serving different audiences, with similarly low-key DJs, but unfortunately I don't know any! Maybe things like late-night shows on the less mainstream BBC channels might be worth looking at, though, or local NPR affiliates, that sort of thing?

3. YouTube has a thing where you can watch automatically created playlists of videos; it's nowhere near as good as last.fm, but if you pick a current hit song it will play you other hit songs most of the time, so it's one way to explore that space.

4. I also pick up a lot of music via cover blogs - there's a whole ecosystem of bloggers posting about interesting cover versions of songs or artists or genres or whatever, and that's a great way to find new artists especially independent ones - I bought a lovely album of folk Christmas carols last year, and am now looking for more of the artist's original works. My only specific links here are folk-related, but I know there's a lot more out there.

5. Spotify does seem like it's the big new thing, but like you I mostly listen to music in contexts where I don't have internet access!

6. I buy most of my music on CD, still, and then rip it myself. A lot from Amazon, I admit, but when I know I like the artist I'll find their website and buy from there. I do also buy mp3s from Amazon - these are DRM free, I don't think you need to install anything any more, and the files are stored in their "Cloud Player" so you can re-download if there's an issue (at least for as long as the current model continues, but it's better than just having to rebuy the track like you used to have to do!) Also, if you buy CDs directly from Amazon, a lot of them now have "Autorip" which is a thing where you get a free mp3 copy when you buy the CD, so you don't even have to rip it yourself. On the other hand, I know Amazon is fairly evil.

7. iTunes is DRMed, at least mostly, it requires you to install (and constantly upgrade upgrade upgrade) a big piece of software, and it also tends to try and hijack everything else music-related you do. Specifically, it at least used to do a thing where it wanted to overwrite everything on any iPod that was plugged into the computer... I hate it and have avoided it as far as humanly possible.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 02:49 pm (UTC)
marymac: Noser from Middleman (Default)
From: [personal profile] marymac
Hmm. I veer heavily toward Irish indie and US ex-punks, but mostly I find new stuff via:

The Last Mix Tape
Mainly Irish indie

Other Voices
Started as an Irish music showcase, has developed into a huge international network of musicians united mostly by their willingness to go to Dingle in December. I tend to stick their latest Youtube playlist on when cleaning and buy anything that I go back and replay.

NPR All Songs Considered
Um. What it says on the tin. They have a 24/7 streaming music channel, it keeps me sane come funding claims.

Bob Harris Sunday
Much like All Songs Considered, it's whatever takes his fancy plus reasoning for playing it. I am the offspring of a man who watched The Old Grey Whistle Test religiously, it's a thing.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 03:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
it's that there are entire new genres that have basically come into existence since I was a teenager and I don't really have any access to them. R&B, notably.

and we're back to the white bias thing. R&B has been around since the 40s!

In the past I've found new music by opening up a record catalogue, buying one thing I knew I liked and one thing that sounded interesting. It's done well for me, but it's been a while! I like vinyl best and have never, afair, bought digital music. I wouldn't know what to do with it. I listen online or to physical stuff.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 10:11 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I'm not convinced that modern R&B bears that close a resemblance to "Rhythm & Blues". They're so dissimilar, in fact, that they get separate Wikipedia entries :->

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
AH, my first attempt to google R&B wikipedia gave me only the Rhythm & Blues page. Bad googling, probably. But even so, there's a clear trace back to the early 80s, well before Liv and I were teenagers.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 03:12 pm (UTC)
mirrorshard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorshard
I music through social graph traversal - the musicians I know/follow lead me to other similar musicians through conversations and retweets. If someone's bio or habits ping my heuristics, I give them a listen and go from there.

This works well for the British folk scene, and I've successfully found a number of independents I like in the US and Canada as well.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 04:50 pm (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
yes this

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 05:38 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
I don't have a lot of overlap with mainstream music media (either practically or in terms of what I like to listen to). The main way I find new bands these days is via festivals. For the past several years I've been listening to music from every band that plays WGT (mostly as an orientation exercise; I don't usually know many of them before I go). It's a bit faffy as you have to keep poking websites, but it takes less long than you would expect especially if you're not being a stupid completist about it. I usually come out of it with about half a dozen bands I hadn't heard of before and really like, and I find it rewarding enough that I'd do it even if I weren't going to WGT that year. WGT is broad and large enough that they have some quite niche stuff, and a lot of it in genres I don't normally listen to or in languages that don't get much exposure in the UK.

I also find some stuff via recommendation, either from friends or from other stuff I happen to read/listen to (e.g. Night Vale always has a music slot; it doesn't have a huge hit rate for me but it has extended my range a bit). I haven't got any good specifically music-recommendation sites on my radar at the moment though. I would probably seek some out had I not hit on the WGT wheeze ;-)

In terms of format, I usually buy on CD (often I'm buying from bands/stalls at gigs and festivals) and then rip to mp3 and keep everything on a giant ipod which needs charging occasionally but doesn't need network connectivity. Reliable network connectivity is only just making its way into electronics I can afford.
Edited Date: 2015-01-21 05:46 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 06:42 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
While I don't often like the music that Welcome to Night Vale officially includes, I've found some contemporary music to my tastes from Night Vale fanvids; this works even better with Homestuck provided one is caught up with it.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 08:22 pm (UTC)
electricant: (Default)
From: [personal profile] electricant
I also haven't adapted to the new music landscape and tend to discover new music the same way I always did - by watching movies, dance productions, and attending festivals. A lot of what I listen to I came across on soundtracks. Or found via live performances I stumbled across at festivals - like the local duo I encountered putting on a free performance at a nearby theatre as part Sydney festival last week. Turns out they have a Facebook page and social media presence, but I make my discoveries in real life, not online. And those discoveries tend to be part of a larger arts/culture package, I rarely go looking for music specifically.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 10:15 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
On the front page of the Spotify desktop app there are a bunch of suggested playlists - one of which is "Top 100 tracks of 2014" and "One week one playlist" - both of which are pretty good at letting you know the state of popular music :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 10:34 pm (UTC)
doseybat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doseybat
Me too! Similar problems, except maybe accompanied by less energy currently available to work towards a solution, plus I feel embarrassingly habit driven and slow to adapt for someone in our social scene. Subscribed to Google Music instead of Spotify a few months ago because they let you keep downloaded music on your phone, and a large proportion of my music time is walking from A to B. It worked not too badly and I found nice things mainly through the Radio function starting from songs I already know (similar style things). And then I was away and not using it enough to justify the pretty high £10 a month and unsubscribed and have been considering going back, or possibly moving to Spotify.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 10:37 pm (UTC)
doseybat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doseybat
My single current real life musical influence is [personal profile] pplfichi's much younger brother (Infected Mushroom!) who would probably be mortified to realise this!

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 10:52 pm (UTC)
doseybat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] doseybat
And - someone we know has new band release! They are called Taman Shud
http://youtu.be/ZtdiwpntNLg
Edited Date: 2015-01-21 10:53 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-02-19 10:28 am (UTC)
blue_mai: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blue_mai
I am still doing music in a fairly old-fashioned way, but rather slowly.
Recently it seemed to stop completely, and for a while I pretty much just listened to the radio (BBC 2, Magic, stuff like that. Yes adverts are annoying, so are some DJs and I find 6music too irritating a lot of the time, but I have a high tolerance for mainstream radio and DJs). I wasn't buying much new stuff, and my CDs weren't very accessible.

I recently-ish got an actual smartphone, and as well as being able to listen to my very small collection of mp3s, I have subscribed to Google Play (which is why I'm replying to bat's comment here). It's somewhat revived my listening, and mostly I just use it to find (and mostly download) songs I already know and want to listen to, which - if I decide they're things I want to listen to lots more - get added to a few long playlists. I also download albums occasionally (maybe more now I got a bigger memory card), mostly ones I already own on CD, but it is a really easy way of hearing other albums by people I already know, or new people I've heard of and am curious about.

J buys vinyl LPs pretty much exclusively now, both old and new, and still maintains a fairly high rate of acquisition. I don't buy music so much, but CDs are still mostly my thing when I do - and if I hear something new I like I do make the effort to buy it on CD, and I still browse bricks+mortar record shops and buy things because I like the way they look, I like the name, or they're a recent thing by someone I like.

Google Play makes it easy to listen to things, but it isn't secure - you don't actually get the mp3s, and sometimes things just randomly disappear (one day Everlong just vanished from 3 different playlists, there must've been something happen to it in the database I guess). It also doesn't have *everything*. There are some surprising omissions - Substance by New Order, and the first two PM Dawn albums (despite having the later ones) are just a couple I've come across.

I don't worry about finding new music. I'm happy for it to happen slowly. To me music is very much a comfort and familiarity. J is much more into seeking new stuff.

The other way for me is just that music is always an easy topic of conversation - at home with J, with friends, also with C my colleague. So I still do the thing of recommending/being recommended albums and artists in a spontaneous and informal way.

Google Play makes it easy to share your playlists - something I'm really enjoying doing with a couple of friends. Unfortunately they're not collaborative, but if you make one and share it, and the other person downloads it, then whenever you add/change something, it automatically updates. That's cool. It's like a strange one-way musical conversation.
I'm more than happy to share any of mine (you can browse/stream before downloading to check you like, as they're a bit big) or start a custom one for you. All of mine are comfort playlists - songs I know really well. But you might find something you don't know or had forgotten about. I could possibly take suggestions for themes as well, although my musical knowledge just isn't that expansive. (J often comes home having made a playlist on the train of only songs less than 2min, or only bands with front-women, or only songs with barbershop middle breaks etc - he doesn't use anything on the move except an old 60GB ipod which is full... )

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-21 11:14 pm (UTC)
withagreatlove: (Default)
From: [personal profile] withagreatlove
You know, it's funny because I've been thinking as of late, 'hmmm not keeping current with music AT ALL these days and I'm OK with that'. The husband and I have remarkably similar tastes (when I moved in with him, we had a lot of doubles, back in the day when the kids still used CD's) so we can trust each other with regards to what we like. He's the one who searches out the music - he does it online and does it during his work assignments. And then he uploads it for me and I get to enjoy it too.
The drawback is that it has made me very lazy and kind of 'out of it' of sorts because I don't even listen to the radio anymore. Which is, actually, kind of sad.

So I sympathise but I cannot give you all that many recommendations. I never was a cool kid to begin with but I'm even further from being cool nowadays :)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 12:28 am (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
I get new music almost solely from the tracks used on the latest gym class releases. My latest addition is one called "que sera" by the Justice Crew, who I'd never heard of till I found myself repeatedly with their track playing in my head and so found and bought it.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 01:53 am (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Re: Amazon: Everything in the Amazon mp3 store is DRM-free, plus everything you purchase goes permanently in the cloud so you can download it again if you lose something. For these reasons, probably eighty to ninety percent of my music purchases are through Amazon's mp3 store. The remainder is through CDBaby and the occasional CD purchase for something not available by mp3.

I believe at this point a fair share of music on iTunes is also DRM-free, but they earned so much ill-will from me during the era when they only sold DRMed music that I haven't even considered going back. I have probably fifteen songs that I bought from iTunes with gift cards, and I haven't been able to listen to these songs that I purchased since I switched to Linux, and it is maddening and stupid.


I discover music in a lot of different ways. The biggest and least obvious way is that I soak up recommendations. When someone tells me they're listening to something, I check it out. Even when it sounds silly or weird, even when it sounds uninteresting, I check it out. I think a lot of people have conversations where someone talks about music outside their comfort zone and they tune out. I know lots of people tune me out when I start talking excitedly about Terry Riley. In any case, with youtube around, it's generally pretty easy to test drive any music recommendation anyone has, and so I tend to do it.

But other important sources of music recommendations for me:

-Amazon. At this point, I have bought so much music from Amazon that it probably knows my music taste better than I do. I don't buy something just because Amazon said so, but seeing something recommended by Amazon tends to be a sign that I will like it.

-Newspaper concert listings. I don't tend to find music reviews very interesting and certainly not good sources of new music. In this post-Lester Bangs era of music journalism, music reviews tend to be narratives about the relationship between the reviewer and the music, not examinations of how the music works. But concert listings tell me what music people are actually going to see, and in what settings. To me, that is more useful intelligence.

-Indie radio. I'm fond of my local New Jersey indie station WFMU, and from time to time will listen to UPenn's WXPN. A few public radio shows are also good for finding new music, particularly John Schaefer's Soundcheck and New Sounds, and (until it turned out the now ex-host was a rapist), Radio Q.

-Wikipedia. Because there's nothing like a link prowl to get you from music in your comfort zone to music on the edge of your comfort zone to music just outside your comfort zone. I found Wild Flag by clicking from Sleater-Kinney to Carrie Brownstein to Wild Flag. I found the Melvins by clicking from John Zorn to Mike Patton to Fantomas to Buzz Osborne. These wikipedia searches are helped by the fact that my PC's music player, Amarok, automatically pulls up the wikipedia page for whatever band is playing.

-Torrent sites. I don't actually do this all that much lately, because it carries risks and is sometimes unethical, but I mean... I first really became interested in music as a teenager using Napster, and I really really miss having Napster around because it was the best way I've ever seen of serendipitously discovering music. I was once looking on Napster for music from an American a cappella group called the Blenders, and I ended up downloading a bunch of music by a polish funk-pop band called the Blenders instead. It turned out they were a lot better than the band I had been looking for. The way Napster was this giant bucket of disorganized and poorly labelled music made it fantastic for branching out. And the torrent sites are the closest thing we still have to that experience, which makes me sad.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 06:48 am (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
The Los Angeles-based radio station KCRW offers two applications for music, one of which is specifically discovery-based. I haven't listened to their taste (as I tend to like instrumentals and soundtracks), but the politics podcast they do weekly is high-quality, and I've listened to one or two of their studio sessions with artists I like.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 07:55 am (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
When I spot a copy of the latest 'NOW...!', I usually recognise none of the tracks. I am ok with that because the stuff I like - which varies from opera to trance - tends not to have mainstream chart success.

For the non-classical, I am a happy user of Spotify's free service (although I must do the 99p offer to see if I can tell the difference, apart from the absence of ads...) This is used for a combination of stuff I know and stuff I don't - the 'you listened to x, try y' can be good or hilariously wrong.

I miss Gaydar Radio which had a good selection of 'gay club pop' and several DJs I could actually enjoy. The Freemasons' work, both as themselves and as remixers, were one discovery from there. Alas, it was only on digital radio in London and the SE and closed down entirely not long after I moved to Newark.

For the classical, charity shops and Amazon's marketplace provide the vast bulk of the CDs.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 08:06 am (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
Oh, I remember using emusic. I stopped not long after they moved to a 'only a couple of albums a month' - I wasn't using it that often, but it made me resent the money I was paying them.

Magnatune can still be interesting to browse - I'm doing so now - although since they moved to a $15/month system, it has been a long time since I bought anything from there. Each track / album is available in a wide range of formats. If I did, the artists would get half...

Groupees do bundles of games and music, usually very cheaply. The choice is extremely limited at anyone time and what's available varies enormously from 'good' to 'not worth its share of $1 to me', but some of it has stayed on my mp3 player for a long time...

Amazon do high bit rate .mp3s. They would like you to use their software for downloading lots of tracks at once. Alas, they don't have one for Linux, so when I do use them - there have been some very good value trance compilations - I just use the Android one and ftp them from the tablet.

ITunes is evil on so many levels, I just say no.
Edited Date: 2015-01-22 08:24 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 08:08 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I have a thing called Shazam on my phone, which very cleverly attempts to match audio signature of the thing coming in through the microphone to its database of popular audio, and then will cheerfully try to sell you it now that you know what it is.

A good chunk of my music discovery is through commercial radio and capturing the things I like via Shazam, and also a series of well-tuned Pandora stations.

Pandora is reasonably good at capturing a well-tuned aesthetic, although sometimes it can get out of hand; the only way I've been able to get it doing the thing is through having a bunch of stations which represent various genres I like, and then playing all of them on shuffle mode. I have one for a capella, one for melodic metal, one for New Wave and friends, a "late night and dreaming", quite a few others, and finally one that defies finer classification. The themed ones I identify the thing I'm looking for and then ruthlessly prune out the things that aren't that, but when something comes up that doesn't fit another station, instead of just saying "no" on that station, I do the thing that says "this would be a better fit for: 'almost but not quite my iTunes'". That one, I let run wild and see what comes out of it.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 01:23 pm (UTC)
lethargic_man: (reflect)
From: [personal profile] lethargic_man
Without ploughing my way through all the now numerous comments:

This possibly does not apply for you, but I am all right to encounter new music on only an occasional basis; I have a large enough collection by now to keep me entertained for a long time without getting bored of the same stuff over and over again. So I'm happy to just stumble over new and interesting music occasionally, via recommendations online or whatever.

As for owning music, the online music shops I use still let you buy un-DRMed MP3s. I use play.com and 101cd.com (and used to use Amazon, but am now boycotting them).

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-22 03:13 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
In the last year I have started buying some "top hits" compilations, mostly because of Charles. He explicitly asked met to get the NOW 88 he'd been listening to at kidsclub in the summer, and I got a Top 40 Party Hits last Christmas (which I think may have been covers, sadly) after enjoying some of the stuff at the school disco. I'm probably going to keep on getting NOW again, because it's a low effort way of finding new tracks I like, and then I can track down those artists whose tracks I like, and so on.

I also just picked up about 20 CDs a colleauge was giving away after Christmas, mostly newspaper freebies covering about the last 40 years or so of pop music, and at Christmas I bought myself some random CDs that were being sold on ebay by the same seller I was getting stuff from for the kids (a few extra pounds for stuff about 3-5 years old).

I usually need to listen to music a few times to work out what I think about it (unless I dislike it from the off - some things only need one listen!) and in the last couple of months I've been very slowly winnowing through my "new music" acquisitions. I listen to a "New For Listening" playlist on my way to and from work, and if I liked the music to run to, it goes into "Running", and if I didn't like it, I just take it off the playlist. (It occurs to me that I haven't yet found a track I liked but didn't think I could run to. When that happens I will have to create a playlist "Liked" or something which includes everything already in "Running".)

The music I like stays on the "New For Listening" playlist until I think I've heard it enough, so it can take me quite some time to work through an album, especially the compliations.

My current plan is to continue with this for all the newly-acquired music, and then work through my entire library in some kind of sensible order (probably alphabetical by album name in one direction or other). Which will keep me going for ages (like months and months), as I have a lot of music already. And new acquisitions will always jump the queue so I can get to know them.

Oh, and before Charles got too big to treat as luggage, I had a phase of going to folk festivals once or twice a year, and that introduced me to a lot of new artists. I always budgeted to buy some CDs from artists, and signed up on mailing lists, and I still get new release notices from some of those. And quite a lot of them do projects with other artists, or recommend them in some way, so I get a little stream of recs that way too. My dad sends me the occasional rec too, and he's responsible for getting me into folk and festival-going in the first place.

(It occurs to me that Charles is now old enough for me to enjoy taking him to festivals again, and he might even enjoy them too, but I am rather less keen on camping than I was 6-7 years ago. Something to talk over with my dad, I think.)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-23 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ewt
Bandcamp has a "who supported this" function, so you can see who bought an album, and then see what other albums those people like. You can download tracks, DRM-free, and there is also a mobile streaming app for music you've paid for. Bandcamp take 15% of what you pay and the musicians get to keep the rest, which is a much, much better arrangement than Spotify.

You could do worse than starting with Moss and Jones.

I suppose another similar thing would be to find some musician on Patreon, see who is supporting them, see who else those people support.

I listen to very little music, so don't have a lot to add otherwise. I'm more likely to encounter new music by picking up a piece of sheet music and reading through it than by listening to a recording.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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