Saturday, 12 September 2009

Finding New Music

How do people learn about new music? There's so much music out there and there exists many a channel in finding it. In our current times, The best way seems to be to turn to the internet. Any band or artist who actually might want people to listen to their/his/her music typically makes some sort of web presence, sometimes a regular, old-fashioned website, or more often, I think, a MySpace or Facebook page (or maybe a blog!). But that begs the question: how does a band/artist get someone to know about and find their page/site? That's where it gets trickier. That's where journalism helps out a lot. It's weird sometimes when bands are annoyed by the critics and reviewers and they might say something to the extent that "we make music for ourselves/the fans/etc." and not the critics. But how would people hear about new music if not for critics, who, though they may give a bad review, still get someone's name out there? I guess there's always promotion on the mass-media scale, but I'm not really concerning myself with that, since most of those artists have already established some kind of popularity or are in the process of doing so (you need lots of money for commercials, thus these are probably major label artists with big budgets). And that leaves another option: word of mouth, but in this case, I'm limiting it to friends/acquaintances in real life, as opposed to some dude on a forum. I've been exposed to very few new musics by actually discussing them with people, probably due to the fact that the music that might interest me is not so well-known.

In short: I mostly rely on critics and the verbal press to turn me on to new music. That is, I like to read books, magazines and websites to find out about new music (in this sense: anything I haven't heard). And then I go to the internet to investigate further, by listening to a few songs on their MySpace pages, or to the record labels that sometimes offer a few free MP3s of their bands for preview purposes, or by listening a bit in iTunes/Amazon or a combination thereof. Recently, though, I've been getting into music podcasts as well, particularly Requiem Metal Podcast and NPR's All Songs Considered podcast. Both are great sources and offer a lot to hear.

....And then the really hard part comes in. It's almost like a horrible auditioning process, weeding through all the new music out there and finding what I actually like. Having been searching for years and years, I'd have to conclude that probably 90% (or maybe more) of music is actually bad or horribly mediocre, or being a bit more honest, music that I don't give a crap about. And the small percentage that is good, is in fact, hard to find. And I don't trust my first impression of a band ever. If I like something the first time I hear it, I may not like it at all in a month. So I have to listen to things over and over before deciding if it's good or not. Then I often ask myself: Could I listen to a whole album of this? (since I'm usually dealing with hearing a few individual songs at first and I'm a staunch album loyalist) et puis: Would I like to listen to a whole album of this?

Though sometimes it is "love at first listen" and I'm thinking "I want this album NOW". I kind of hate when that happens since I usually can't buy stuff immediately, though it's almost a relief and makes me feel like some good music is out there and the painstaking search is worth finding a few gems. It doesn't feel like a waste of time.

So right now I'm going through tons of MySpace pages in hopes of something good coming up, and it's interesting to go back through all the pages I book-marked in the past as bands I'd want to hear again and how many of those book-marks I end up deleting and never wanting to hear again (which is most of them). It's like, at one point I thought I'd found so many interesting artists, but in reality, it comes down to so few (which is good for my wallet and consequently, my health). It's like a funnel.

Playlist for the week: Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orca", Mouse On Mars "Autoditacker", Juana Molina - "Un Día"

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