Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Open Thread: Where Do You Find New Music?


So in our discussion of Prince's declaration of the Internet as being dead, I brought up that while I thought this was a preposterous statement, I did feel that the value of the internet for promotion was perhaps a bit overstated. A reader brought up the question about how people are finding out about new music these days and I thought this would make an excellent open thread.

As for me, I find new stuff mainly through friends with similar tastes (I have a lot of music geek friends, so it helps), through following the "Buyers Who Purchased This Item Also Bought This" links on iTunes, and through Pandora. What about you? What's your favorite way of finding new bands?

18 comments:

fractured said...

I listen to Tom for ideas! ;-)

Actually, your methods are mine, too. I also follow some labels that have artists I like, and I occasionally listen to linked songs from sites.

Anonymous said...

In the mid 90s and early 00s in australia I used to visit certain indie CD stores which had "listening stations" that let you take up piles of CDs to the counter and listen to any tracks from them for a few minutes. I would go to their industrial music new releases section in those stores every few weeks, pick a bunch of their new CDs, and listen to the new stuff. I'd buy the best new CDs each month that way, and discover new artists in the genre. I found lots of new industrial artists that way. I discovered artists like velvet acid christ that way, and have bought all of his CDs since.

In the late 90s while surfing the internet regularly, I would also come across random underground public open FTP sites that had tons of random obscure industrial music MP3s on them that I'd never heard of. I discovered vnv nation that way, and have bought all of their CDs and singles since.

Around 8 years ago I became a big fan of amazon.com as my favorite place to buy CDs from, and I found their personalised recommendation engine to be amazingly accurate in recommending new artists to me similar to the ones I'd already bought. If I recall correctly... I discovered Assemblage 23 that way... and of course have bought all of your CDs and singles since.

Then about 6 years ago I found RantRadio's industrial playlist streaming internet radio station, and was immediately hugely impressed with their playlist selections at the time, and discovered tons of more obscure industrial bands that way, which I then later bought music from.

A few years ago I briefly also got a subscription to emusic.com during the time when they used to offer a drm-free service that was better quality than drm itunes. My emusic.com subscription meant I had to use my monthly download allocations or otherwise it would go to waste, so it forced me to really sit down and browse through emusic's huge music catalogue looking for obscure gems, by previewing first 60 seconds of each track. I found lots of new music that way too...

Finally, in the past few years I switched to just listening to full on-demand streaming tracks from new artists I might be interested in, within genres I already like, first through music streaming websites like MySpace, and then deciding if I want to buy their music based on that experience. Then I will usually just buy the new music from itunes, since these days itunes is drm-free and decent (256 bitrate) quality, and I don't have to wait weeks for international shipping to mail me the physical CD. In some cases though, I will still seek out the physical CD instead of the download so I can have it in lossless audio.

Sean said...

For house/trance/progressive/electro/etc, I've been listening to a ton of podcasts and radio shows... DJs like Above & Beyond and Chris Lake are great because they've already done the work by finding the latest cool new music for you :)

Anonymous said...

Well since I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere and most my friends listen to mainstream radio stations, I use the internet to find new music. Through sites such as Pitchfork and now the recently started Altered Zones website (which is amazing), I find all the different kinds of music I listen to. Also I find music from reading forums to help in my creation of music. For example, on Native Instruments forums I found about this great sound designer who makes free kontakt instruments and provides demo tracks of himself using his free instruments.

Fallon said...

Straight up from friends, but always via the internet. I don't really care about a random stranger's opinion of a new band or album, but I always give music a listen if it's from someone I care about in some way no matter the genre.

If I like the band, I will most likely purchase multiple albums digitally, store on my external hard drive, burn a CD for good measure for safe keeping and fill up my iPod.

The internet is extremely important for me as a music-lover!

bb said...

Emusic. The deal is not nearly as good as it used to be, but still cheap. I was going to cancel when they raised their prices but I realized it had become the main way I found new music. I’d say about 85% emusic and the rest Amazon and random internet finds.

I’ve been with them for years and prowled the murky depths, so I now I have an incredibly obscure music collection. I know musicians from the *stan countries and one shot laptop artist, but I’ve never heard bands like the Killers, I’m not even sure I’ve heard Lady Gaga even though I see her face all the time.

I’m at an age were my friends and my musical tastes don’t relate at all.

Anonymous said...

I used to hit Tower Records and stop at the listening station often and listen for hours sometimes. This is when I had to choose between cd's and food. I was very lean during those years.

After Tower shutdown their stores. I ventured down the non-A23 approved methods of music acquisition. While this fed the need to pre screen music, it left me with a stack of unlabeled scratched CD-R's and feeling dirty.
During this time I caught on to Pandora and several other sites.

Pandora and friends still provide an excellent source of new music, but recently I've been supplementing with youtube, fourums, and the occasional torrent. I also found a used music shop that has a bargin bin. I think its like 10 for $10. I go in on occasion and grab any recordings that look interesting on the cheap. Then I head to the main part of the shop and target things I know I'll like. The bargain bins generally turn to be a waste of time musically and make great coasters, but they do provide an occasional good laugh and prime examples of what not to produce. I'm talking to you Bunnyhug.

The torrents I target generally are mix tapes from a certain era or genre. This gives me a healthy blend, and now that Im older and make more scratch, I actually buy music I like and delete the ones I dont. The Stranglers, Gang of Four, John Foxx, Steven Walker all found this way.

ronnie said...

I find new music almost exclusively through the internet. From Soundcloud to radio streams, music forums to blogs.

Hannes Pasqualini said...

Prince may say what he wants, my means of finding new music are 90% based on the internet (since I don't have any friends who like the music I like). Listing them ordered by importance are: Blogs, SOundcloud, last.fm, online radios. I frequently download CC licenced EPs or Albums, I buy some stuff on 7digital, and sometimes I buy CDs (but always online).

Meta Sektion said...

These days I'm watching out for announcements at various zines I watch (side-line, regenmag), as well as seeing what people recommend in forum threads about bands I like (humannotmachine, side-line/forum, metropolis, dependent etc.). Most of the interesting radio is on at times of night when I'm either working or sleeping, so I'm not getting much in the way of new ideas from there at the moment...

showcase Jase said...

I wait for the 'best of' lists in December, Bleep have had good ones.

Anonymous said...

emusic.com (internet) and podcasts (internet)...

Prince is out of touch.

Graham Bull said...

IMHO the internet has done wonders for music promotion and discovery (and I mean legally, we don't all download torrents!). I still buy CDs and will continue to do so, plus the occasional mp3 track.

I frequently listen to last.fm, sometimes live365.com, and in the past emusic.com. Without these I would _never_ have discovered A23, VNV Nation, FLA, and Ayria, to name but a few. Like Hannes Pasqualini, none of my friends listen to the music I do, so the internet is a godsend.

Joshua said...

I haven't looked for new music for a long time, it seems like I've been fairly satisfied with what I have for a while. (Am I too close-minded? Ha) But in the past I used a combination of the above methods over the years- these days I mainly find new things somehow through online labels/newsletters, or actually through browsing the Myspace 'friends' list of bands I like (which usually contain a decent number of actual bands/projects, and they aren't always carbon copies of the ones I like).

My favorite way used to be via label various artists samplers (since I live nowhere near a decent club/DJ)...once in a while I still get those because although you can make a more customized search online, sometimes a sampler will give you something you might not have tried otherwise that turns out to be good.

Red said...

This is a cool discussion... its been interesting reading everyone's posts.
I myself try and find new music on Last.FM, Pandora, Amazon and ReverbNation. Basically all my searches start and end online... not sure what Prince is thinking.

Anonymous said...

I discover & buy almost all of my music on online distribution sites like Mimaroglu Music Sales & Fathom Distribution. They offer mp3 previews, cover photo & detailed informations on the music I might be interested in. I also go to independant records store but it's rarer (I'm a bit lazy!). What I like to do is dig in the bargain bins to finds gems I know aren't popular but that interests me (local electronic music actsfor example).

Toadie said...

I subscribe to Audioglobe's newsletter... and often have stuff recommended to me by friends. Plus there's Side-Line and VampireFreaks (I do actually listen all bands who try to add me - tho often I wish I hadn't) and of course, various online radio stations... I also automatically try MySpace for a band I've never heard of... and then last.fm if they're not on MySpace. If they're on neither, I don't bother further...

Mathias said...

For EDM I pretty much just tune in to Digitally Imported (www.di.fm).

For all other kind of music, I use Spotify (www.spotify.com). I don't remember in what countries it's available yet. They also have "related artists" to the artist you're searching for/listening to.

Sometimes when Googling up a new kind of music genre (at least to me), I use Wikipedia. They usually have some lists of artists producing that kind of music. And then I try and find them on Youtube.