I don't listen to the radio. Well, not for the music at least (Hello, NPR!). I probably haven't since the mid 90s, aside from a couple of college radio stations. I'm sure this makes me sound all music elitist and stuff, and okay, so maybe I am. A little. It's not necessarily the music I don't like, it's all the commercials and crap inbetween. Okay, and maybe some of the music.
I'm sure you're wondering (or not), how does someone who doesn't listen to the radio find new music? Without further ado, I'd like to present:
The Ugly Green Chair's tips for finding new music without having to endure annoying commercials and obnoxious djs:
- You have friends, right? Do they have good taste? (Of course they do, they're your friends!) Do they listen to music? Ask them what they listen to!
- How about all those blogs you read? I bet they have some opinions on music, see what they're listening to... (I find last.fm helpful for that - there's a link to my profile near the end of my about page)
- How about Pandora? You basically type in an artist or two, and it starts finding similar artists. You can give a thumbs up or down to the stuff it finds, which will help it find more stuff. You can even start adding more artists to existing stations. And if you find new stuff you like you can bookmark it. I've got a station that I've been cultivating for a little over a year, and it's kind of awesome. It's my go to music at work.
- I buy my digital music on Amazon. I think the selection is better than iTunes, and they tend to have some pretty good deals (I've found a lot of good albums for $5). The nice thing about Amazon, is they do that "people who browsed or bought this album also bought..." I check that all the time to find new stuff.
- I also keep a wishlist on Amazon just for music I want to buy. So even if I haven't found some new band to get excited about, I can go to my wishlist and be reminded of a few things that I was thinking about buying.
- So you probably already have some favorite bands. When they play live shows, what band opens for them? Chances are you might like them just as much as the band you want to see. (I've found some great bands this way.)
- This one is probably pretty obvious, but follow some music blogs! I actually find a lot of them to be a little overwhelming, but one of my favorites is 3hive. They don't seem to be updating very much lately, but do a search through the archives for a genre of music you like and see what you find.
- Shop your own music library! Remember that album you bought 6 months ago that didn't really grab you? Try listening again, it might be the exact thing your ears want to hear NOW. (This happens to me more frequently than I'd care to admit.)
- I have a habit of downloading a bunch of music and then not having the time to listen to it, so every once in a while I sort my iTunes library by "date downloaded". It's a nice reminder to listen to some new stuff.
- I know some people hate putting their iPod or iTunes on shuffle, but it's another way to find some of those gems that you didn't know you had.
- Keep a list! I'm a chronic list maker anyways, but I find it helps to have a list of bands that I might be interested in. I keep the list in my phone and when someone mentions a band I might like (via a blog, twitter, or even in person!), I add them to the list.
- If you're serious about finding new music, set aside some time. I was feeling woefully out of the music loop for a little while, and I finally decided that Sunday nights would be music night. I sit down at the computer, go through the list and listen to samples and maybe download an album or two. Then I've got something new to listen to at work on Monday morning (I'll take any motivation I can get.)
I know, that was a long one (kudos if you made it this far)...
Music has always been a big deal to me, and I love finding new stuff to listen to, so hopefully some of these tips will help you find some new music you'll love!