Music has become a natural part of our everyday life. Imagine music missing from movies, department stores or tv commercials. Music is more than decoration, though. Sites like Pandora and Last.fm have hit a beat with those not wanting to miss out on great music, popular or not.
My passion is concerts and although I love music, I hardly ever find the time to just sit down and listen to an entire album. Usually, I have material of the bands I like best or am going to see next on my mp3 player to listen to while I’m on the way.
So how do I find out about new bands and releases I like? It’s a five step process…
My choice is MotorFM, the radio station of the record label Motor. They mostly play rock, pop, alternative, few mainstream tunes, few commercials, quality news broadcasts, and segments on all kinds of topics. That combination is extremely convenient for me.
They do provide an(however it’s a German radio station.)
Talking about radio stations also reminds of me the program called Screamer which can record and save playing radio tracks to your PC. Check it out.
When a band releases an album, they take it on the road for promotion. Since I love concerts, I kill two birds with one stone by simply following tour dates to find out about shows in my area and new releases.
Renee wrote a great article on Keeping Track of Live Music In Your City. Unfortunately, some of the services described are either exclusive to the US or, when community driven, they don’t cover all artists or venues. I found that to be true for all online services I tried, including the Last.fm concert calendar.
Hence, I decided to subscribe to a few major tour management and ticket service newsletters, which keep me up to date on who’s touring my country (Germany). In my case these are MLK, TrinityConcerts, Eventim, and Hekticket .
For a quick glance at a band’s type of music, MySpace Music is an excellent source!
So when I see tour dates for a band I don’t know yet, I search for them on MySpace to see whether or not I like their music. It also gives me the chance to learn some more about the artist at the same time.
MySpace recently changed the interface of their music player, which not only looks much better, but is also a lot easier to control now.
On MySpace Music they also have a section for concerts. However, even though the profiles are managed by the artists themselves, they are not always up to date. Currently, I have three tickets for three different shows that are not (yet?) listed on the respective artist’s MySpace site.
Once I’ve found an artist I like, I usually buy a ticket for their show and download their music. Since I don’t have the time and patience for semi-legal or bad quality downloads, I use Napster. It’s no longer free, but the monthly plan is reasonable. While I have the program open I also scroll through the latest releases.
For a free and legal alternative I recommend ClipInc, one more tool that allows mp3 capturing from hundreds of preset radio stations.
5. Random Discoveries
Musicovery plays music based on genres combined with mood or tempo and it has an amazingly creative interface. Switching from one song of the current collection to another is easily possible.
While Last.fm certainly is the most popular tool with a huge database and some exclusive material (currently a preview of the new Keane album “Perfect Symmetry”), I like the simple interface of StumbleAudio much better. Besides, it uses OpenID.
If you’d like to know more about Last.fm, I highly recommend Dave’s article Using Last.fm to Improve your Audiovascular Fitness.
How do you discover new music and how do you know who’s playing in town? Any hot new band you would like to share? Comments are much appreciated!