Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Do I Discover and Acquire Music? 

Over some brews a couple months ago, we were discussing how to find new music, and it started me to thinking.

I listen to a lot of stuff casually (Pandora, casual CD listening/borrowing, Grooveshark, Last.FM, Spotify), but when I really like something I end up purchasing or acquiring it for myself forever.

In 2009, there were pretty much three ways I discovered new music:

Just over 1/3 of my music purchases are bands I already know I like and want the new album
(new Neko Case, new Hold Steady, etc)

1/3 are Things I read about online or just hear somewhere and want to explore.
(Online streaming radio? A TV commercial? Actual radio?)

1/3 are things that I hear recommended from friends
either by them talking about it (facebook, blog posts) or them specifically saying "You should check this out."

How I Discovered the Music

The interesting thing about the third one (people mentioning or recommending music) is that I noticed it would multiply by how many times I heard it mentioned. I might read "So and So is checking out the new Blitzen Trapper album on Facebook." Then later that day I would read a review of the album (which would multiply my original idea by 2), then somebody else would mention them in a conversation (x3) then finally I would check them out.

You see a billion band names every week, but it is this rapid series of connections (especially coming from people I trust) that really sparks my interest and pushes me to seek the music out.

I look at my 2009 Purchases/Acquisitions:

Where I Got the Music

Andrew Bird "Noble Beast"
(Already Like him)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Beastie Boys "Paul's Boutique [Reissue]"
(Already Like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

The Hard Lessons - "Arms Forest"
(Already Like 'em)
[Free Download from their site]

The Hard Lessons "B and G sides"
(Already Like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Drive By Truckers "Fine Print"
(Already Like 'em)
[Steve had a copy I borrowed]

Beatles Box
(Already Like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

My Morning Jacket "It Still Moves"
(Recommended by Derek years ago, didn't get it then. Now I like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Dntel "Dumb Luck"
(Already like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Silversun Pickups "Swoon"
(Already Like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Great Lakes Myth Society "She's Come Home to Steal Her Rainbows" single
(Already Like 'em)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Jenny Lewis "Acid Tongue"
(Already like her. This album stinks in my opinion. If I had previewed it, I wouldn't have bought it)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Pearl Jam "Ten [Legacy Edition]"
(Already Like 'em. Read good things about this remaster)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Neko Case "Middle Cyclone"
(Already Like her)
[Bought it somewhere]

Johnny Hartman "Just You, Just me"
(Already like him)
[Bought at Amoeba Records]

Amy Winehouse "Frank"
(Already like her)
[Bought it somewhere]

Tinted Windows
(Already like the dudes involved. Heard the song online. Loved it. Bought the record)
[Bought it somewhere]

Henchmen "Three Times Infinity"
(Heard it on the god damned real life radio)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Jenny Lewis "Barking at the Moon" single
(Heard it on the movie "Bolt")
[Swiped from innernets]

Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson "Break Up"
(Already like Pete Yorn's music and already like Sco-Jo's everything else. Heard the song online. Loved it. Bought the record)
[Bought at B&N]

The XX "The XX"
(Heard about it online from Tim Sendra/AllMusic Blog)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Yim Yames (MMJ) "Tribute to (George Harrison)"
(already Like him.)
[Amazon had it for 99 cents]

Emitt Rhodes "The Emitt Rhodes Recordings 1969-1973"
(Heard about it online from Tim Sendra/AllMusic Blog)

Blitzen Trapper "Furr"
(Read things online, thought I would like them)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

Bullion "Pet Sounds in the key of Dee"
(recommended by Dan Trenz)
[Swiped from innernets]

Monsters of Folk "Monsters of Folk"
(Knew I'd like it, Steve had a copy I borrowed)

M. Ward - "Hold Time"
(recommended by Derek)

Phoenix - "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"
(somebody I knew I'd like, it took my sister telling me I'd like it to make me buy it)

The Avett Brothers - "I and Love and You"
(recommended by Brian)

The Airborne Toxic Event "The Airborne Toxic Event"
(Recommended by my sister, saw them on Letterman, love the album)
[Bought at Underground Sounds]

It is split sorta even, but with the stuff I have a strong sense I'll like (or at least want in my collection) coming out on top.

How I Spent my $$$

The interesting thing is that even with the massive chunk of change that was the Beatles boxed set, I still spent the majority of my money on things by bands that I already knew I liked.

This tells me that there would be a real value (to the record labels and music rights holders) in a good method of alerting me when something I already like is available for sale.

Who knows what I missed and would've plunked down money for if I had only been alerted in some way.

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