Wednesday, August 02, 2006

'If you love this, you'll like that'

The upside of being a music-loving baby boomer is that you had a chance to see Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and some of the original Motown groups. The downside is that every day you're getting closer to meeting Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. -- Newsweek, July 17, 2006 (paraphrased for space and clarity)

OK, so maybe live music isn't so much your thing any more. But music's still important right?

We've talked in this space before about the difficulty in finding new music, beyond a dozen new songs on commercial radio and WMNF's eclectic assistance.

That's where the web comes in.

Following the same models as Amazon and Netflix, a score of new websites offer recommendations based on your previous buying patterns or your music profile.

Here's a smattering, as listed in the Newsweek article:

pandora.com -- You tell then your favorite artists and then they program a radio station for you, using "the DNA of the music" as analyzed by 400 distinct variables such as tempo, voice pitch and range, etc.

Last.fm -- Also offers personalized radio stations, but uses a computer application to log and analyze the songs you like -- based on what you play in your computer library and iPod. By using "the wisdom of crowds," they think they can suggest songs for you from the playlists of people who like some of the same artists.

mog.com -- A music networking site, mog.com posts the titles -- only the titles -- of all the music in your library (you can manually edit out that Village People CD) and helps you find people like you.

iTunes.com -- Apple's service relatively recently started a Beta site, which instantly recommends songs as you play them on your computer. Some of the choices are obvious. Bob Dylan=The Band. Others are a little more quirky.

A great source of new music is Paste Magazine, which just increased frequency to about 10 times a year. With the magazine, you get a free sampler CD of artists, plus a few DVD of music videos, movie trailers, etc. I first heard of Band of Horses via Paste, as well as Carrie Newcomer, the Wailin' Jennies and Josh Ritter.

And all of this brings to mind a story in The New York Times about the "graying" of bricks-and-motor music stores. Young people buy everything, including music, online, and now even boomers may head there for their music, too.

I do, though, miss the days when I heard exciting new songs much more frequently on the radio, and went to a corner shop that had a guy whose musical taste I trusted. Some of those stores, like Vinyl Fever, are still around but their numbers are declining.

Happy listening.

- Michael K.

1 comment:

Dominick F., Senior Bean Counter said...

Regarding new music resources: Ed from IS put me on to http://www.somafm.com, an underground/alternative Internet broadcast site (10 stations to stream)--some guy in San Francisco broadcasts this from his basement!

My favorite stations are Groove Salad & Secret Agent. All artist, cd & song info (with links to Amazon) are listed on Windows Media Player in real time, so I've been exposed to a lot of new/different genres & artists.

I usually stream this all day in Finance--sometimes too enthusiatically (yesterday I had to crank my subwoofer down after MB politely mentioned that she could feel the bass 2 offices & 3 concrete walls away).

Selections from CDs fill in the gaps: Joe Satriani, U2, Weezer, Metallica, Billy Joel, Les Mis, Van Halen, Eve6, Beastie Boys, Academy of St.Martin in the Fields, Don Henley, Badlees.....