Finding new GOOD music in a corporate wasteland

Yes it is hard, but it can be done! This will be updated as I get other tips and info! Please share yours!

Problem: Huge mega corporations and a profit obsessed media control most radio, and television stations. Not only do they control what most people see and hear, they own or try and control most stores that sell music. This would not be a problem if they supported true artists or even ALOWED them to distribute their music. Instead we have an “industry” that creates the product they dub music to sell, and profit from. Even the “artists” that they claim make the music are often created and designed for the sole and only purpose to make money. That is the real key why the music is so bland, unoriginal and utterly mind numbing, it was created for the sole reason of PROFIT.  Even though no one should have interest in the junk they play, it is so common and universal that you have to work to avoid hearing the latest song by BS.(See bet everyone knows what that stands for)

Solution: The internet and independent media. Here are some tricks and tips I have been learning over the years. This post will be updated as I learn and find more resources.  

I am going to divide this up into 3 sections, Discovering, Getting, and Enjoying. Please share your own links, tips and tricks!

Discovering
I have found this to be one of the most difficult and elusive. Actually finding new artists and music in the huge ocean that is the internet can be daunting. Here are a few tricks and sites I have found.

iLike.com is a great way to explore. Find an artist you like then view “more like this”. Out of the 10 or so they recommend, often a few are great new finds. Simply mark them as “Liked” and keep doing that. They have full songs online, videos, and even let you know when a band or artist you like is performing near you. Another cool feature is the iLike tool bar that works with itunes to let you know what songs other users liked that are listening to the same song you are currently playing. It will also list a few free track downloads from independent artists.

The Hype Machine http://hypem.com/ This site is amazing! Site that automatically collects new songs getting buzz on music blogs across the web to keep you in the know. It has links to get info on the artist, and to buy them!

Garageband.com is kind of a cross between a geocities for bands, and myspace and then some. The site basically gives bands a way to get a web presence and share there music with the world, very cool idea.

Musicovery.com is a really fun way to find some new music or styles. I highly recommend you at least play with this for a while. It has a mix of independent and mainstream music.

Myspace, Facebook, imeem, and other social networking sites are a good way to sample and find cool music. This works very well if you have friends that have good taste in music on them. After you friend the artist, you can be kept up to date about there latest work, or concerts, and also see similar artists they may be friends with. This is a great way to find good music that may have a very small local following, or ones that do not have any Albums released yet.

Wikipedia can be a good friend. Many artists my not have a website with info about them, or maybe a site that is lacking info. Wiki their name and more then likely their will be some info that will help you. Things including their label, discovery, and bio are all common on a wiki page.

Music Magazines are great to get reviews of new artists and music. Unfortunately the big ones like Rolling-stone have become a waste of time for the most part. There are a handful of companies out there that own MOST of the “mainstream” mags. Lucky for us the internet will help us find the huge wealth of underground, indy or even electronic only magazines out there. Please tell me about your favorites. Many I find are marketed oddly as “fashion, art and music”.
Here are a few:
MOJO www.mojo4music.com They have an online version and nice newsletter.
Push it www.pushitmagazine.com Often have downloads and a great blog!
UK Music ukmusic.com

Download others compilations. I like to grab the UK top 40 about once a month or so and skip through them. They are mostly corporate like the US, but a few indie small label people get on now and again. I also found that the labels there maybe owned by huge companies like BMI, but a few like Parlophone seem to get enough freedom to actually have a few real artists and song writers. I also find music from their main stream offerings much more palatable. Even better though are playlists others with similar tastes like you have complied. Many Torrent sites have them, but they may be an “illegal” option. Youtube is another great resource in this area. You can sample music videos and others playlists. Just search for playlists that have an artist you like in them to get started.

Newsletters are your friend! Find an artist or label that you like and sign up to get emails with updates. You will learn about their new talent and releases or sometimes just some recommendations.

Links:
http://www.legaltorrents.com/ Name says it all!

Getting
Actually getting a copy of the song you like can be tricky, I am not going to go into “illegal” or less then “legal” options, although I believe they serve a huge and great purpose of previewing music and deciding what to get. Most independent artists are not against music file sharing and some even support it for this reason.

-Buy directly from the artist. This is by far the best, wether it is at a show of theirs, on their webpage or webstore, you will be assured they will get the most of the money you are spending.

eMusic is a subscription based website that lets you download a number of songs per month. I have an account with them, and they have been my second place to look if the artist does not sell songs directly. Much of the money you pay for each song goes directly to the artist, and their fee’s per song are not much at all(25-50 cents depending on your plan). They feature a large number independent artists and a nice review process. I use their “picks” and “most popular” a lot to find new music too. For better or worse they now offer a lot of sony’s music. The price went up after that, but they still are mostly independent music with the goal of paying the artist fairly. I have been using them for over a year.

Archive.org Amazing site with tons of older, or royalty free stuff.

-Local Library’s are a great place to check out music. At many you can check out cds for free or for a low fee, then decide if you want to buy it later. You also will find a lot more interesting, independent, and enjoyable music then you ever would at some place like best buy. Thanks to great staff like my friend Rada, you will also get great advice on what’s new and worth checking out.

-Google: Neat trick to find files to download “so, when someone searches for a song, if they know the artist name, the best way would be, to search it as [?intitle:index.of mp3 (artist name)]… or the same way, to use terms as [+”index of” +”last modified” +(artist name)] etc.. you can modify the string in accordance with your criteria..”

Other Online stores:
tunesfortrees.com
mp3.com
amazon music downloads
itunes

Enjoying
This is fairly simple, and would seem like something barley worth mentioning, but part of enjoying music is telling friends about it. So besides things like talk of ripping cds to your iPod or burning MP3 cds, think about online review sites and the like. Also if anyone has any recommendations on headphones, or speakers or anything like that send me a note. I just use an ipod and adapters to hook up to my car stereo or home stereo. I converted all my cds to vbr(variable bit rate) MP3’s along time ago and make them readily playable and accessible on a server.

Online radio stations(few good ones):
last.fm, pandora, filtermusic.net, live365, amazingtunes.com, somafm.com

Opentape – if you have your own website, this free software makes it easy to create and share mixes with your friends. (thanks ideal bite!)

www.streampad.com is a simple way to play music on your website or blog.

The Ramsey FM25 radio broadcaster. Great low power transmitter you can hook up to your computer so you can listen to music on any radio with in 400 feet. It’s in a kit form, but you can pick one up on ebay premade for about the same price.

Fire Fly Media Server is a DAAP server to run on many platforms. Basically it will share your music and movies over the  itunes music share. Anything you have shared will show up automatically in anyones itunes on your network. It also works with a few mp3 appliances like the Roku or AppleTV. I run it on my linux media server.

RockBox Mp3 player firmware. Upgrade a cheap mp3 player to a much improved interface.

JukeBox Software. gjukebox.sourceforge.net, Ampache.org(best server option).

Friends. The most important way to share new music is to tell your friends about it, or listen to the new music they found!

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