We’re Making it Easy to Understand Your Modern Options
for Finding Music with Our Online Music Primer
Remember the days when we would spend hours browsing the bins at Tower records discovering new music? Those of us who were serious music lovers even knew the people who there by name and those people were authentic musicologists who listened to everything they carried and knew enough about our personal tastes to make recommendations to us.
That was then and this is now, a technology driven age where the radio and record businesses are totally turned upside down and a lot of us just don’t know where to go to find what’s new and where to get it
The good news is that once you figure out the landscape of this new world, there is actually more access to music than ever before. And the even better news is that we’re going to break it all down for you.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a large metropolitan area like New York City or LA or DC you probably can still find at least one old school music store, like Amoeba records in Hollywood, where you can relive those nostalgic album shopping sprees. If you’ve been to Best Buy or Target trying to buy music you’re probably still looking. Now the internet is the direct pathway to everything you want.
Online shoppers already know that sites like Amazon and CD Baby are great sources for buying CDs and even records, which are making a trendy comeback. I almost had to laugh at myself when I bought one of those all in one box style turntables with the speaker built in. Didn’t I have one of those when I was like 12? Is this really progress? That’s a topic for another day.
Today when we buy music, for many of us there’s no physical evidence that you’ve bought anything at all. The music is a downloadable file as are the liner notes, personnel, cover photos and art and credits. At least we can zoom in and make the print large enough for us to see it, unlike that tiny font they use on CD info booklets.
But what more and more people are doing these days is not buying individual CDs or CD downloads. Instead they’re taking advantage of music services that make large libraries of music available on your computer, laptop, tablet, even your cell phone. You can create your own personal music library or make play lists with many of these services. With some you can share music with other users and some of them are intuitive.
Intuitive services, like Pandora, pay attention to what you like and then use that data to make suggestions for you. Pandora also let’s you create channels that select songs and artists that are similar and then streams them for you. Pandora has a free service that plays some commercials and a commercial free service that you have to pay for. Streaming services like this are fine for many people but it you want to listen to a whole album all the way through or be able to play music off line, you want an on-demand streaming service
On-demand streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, Slacker and most recently Beats Music, require a monthly payment (usually around $10). You get access to millions of songs, new and old. You can make play lists, share music and listen to your play lists off line plus these services also have intuitive features too. They recommend new artists and songs based on what you’ve chosen for yourself.
I remember when my Dad would go to the record store every payday and buy an armful of records. We inherited the music gene and my siblings and I did the same thing as adults. I remember easily spending 40 or 50 dollars a visit. Now I’m spending much less. At $9.99 a month, that’s not quite $120 for an entire year. It’s also fantastic to unearth some of those old albums and songs you used to love back in the day.
There’s one music source you shouldn’t overlook; YouTube. It seems that there are a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands who also have big record collections that they love to upload to YouTube. You’ll be amazed at how many rare and out-of-print albums and songs are available there. You can make your own YouTube play lists and also subscribe to play lists from other music lovers just like you.
Here’s one final option. The public library is also an excellent source for music. In addition to books, most now have extensive CD collections from which you can borrow. I love being able to go in and check out every Miles Davis album. And as with books, if there’s a title I think they should have but isn’t in their collection, I suggest it. More often than not it will be ordered. Libraries are still the best deal in town. A library card now gives you access to books, DVDs and CDs.
Where do you get started? On the internet of course. You’ll find loads of info on all the services I mentioned and more along with price and service comparisons. You might still miss that record store but you’ll have access to more music than you could listen to in a life time.