Friday, February 18, 2011

How I Find New Music Without Radio

A lot of people have asked me how I learn about new music when I don’t listen to the radio (and by “radio,” I include internet radio like Pandora). Here are my main sources for new music, as well as a couple of suggestions from a friend who’s similarly plugged in.

Podcasts

These are my main sources for new music. I listen to three podcasts (subscribed through iTunes so I get new shows automatically):

  • NPR’s All Songs Considered: Host Bob Boilen offers several different podcasts as part of this. The regular podcast is about 35-40 minutes of new music. He sometimes has guest DJs or themes. He also does longer shows with music critics on various topics (best of the year, most overlooked, etc.). And they broadcast concerts from the famous 9:30 Club in D.C.
  • KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic: A public radio station in L.A., this is 40-45 minutes of a live studio performance, with a brief interview thrown in.
  • The R3-30: Craig Norris and his team at CBC Radio 3 count down the weekly top 30 Canadian independent artists. Great way to plug into the amazing Canadian music scene.
Websites

I read several online publications that keep me plugged in, the main one being Pitchfork (although they can be a little “cooler than thou”).

I’ve also found several resources that offer “first listens” of new albums so I can give them a good listen (albeit in not particularly high quality audio) before deciding to buy them. The aforementioned All Songs Considered on NPR often does this, as does AOL Music.

Finally, check out The Black Cab Sessions. This is a quick one since it’s a single song performed inside one of London’s famous black cabs while driving through the city.

Music Services

I have not explored these yet but I’ve heard good things about Rhapsody, which offers unlimited listening for $10 a month. There’s also a new service, not yet available outside of Europe, called Spotify: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/12/mf_spotify/

Internet Radio

I liked Pandora when I was listening to it. (I stopped because I have so many podcasts to listen to!) The ability to build up your own station is great, although I found a lot of artists repeated when I first started.

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