When you can’t find the music to get down and boogie, all you can do is…
Who listens to the radio? That’s what I’d like to know, who listens to the radio? When The Sports asked that question, back in 1978, I think the response would have been quite different to today. These days fewer people listen to the radio, which leads me to the following question:
How do you discover new music?
To clarify, I’m not talking about the passive music consumer, here. I’m talking about the active lover of music, she or he who prides her/himself on their knowledge of what is good and what is not. People who are passionate about music – the kind of people who, when you ask them what they listen to, are actually able to give you a response. Not the kind of people who would say, “You know, top 40 stuff?”
Me, I still listen to the radio, and it is still most likely my primary source of new music. Many of my music-loving friends, however, are quick to criticise. I’m a Triple J listener, and have been for the past three years [before that I listened to Triple M, but I’d prefer not to talk about it]. My mother listens to Triple R, and prides herself on being more indie than I am.
Triple J isn’t the perfect station. Marketed at youth, its average listener is actually in their mid-30s. I don’t like all the music. But when it comes to keeping up to date with new releases, tour announcements, and music news, I find that radio is the way to go.
Radio is also great for introducing me to artists that I wouldn’t normally listen to. Take Jamie T, for example. On paper, he doesn’t sound quite like the kind of artist that I would actively go out and listen to, but after hearing several of his tracks on high rotation on the radio, I went out and bought his first album, and subsequently his second. And I quite like it.
So, without the radio, how do music lovers find new stuff to listen to?
Occasionally I’ll take the word of a music magazine – it was thanks to a review in Q that I bothered to look up Biffy Clyro. Rilo Kiley, I discovered through Pamela Ribon’s blog [she’s an American screenwriter who used to recap Gilmore Girls on Television Without Pity]. I used to be an active member of some music-sharing communities on LiveJournal, and discovered some new bands that way.
A couple of my friends are great for recommending music to me. It’s thanks to my friend Robyn that I began to appreciate the genius of Jack White when I did. She also introduced me to Bikini Kill and the Pixies.
But even so, I still find that the radio is the best, and easiest, way to expose yourself to new music. It is a very passive means of consuming music – the playlist has been decided for you, often it’s not your main focus. When I’m at home, I’ll have the radio on in the background; I’ll be concentrating on other things, but after hearing something that I like a few times, it might catch my attention, and I’ll take note of what it is. Passive – maybe I’m just lazy.
So, people of the internet [all three of you who read this shambolic excuse for a blog], how do you discover new music? Do you, like me, listen to the radio? Do you sit in front of the telly on Friday & Saturday nights for rage? Or, are you all over media 2.0 – is it all about music blogs and filesharing?