Ever turn on the radio and listen to a truly amazing song that just sends you into a whirl of happiness and fills your soul with pure bliss? Nope, me neither.
I do not subscribe to the turn-crank style that is radio. Radio leaves much to be desired about music in general. It cuts a song out of context, segregates other songs for not being money-makers, and gets listeners to expect it, so placing the music-lovers in a state of “hey, it’s that song I told you about yesterday”, as they turn up the radio to share a song they heard two days ago.
I find great music on my own or with the help of my friends. I peruse the local library/used cd store for anything that seems good, and with the help of friendly staff, try and get a listen out of it at a nice comfy chair with an over-the-ear turntable/tape/cd player handy. I used to find all my music this way.
Then I had kids.
Most of my new music now comes from friend’s suggestions and/or cd collection. I tried Pandora a while back and found that it was really good at playing music I might like alongside stuff I know i do. The only weak point was the fact that, Like radio, Pandora still played tracks individually, and never (by legal reasons most likely) by an artist/band’s album. I could live with that. I would put on a custom station in the background while I made the family my famous breakfast pancakes, and enjoy the atmosphere I set myself up with. Occasionally I’d stop what I was doing and note a good track here and there. But for the most part, Pandora was a radio replacement for me.
Friends, on the other hand, would flat-out say, “Yo, check this out. I found this awesome song on Youtube!” Now I am no prude when I hear good music, but when it comes to musical recordings found on Youtube, most of them are real bad rips of studio tracks or cell phone captures of a live show. Needless to say, another “far and few in between” venue for me.
Then there are the friends and colleagues that give me a copy of a band or artist I actually might like. This is the best form of finding a great song that you’ve never heard. I have had many occasions of “friendly exchanging” with my peers.
And I thank them kindly for introducing many great songs to rock out to.