Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What influences your music choices ?

Just reading and commenting in Mark Evans' blog about how Radio 2 is igniting a renewed interest in music for him. Mark posed the question "The question is why Terfry’s show has inspired the consumer in me when there are services around like Pandora and Jango?". My comment... "Interesting note on why radio seems to drive some of our music choices over other non-personal channels. I actually just finished reading The Tipping Point and in the updated afterword, Gladwell provides thoughts on impacts of technologies on The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesman. It seems that we may be building an immunity to the huge volume of data we receive through new tech channels. I'd like to hear Malcolm's thoughts on the smaller community focus of web 2.0 being a better chance at building more valuable connections online."

Although I did comment back in November that I was getting some new (old) music from Radio 2, the vast majority of my music finds continue to come from reading reviews in magazines and then taking the time to sample a large amount of music. For instance, scattered around our living room are months of Q magazines with year-end US focused publications from Rolling Stone and Spin. I've been busy correlating many of the best ofs and making sure I didn't miss any gems in 2008. A found a few new ones just over the last couple of days from Rolling Stone. Mostly American artists like Blitzen Trapper, Conor Oberst and Girl Talk that haven't quite made the impact in the UK which is my primary source. There are plenty of online reviews (metacritic being a good consolidator) but music magazines remain one of the few hardcopy purchases I make on a regular basis - I love marking them up with check marks, c/o for "check out" and other personal ratings and comments.

Personal recommendations are almost always better than what you hear from mass market channels. You build a sense of trust with the person who recommends a good band or book, especially if you find one that hits the mark, is close to your tastes or perhaps they even begin to understand your personal tastes and they tailor their recommendations to you ! There must be a little gap in the web 2.0 weave for a little more personal recommendation. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook work to some degree, but there's room for improvement and readers should make a good effort to fuel the feedback loop. I pretend to be a source for recommendations and ratings for music (here and there) and movies via my Facebook page, and but then again it all comes down to personal preference and how specific your tastes are.

Can a good, reliable source influence your tastes ? I'd say it probably has for me over the years, especially with popular music in the UK. It's taken a while for me to trust the ratings in Q, but now we seem to be in sync. One other source I go to on a regular basis is IMDB for movies. I'd say the reader voting and reviews really do provide a good guideline for me and I can invest good time in any movie scoring over 7.

So where do you get your new music from ?

1 comment:

Tom said...

I'd have to say that the largest source of new music is BBC6. Just because it's easy, 24/7 and for the most part play great music. It's a high "good-find:crap" ratio.

Next, is from artist interviews. For example, I discovered Arcade Fire from a David Bowie interview and MIA from a Trend Reznor interview. I've found truely great finds, but good artist interviews are few and far between.

After that I look to a few NYC clubs who post their artist lineup online. I found a neat Montreal band through them. However this is a painful "good-find:crap" ratio, which makes me wonder why I keep looking.