Sometimes it's good to be cynical when it comes to music, and distrustful of selections depending on the source of recommendation as long as you don't wallow in it. Music that appeals to you because it was shoehorned into your consciousness by overwrought PR tactics, desperate media flacks and lazy familiars that follow in line and step with "what's hot" might not be that good, and later on you may learn that you don't even really like it as much as you thought you did. But the stuff that appeals to your own innate sensibilitiesis is usually the good sh*t. It's good because you value the merits of independent discovery, free of all the hype, noise and payola that has come to characterize mainstream viability.
We recently asked some close friends and fam how they discover new music. This will probably be our most important exchange of ideas. It's crucial to look beyond the usual radio and cable stations, as well as popular blogs (even ours). Your scope of reference must be wide and your options must be varied. Mainly because, it blows to complain about sheep only to later learn you are one.
It used to be through Digital DJs' website before it became defunct. Now it's through podcasts, Gordon Gartrell Radio & Casamena especially. And personal recommendations sometimes since usually I tend to know about most good music first.
When my iPod gets bored, I go on a binge downloading podcasts and mixes. I can usually count on our own DJ Stylus and Gordon Gartrell Radio to point me in the direction of artists that I've never heard of. And that's saying a lot for a connoisseur such as myself. I've also connected with some great people through my blog. In particular, one of my regular supporters from the UK has hipped me to some great musical discoveries. I also would encourage people to save up their loose change for a couple months and attend a live show! Interact with other music lovers and find out what they are rocking to.
Browsing Listmania! Lists on Amazon at two in the morning has gotten me some interesting and life long additions to my music collection. Some of my favorite clothing stores have some of the best music pumping out through the loud speakers, and I always find myself asking the salesperson "Who is that playing?" Usually they know because, well, they hear it about ten times a day. Aside from that, my closest friends and I have this thing where whenever we all get together at someone's house, they host the music for that night and it's a party around the host's computer with their iTunes playlist or Windows Media Player playing...bizarre but since my friends all have different tastes in music you always get into an artist or band that you never in life thought you'd enjoy.
I hardly ever get a hold of hard copy mixtapes anymore. Radio? "Hell to the naw" - © Whitney
Blogs are a major source, and music websites in general, the latter of which are starting to edge out the steady diet of print magazines that I've long consulted to stay up on new tunes.
I spend a lot of time connecting the dots. If I like one artist, I'll check to see who they've worked with, who has produced them, and then go seek out those folks too. And my peers are a major information source, all of us being DJs, writers and artists.
I plead the fifth on the grounds that my testimony might incriminate me. Other than that, I belong to various DJ sites that email me new tracks and I read a lot. I get a lot of submissions to my website so I spend a lot of time listening to new music. I do listen to my Superfriends of Podcasting (EJ, Fave, Anewlis, Fresh, nOva, TGrundy, Nikki, Todd Kelly, Darren Keith) The list could go on and on lol I very rarely listen to the radio. And there is no aside from Soulbounce...this is the information spot!
We get that not everyone is a deejay or otherwise related to the business of music in some way. But, any lover of music, regardless of their affiliation, keeps their ears open and is proactive. As you can see, most of the sources above didn't really exist until the last few years, meaning the listener is now more in control than ever.
What are your recommendations?