Who out there actually still purchases music? Be honest. Artists work their ass off for you, and you give them album leaks and full discography torrents in return. Why not try to be a little more legal/respectful? Today, the FC brings you a breakdown of some of the best places to get your tunes online, without the guilt.
As of now, we imagine most of you are pretty well versed in Pandora, the expansive, yet somehow limited, streaming radio-shuffle. Thanks to a series of algorithms and statistics, Pandora whittles down your tastes and shoots back surprisingly apt recommendations. How could they possibly know the FC loves Brand New and Andrew Bird? Pandora is an ideal tool for the casual, but open-minded music listener who is sick of commercial radio, but doesn’t necessarily have the time to scour the internet for new music. Music fanatics who enjoy a sense of control and desire personal input, Pandora may not be for you. Their shuffle, as expansive as it may seem, often gets tripped up on the same artists/songs that you could possibly get sick of. Much like the radio.
For he/she who has a music library in his/her head, but is unable to access his/her tangible collection, the FC recommends Grooveshark. An incredible, and somehow mostly-legal site, Grooveshark is the world’s iTunes. Users can search among literally hundreds of thousands of songs, build playlists, gain recommendations, enjoy a shuffle radio feature, and upload their music all for the low price of free.99. And for a low monthly fee, you can get Grooveshark on your iPhone, enabling the music world to sit at your beck and call. Set up by three University of Florida students back in 2005, Grooveshark has taken off exceptionally, causing the library to grow and grow. Because all of the music is user added, one will see gold-mines of hard-to-find material, like a nearly complete Songs from the Black Hole, Weezer’s abandoned space rock opera that became Pinkerton. And because all of Grooveshark is only streamed, it stays alive, unlike previous user-uploaded libraries like Napster. You owe it to yourself to check out this site.
While Grooveshark succeeds in sheer size and accessibility, the Hype Machine succeeds in hipness and real-time trends. Hype Machine is an aggregate of all mp3s that are posted on blogs across the internet, for your searching and listening enjoyment. What they may lack in size of library, they make up by having the hot tracks right when they hit the scene. Searching for that new banging Kanye track, but can’t or don’t want to download it from his site? Hype Machine is your place. Check out their front page for an up-to-date list of all things hot.
Lastly, there’s Bandcamp, an excellent network for listeners and musicians alike. Building off what Myspace and Purevolume started a few years ago, Bandcamp invites artists to build profiles and post their music online for fans. Fans then can listen to the posted music on the site, purchase the music directly from the band, and even start up a conversation. Up-and-coming and established artists both enjoy the freedom-driven, hands-on feel of Bandcamp, while listeners get a rare opportunity to deal directly with their favorite groups. You’ve heard us talk about Bandcamp before, when documenting FP fave Sufjan Stevens’ foray into online distribution. Check out old FC pals Plastic Plastic and their debut EP Everyone I Love or Wish to Love Is Here for a good idea of how the site works. And for some good tunes. Got any others?
Thanks to a mix of social networking, online streaming, and significant but needed and legitimate ads, one can find almost any song desired and beyond through a multitude of sites, including those above. The expanse and connectivity of the internet has enabled music fans to gobble up all the tunage they ever wanted, but at what cost? Established artists like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have no problem giving their music away for free, but lesser known bands and labels need that money to survive. Major companies have learned of the benefits of online advertising, and have begun to do so on revered music sites. Although quite indirectly, that money keeps the entire cycle going, while direct downloading of torrents or the like, does not. Next time a big Verizon V stares you in the face, say thanks for the jams. Too much? Disagree? Tell us off.