9.16.2006

Freedom to Discover Music

Freedom to Hear Music, Find Music, Share Music and Love Music.
Great music is being heard. It is thrilling to me to see the change in the way music lovers can hear, find and share music. Musicians now have the opportunity to create careers on their own or with the help of a caring independent label. The tides our changing. There are people all over the world starting sites like this one. Spreading the word about music they love.

Recently I befriended someone that has a Myspace site that strongly states "Let's Make Folk a Threat Again". He is a young man who is passionate about changing the world through music. On his site he hosts bands and singer songwriters that are doing just that. He presents their uTube live performances for all who find his site, to hear and investigate. These great musicians are playing among us on street corners, in basements, garages and small venues. They are being heard by a few but have the potential to be heard by many!

Music fans and bloggers are curating their personal music aesthetic. They are creating their own small communities of like minded listeners. Myspace, uTube, Last.fm and podcasts are vehicles to help bring music forward and expand the audience.

Many of the public radio sites and stations offer some new music, but are gearing there music selection to an older demographic. Their playlists get very similar and end up being mediocre. They are trying to please, but are not challenging their audience. They often play music that has an audience, not music that needs to find one. I miss the truly informed host. I want to hear the history behind the music and find out what was just played. That is why I'm not a big fan of Satellite radio.

In 2004 WillyMason
was discovered by Conor Oberst. He opened a few shows for Bright Eyes and was very well received. Shortly after those shows he played SXSW to an audience of four. The audience turned out to be scouts for Zane Lowe Radio1 on the BBC. Their job that night was to find the best band at SXSW. Well they loved Willy Mason and asked him to perform a song on the air. The song was played and requested for months. At that point his first self released EP was available. Eventually he recorded his full length and by the end of 2005 had sold 100,000 CD's in the UK.. Unfortunately, this would never happen here in the States. The corportization of radio and rise of the monopoly the Clear Channel would change radio and music discovery in this country forever.

When I was a teenager in the mid to late sixties radio reached a broader community. Along with hearing bubblegum pop you would also hear Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes and Hendrix all in the same half hour of airtime. Everybody was hearing the same music, and great music had a chance to evolve and change the culture. Today we are a boutique culture. This feels comforting, but creates separation of communities rather than shared experience.

Even though myspace is owned by Rupert Murdock and is weighed down with advertising and over customized sites, it is still free and accessible. I am able to find inspiring music on myspace. It does take time and a discerning ear, but it is there. It has aided bands like the Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sell large quantities of CD’s by indie standards and fill venues without radio play. Their success is a hopeful sign for other music artists to model.

I am trying to find out about new vehicles that foster music discovery. I am hoping to start a dialogue with this community of music lovers. Maybe you have some suggestions and some answers to questions that would be helpful to other musicians and music fans. Are there radio and Internet radio sites that are innovative and worthwhile? Are there sites that should be avoided? Is CD Baby
a good way for independents to sell CD's? In what way do you think all of this will evolve? What's on the horizon that most people are not aware of? Are you willing to share? Together we can make a difference. Freedom to hear music, find music, share music and love music!! Please comment and help move the culture forward.

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