Been thinking a lot about how music discovery has evolved and pondering about how I got into some of my favourite acts when I was younger versus now. It’s “interesting” (read: sort of frustrating) how I still use some of the same tried and tested methods of exploring, except they’re just a little more sophisticated online.
For all the millions poured into music discovery technology, I haven’t really evolved, it would seem, partly because I’ve always been a big fan of compilations. Be it cassettes mounted on the cover of magazines, CDR compilations from friends, movie soundtracks or label samplers, I like that curated browsing experience, which is why I’m a big fan of playlists and browsing a labels’ catalogue on Soundcloud. I mean, is browsing the Hyperdub, Kompakt and Erased Tapes soundcloud pages that much different to buying one of those Punk-o-Rama compilations? Is a Pitchfork year-end playlist on Spotify or YouTube that different to an NME cover CD?
However, I’ve also been thinking about how some of my favourite acts I wasn’t totally enamoured with at first, and people said, ‘oh, but…’ and explained why they loved something, and why, from what I already like, I’d love it too (Bright Eyes being a prime example… I just couldn’t hear beyond that cartoon-y voice, that I’ve grown to love). Thinking back to the first time I heard The National, even, I remember being a bit “meh…” and moved along with my day - thankfully I came to my senses eventually. With Weezer I remember loving ‘Buddy Holly’ on Mtv2, and then being so confused by Pinkerton’s production that it excited me.
I definitely have a lot of music in my life that I was first exposed to when I wasn’t looking for music. Movie soundtracks are great for that, and I remember there was a definite moment when the Trainspotting soundtrack was one of the few things I owned, and how much I listened to it, and how that got my young teenage mind excited about music. Similarly, in recent years, Clint Mansell’s soundtrack to Moon and Nick Cave & Warren Ellis’ soundtrack to The Road have sent me on a voyage to discover far more “modern classical”.
I’m struggling to think of many acts (apart from maybe Muse, tho whether I’d class them as a “favourite” is increasingly challenging) that are still in my almost daily life that I “discovered” in their embryonic stages or even when their first album came out (Deftones were two albums in, Tom Waits was about 10, Antlers two or three…), which got me thinking, why does the media dedicate so much time to brand new music or am I alone or far too set in my ways?
Look forward to hearing how you discovered some of your favourite acts “then”, and now. Respond on the Drowned in Sound forum, Facebook, or @drownedinsound on Twitter, or here on Tumblr. If the first few replies are anything to go by, keep an eye out for some useful tips from our community and some destinations to bookmark.