The Friday Five
Could you stand to add little more melody to your daily life? Well, if you aren’t already taking advantage of the very wide world of Internet music to modulate your mood and power your productivity, then it’s time you learned a few dance steps and entered the floor. There are tons of great places to look for music, regardless of your taste or proclivities. Here are just five-ish.
1. iTunes. If you’ve been living in a frigid hut on the steppes for the past 10 years, you may not know about iTunes. Otherwise, this is a reminder that you don’t have to be a Mac or buy a Mac device to take advantage of this great resource. Nor is it only good for mobile music. (Click on over there right now, for example, it’s Friday, after all.) It does, however, cost money. Usually. But if you stay on the ball, there are always some good free downloads and those nifty Starbucks cards for a free tune from the artist of the week.
2. Pandora. It seems everyone in an office is loving Pandora, custodian of The Music Genome Project. If you create a station based on an artist or song you enjoy, Pandora responds by playing musically similar selections. They may play the actual song you request. They may not. By providing feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down) you can tune the station closer and closer to your personal preference. Avid first adopters have discovered that you must pony up a bit of dough if you want to join Pandora One and hear more than the limited repetitive playlist inspired by your personal station. (But a Steven Colbert interview features co-founder Tim Westergren saying most users choose the free subscription, anyhow.)
3. Grooveshark. If dealing with a play list that “sounds like” what you want is perturbing, then try Grooveshark. The shark has more than surpassed Pandora in number of listeners now, and there are a few reason why. There’s that get-exactly-what-you-want-now thing, for one. You can select your own look for the player and it includes social networking for those who join.
4. Downloads. If you’d rather download than stream, prefer pop music and still want to in do it for free, then test out some smaller sites promoting lesser known pop artists or classic pop recordings through free downloads of hundreds or thousands of songs. Jamendo, based in Luxemburg, offers over 32,000 albums, tags and reviews. Free Music Archive offers what they call “a curated library of free, legal audio,” presented by personnel from various radio stations who manage the archive. Dogmazic is a French advertising-free site with a database of roughly 2,000 pieces. Internet Archive’s Audio Archive is a great place to find audio books, news broadcasts, old time radio shows as well as music. (Look for treasures like live concert recordings of the Grateful Dead, Warren Zevon and others.) CC Mixter makes a library of 10,000 samples available for free download and use (with onsite tools) to create your own entirely new musical compositions.
5. Allmusic. Clicking in to any of these sites may seem overwhelming. How will you know what music you want to listen to? That’s easy. Spend a little time at Allmusic.com. It is the site for music research, academic or recreational. You’ll find every genre, artist and nationality with lyrics, cover art, downloads, blogs and streaming video and audio. Settle down with a nice cup of coffee or a cold glass of beer and be prepared to spend a few hours. By the time you’re done you’ll know what you want and how to find it.