Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Levelling the (Musical) Playing Field

Yet another advantage of the widespread availability of the Internet is access to a wider range of music. Most of the bands the I listen to from outside the United States I have discovered through the Internet.

Websites like MySpace allow just about any musician with a piece of their recorded work and a computer with Internet access to share their music to anyone around the world. This system allows music promotion to be more democratized than ever before (see my first blog post). Listeners will buy the music of and support the tours of the bands they enjoy the most, despite geographic barriers. A great personal example of this for me is the artist Teitur. The singer is from the remote Faroe Islands, a province of Denmark. I discovered his work through an online music forum with people of similar tastes to mine. Someone had posted a review, saying that it was one of their favorite albums of the year, despite the fact that he is so unknown. So I first listened to a few of his songs on his MySpace page, and eventually decided to buy one of his albums on iTunes. Now, a few years and albums later, Teitur is on a U.S. tour and I have a ticket to see him perform live in Minneapolis just after my exams end.

I've had a similar experience with much of the music I listen to from other countries, and I would guess that if you asked just about any artist of the effect the Internet has on the amount of listeners, they would say it allows for a dramatic increase.

The Internet is also a great tool for discovery since it not only connects listeners to artists, but also listeners to one another. This can be in the form of aforementioned networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, through forums and blogs, Internet radio sites like Pandora, and even hybrid websites like last.fm that are part social networking, part music discovery. Last.fm is an especially great example, because it tracks the music a user listens to (using a plugin to Windows Media Player or iTunes), and then gives recommendations for new artists based on their taste, and shows them their "neighbors" or people who listen to artists most similar to yourself. This sort of website is beneficial because listeners can discover new artists that they will most likely enjoy quickly, and artists are promoted and found by users most likely to enjoy their style of music.

1 comment:

dianne said...

like you, i find most of my new music through the internet. from people i don't know really, but whose musical tastes cross paths with my own.

i hope you enjoy the teitur shows. i went to three this week, and am still coasting on the after show high.

make sure you sing along with "catherine the waitress". it's more fun with crowd interaction...