Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blind Dating My Music

Today I got an email from an artist I’ve played on the show a few times before, Matthew Ryan. He mentioned how he had just released a song “Some Streets Lead Nowhere” and the proceeds were going to help fund his next album. I got excited and was about to download the new song when I realized I had already bought this song! I paid 99 cents for it on iTunes and listened to had listened to it maybe once (the play count field on iTunes read 0 meaning I never had clicked on it). Why do I mention this? Because it seems to be happening to me more and more these days.

I’m simply overwhelmed by the amount of music I have access to.

This is coming from a guy who started All You Need Is Hops and the Hopscasts in order to help my friends and others filter their choices in music. What older bands have I been missing? What new albums do I need to be downloading? What songs belong on my mp3 player if I’m in a bad mood? In my quest to help figure all of this out I have downloaded more music than I could possibly listen to. According to my iTunes playlist it would take me over 52 days to listen to everything on my hard drive, and that isn’t counting the hundreds of CDs I haven’t uploaded yet. It’s all starting to feel like homework. I get two or three albums or songs by a few new bands and try to listen to them before I get a bunch more in the next few days. I can’t keep up, I don’t even want to.

This made me realize - I don’t want to be set up on a date with my music. I want to meet my music in a bar.

Or in a movie. Or on my iPod while I’m taking the train. Or in my kitchen when Mrs. Hops and I are making dinner. Discovering new music should happen organically. It should be connected to some type of emotional response. Why do you think you fall in love with songs when they’re played in great movies? Especially when you’ve heard them dozens of times before. I’m sick of listening to stuff just because its on my list of things to do.

So what now? I’m going to keep focusing on creating Hopscasts that make you hear music in a different context than you would if you had just downloaded the songs onto your mp3 player randomly. Hopefully it will help both of us remember why we listen in the first place.

Sometimes there might even be a new band that I think you should definitely check out. I’ll pick the bar. I promise you won't regret it.

Download Matthew Ryan's "Some Streets Lead Nowhere" through iTunes

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