Archive for August, 2012

Finding Independent Music: ReverbNation

Posted by on August 31st, 2012

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ReverbNation LogoIn this first of who knows how many posts, I’m going to explore ways of discovering independent artists online, with a special interest in discovering local and regional music.  The two tools that most people seem to use, Pandora and Spotify, don’t particularly cater to or accommodate up-and-coming musicians; they focus more on big names on major labels.  Although independent musicians can make their music available through these services (Chameleon Red is on Spotify, for instance), it’s unlikely that they’ll ever pop up on whatever “radio” you’re listening to.  So I’m searching for other tools; the first one I’ll cover is ReverbNation.

ReverbNation.com is a great resource for independent musicians; you can set up a page, upload music and get all kinds of neat tools to integrate with web pages, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., for free.  There are also some really nice premium services.  For music fans, the site offers some handy features, but also has some annoying shortcomings.

On the plus side, it’s easy to locate local artists; they even have charts for different genres of music.  The charts are based on popularity.  You can see info on each artist, and if available, buy the music from the artist’s page.  You can see a calendar of upcoming shows in the area and who’s playing, too.  It’s also easy to listen to artists at a nationwide or global level, so you can discover new music from all over.  While you’re listening, you can click around and explore different parts of the site while the music continues to play, which is nice.

On the minus side, right now it’s impossible to play the entire local chart for a particular genre, though I’m pretty sure that feature was there in the past.  So you have to click on each song individually, which is a pain.  Also, the top couple of chart positions seem to be occupied by non-local artists; I’m not sure what’s going on with that.  Setting up a custom playlist seems a little flaky right now, too.

All in all, ReverbNation is awesome for artists and is a good resource for discovering the artists in your neighborhood, though it could stand improvement from a listener’s perspective.

If you know of other sites that are helpful in discovering independent musical artists, please share them with us!

Chameleon Red on ReverbNation

In Search of Good (Independent) Music

Posted by on August 24th, 2012

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It’s hard to find good new music these days…at least I find it so.  In fact, I more or less gave up for a long time, for a number of reasons.  Firstly, it seems like the good-to-suck ratio on the radio became so low that it just wasn’t worth it to listen anymore.  Popular music has gotten so homogenized that there’s a lowest common denominator sameness that’s accentuated by the strict adherence to format.  I suppose that’s not surprising; there are only four major record labels left (three, if UMG is allowed to gobble up EMI), subsidiaries of giant corporations all, and one corporation, Clear Channel, owns most U.S. radio stations.  The labels have become increasingly fearful of taking risks as the digital music ages has steadily eaten into their profits, and will only spend their money on sure things; mostly, established artists or artists/marketing whizzes who have already built their own fan bases.  Strict radio format means that artists whose music is hard to pigeonhole into a particular established genre will not be played, and if they’re not signed to a major label, forget it.  It all adds up to music that is strictly formula, overproduced and overcompressed (to make it sound louder—there’s a loudness war on, you know).

So how does one find good new music?  I generally like the philosophy of buying local first and supporting small businesses over giant corporations; so that seems like an obvious direction to move toward.  I’d rather buy music from the artist or band so that they get most of the profits, rather than support bloated corporations who only give a teensy percentage of music sales to the artists. Easier said than done, though; aside from going to local live music events (always a good idea), how does one sift through the literally thousands upon thousands of independent musical artists one can find on the Internet to find the good, even great music that’s undoubtedly there?  That’s one of the things I intend to explore in this blog; I’ll be reviewing independent artists and sharing ways of discovering new music outside the mainstream.

Website overhauled

Posted by on August 16th, 2012

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It’s been a while, but the site is not dead!  We’ve just changed the look of the entire site, updated the content, and upgraded mobile device compatibility so that you can listen to us no matter where you’re surfing from.  We plan to be updating the content and blogging with more regularity, so stay tuned!