Rocking Out Online
Those who really know me understand my deep love and appreciation for music. I was 3 years old when I got my first record player. Some of my best childhood memories stem from trips to the record store and making mixtapes. Oh, and my Dad was in a reggae band. So I got my “groupie” training early.
While I own (and still listen to) vinyl records and find myself drawn to more retro sounds than new ones, I’m not totally stuck in the Stone-Age; I do listen to music online. It seems that there are tons of options and outlets for doing so nowadays. The following websites are my weapons of choice…mainly.
Last.fm – While the entire world seemed to jump onto the Pandora bandwagon, I was drawn to Last.fm from the start. Why? Well because Pandora is more like traditional radio…in that you “tune in” to a particular genre and get music automatically tailored and piped your way. Whereas Last.fm turns the track selections over to you. You create a profile, and then what you listen to is “scrobbled” (listed) on your profile, and from there you can build a “virtual library” of more music. In addition, Last.fm is a social network in that you can find others that have similar tastes and friend them. You can also join various interest groups.
In the beginning, I would just play iTunes, and then let Last.fm scrobble my listening habits. However nowadays, Last.fm can scrobble from an entire host of online music sources. In fact, at some point, Last.fm stopped being a repository for a lot of music, and if you want to listen to a track that you find on Last.fm, then you often times have to choose to go to another site in order to hear the full track (I opt for Rdio myself).
And finally, for what its worth, Last.fm is based in Britain; which sort-of gives it a worldly, indie flavor. The diversity of styles and people on Last.fm really can’t be beat…and its excellent for discovering new music.
Mixcloud – And yet again, I’m a dissenter…opting for a Mixcloud account instead of hopping over to Soundcloud. But this time, I have no real good reason other than I like the user interface of Mixcloud more. Ok, so what is this for? Well Mixcloud is a place to host self-produced MP3s – so basically like a YouTube for DJs and other recording artists. While I haven’t uploaded anything to in it a while (since I moved in fact, because I have yet to set up my MP3 DJ equipment), I still like to check in and see what other mixes people are uploading. It basically takes your bedroom DJ efforts out of the bedroom…a little bit.
My current “hit” on Mixcloud is my Skinhead’s Choice mix; with 228 listens and 12 loves (currently).
Blip.fm – I don’t visit this site nearly as often as the other ones, but it is a fun time when I do go. Blip.fm is like a crazy hybrid between Twitter and YouTube…just for music. You basically just type in a song (many that have videos attached to them), and then you ‘blip’ it. While you are blipping, you can also see the blips of the other ‘DJs’ that you follow. The end result looks very much like a Twitter stream. Blip.fm has a party-line feel to it in that you get a real-time update of all of these people’s playlist. Plus you get to contribute to. But Blip is really lacking in regards to selection and the sound quality of the tracks. Why this is, who knows – but I wouldn’t even think of using Blip to DJ your next houseparty.
So those are my staples of digital music; what are yours? 🙂