Following on from my last post, there some things you should be doing to keep up with what’s going on in music land. Whether you’re a fan of Britney Spears or Slayer (my favourites usually lie somewhere in between) if you’re not using the internet properly, you might be missing out.
#1. Join mailing lists. A really basic one, but get on to your favourite artists websites and join the mailing lists. Depending on the musician’s generosity you may be sent anything from free mp3s and videos to presale ticket information. I’ve benefited from this quite a few times, with The Pixies, in particular. Without an emailed presale code, tickets to their Australian Doolittle anniversary tour last year were near impossible to acquire. They have also emailed out live EPs and other goodies. Don’t limit yourself to band mailing lists, also join the mailing lists for venues you like and tour promoters, sometimes they are the keepers of the all-important code.
#2. “Follow” on Twitter and “like” on Facebook. I wrote last time that social networking sites are often the vehicle musicians use to announce secret gigs, due to their immediacy and wide-reaching potential. I’ve yet to see it have an effect, but recently I’ve been using Twitter to try and convince Pulp to take their newly reformed band on an Australian tour. Twitter gives me a false sense of power. I believe I can have a conversation with almost anyone, from Jarvis Cocker to Julia Gillard. And I like to imagine when I ask Jarvis Cocker to bring his friends to Australia with him, he’s sitting in front of a computer saying to himself, “I’ll see what I can do.”
Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips likes to hide money around his home town and tweet on its whereabouts. Good news if you live in Oklahoma City.
And sometimes it’s just nice to hear what Johnny Marr is up to.
#3. Become familiar with free mp3 sites. If you’re like me, a poor student and a music addict, you can’t afford to buy all the music that you need. I’m also quite old-fashioned. I prefer to pay for that which is tangible. I won’t pay for an album on itunes if for a couple of dollars more I can buy something I can hold in my hands. I feel the same way about ebooks. But free mp3s are a perfect way to discover new music.
For new Australian music, you can’t go past Triple J Unearthed, here you will find LOTS of new music you can stream and download. It’s well organised, which is always important to me, and the music is conveniently broken into categories. So if you’re into punk, hip hop, electro, indie rock or all of the above, you should find plenty here you can enjoy.
I also really like Stereogum, an indie music blog that posts an almost impossible to get through amount of mp3s. But what they’ve started doing lately is releasing a Monthly Mix, a sort of ‘best-of’ compilation of their recent uploads. 10-15 tracks in a zip file – perfect for those months where you’re too busy to obsess as often as you’d like to.