Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back in my day we could listen to music at all...

I read this article once that said that you eventually reach an age where you just aren't going to find more music that you like. Maybe some artists that are similar to things you already enjoy, but that you do have a threshold of how much music you'll really enjoy. Which is why whenever a new sound happens, all the old people walk around saying "Back in my day..."

It's probably relatively accurate. I definitely find that I still really enjoy silly pop songs from the 90's and early 2000's but that I don't really care about much of the new stuff coming out. I find a reasonable amount of new music that I enjoy, but I can't just listen to top 40 and expect to hear things I like anymore.

Which brings me to my problem: it's nearly impossible for me to listen to music anymore and that's kind of ridiculous. When I was a kid, I just left my tv on CMT or VH1 (sometimes MTV but they were already starting to get away from playing music). Or I could listen to a couple radio stations in my small town.

Of course, none of those stations play music videos regularly anymore. In the morning you can catch some, but it's hard to figure out when they're on and they're frequently interrupted. Last time I watched a top ten show on VH1 (which was admittedly five years ago) they didn't play the whole video for anything except number one.

I was driving for an hour one day a little while ago and through a set of randomness I had no choice but to listen to the radio. Where I live, you can cycle through the fifty stations around here during commuting hours and find nothing but people talking. DJs rambling and telling stupid jokes, talk radio shows, commercials, whatever you want of people talking but no music.

This is a huge problem in the car, where I basically can't listen to the radio anymore so I have to rely on a device. If I want to hear new music, I only have two choices - Pandora or Spotify. I'm trying to troubleshoot why Spotify isn't working on my phone, but I never got far because until recently I just listened to Pandora.

Pandora used to be the perfect solution to this, but it's really fallen from grace lately. The app on my phone just barely works at all, it's always locking up or dropping out. And when it does work, I've noticed it just plays the same dozen or so songs on each station. So I'm already sick of half of my stations. I'd love to get more variety and functionality out of it, because the idea behind Pandora is perfect. It's exactly what I want, but it doesn't give me new music anymore and it doesn't work half the time, so that's a bust.

Then there's satellite radio, which I used to have and love. But towards the end of my subscription they started adding DJs to the stations, and if I have a digital display telling me what song is playing, then I have no need for a DJ and I really don't want to hear them. I ended my subscription shortly after that, because I bought an MP3 player instead.

So this is my question: what has replaced the radio? How are we supposed to find new music that we might like these days? Since radio stations (even satellite) is more concerned with people yammering, and even Pandora is falling into the "let's just play thirty songs on rotation, nobody will notice" then what do I do when I don't want to just listen to my own music again but maybe hear something new? Is Spotify really the only choice for that these days?