TLDR: I used to download music, then I tried streaming services and now I use curated mixtapes (and podcasts).
I’ve been thinking recently how the way I consume music has changed over the years. I hate music radio and always have so that’s never been an option and unfortunately Birmingham isn’t known for it’s thriving music scene (it’s not bad, it’s just not very good either).
Once upon a time I bought singles (my first was Don’t Speak by No Doubt) and albums (my first was Bad by Michael Jackson). I had a pretty decent collection too.
I then moved on to MP3s and downloaded as many as I could possibly get my hands on. I tried my best to keep my library (folders at that time) tidy and even used a bulk ID3 tag editor to get the song info correct. I got my MP3s from loads of different places such as Soundcloud, bands sites and this is when I signed up to my first music subscription service emusic. Here you sign up and can download a certain amount of tracks per month for a fee. The music is DRM free and I still have some of those tracks in my current library.
As times moved on I started sharing MP3s and got a load more from friends. This is when I realised I really didn’t like having to trawl through thousands of tracks to find something I wanted to listen to so I deleted GBs of music and enjoyed keeping my music collection organised.
Then came Spotify and Rdio. I swapped between these services over a span of about 3 years trying them intermittently as they traded features (web player, decent radio, etc).
I then gave up on music for a bit as finding music became more hassle than I found was worth it. In the past I’d really enjoyed that process, watched late night MTV, trawling YouTube with friends, fumbling for SoundHound or Shazam when a song I like came on in a club or pub. However it felt like, with the ability remix and make music easier, that there was too much bad music to sift through, so I stopped.
About this time I also discovered podcasts (you can read more on what I listen to in my previous post) and so stopped listening to music altogether.
Then I discovered mixtapes! Hour long, or even longer in most cases, tracks of music curated by artists, producers and people who’s opinions and tastes I trusted. It all started with The Fox Is Black (previously Kitsune Noir) a site by Bobby Solomon. He used to a create (curate is probably more accurate) a regular mixtape that was amazing. Each mixtape now transports me to a specific time in my life but that’s another post I’m writing. I even used one as music for during the meal at my wedding.
From there I found Friday Mixtape which is again simply a curated mixtape by Duncan Rawlinson. This is by far my favourite collection and I have downloaded all of them (though deleted the ones I don’t like) over the year or so since finding them.
Between these 2 that was about all the music I listened to for a long time. I have recently added Noon Pacific and MixRadio to my go to places for music and enjoy just hitting play and enjoying what get’s played.