One of the best things about the independent record store I worked for is its policy of opening anything in the store so a customer can have a listen. It’s a policy that goes above and beyond the standard pre-programmed listening station at the average chain store, and it’s one of the things that I miss most about spending my days surrounded by dusty racks of cds and vinyl–it provided instant gratification for my need to know what some new band or some old record was all about. After leaving the record store and no longer able to feed this need 40 hours a week (and on the clock), I turned to the internet for my fix.
Despite offering access to countless blogs, album leaks, and myspaces, the internet generally gave me just enough to keep the shakes at bay, but rarely enough to satisfy my craving for more, more, more! I shot my fill of snippets and songs and youtube posts, but there just wasn’t any place set up like an old school record store that allows a music junkie with an appetite that far exceeds his means to listen before buying. There were, to my dismay, no internet listening stations–but this seems to be changing.
These days, bands and labels seem to be taking hold of the internet flame and exerting more control over how their music hits the web. Bands increasingly stream not just songs but entire albums on their websites and myspace pages. Labels, in the run-up to an album’s release, stream albums on their own websites or partner with sites such as NPR or The Colbert Show to stream, and promote, an album prior to its release, usually in conjunction with a band being featured on those shows. With artists and labels becoming more proactive about how fans are able to engage new music on the internet, things are looking good for the internet finally reaching its potential as one big-ass, old school listening station.
I’ve always thought that the best way to sell an album is to let the album sell itself–here’s to hoping that as artists make their music more available for preview online, fans make their dollars more available, whether it be online or in person.
For those who, like me, don’t always have the time to make it down to the local record store to check out the new arrivals, here’s a few internet listening stations worth checking out while you’re surfing for porn:
spinner.com | right now, new Ozzy!
npr | right now, new Alejandro Escovedo!
the colbert show | right now, nothing, but it seems ol’ Colbert has some pretty good taste in music as his show has streamed albums from the Flaming Lips and the Mountain Goats, to name just a couple, so keep your eyes peeled.
and just a quick heads up to check out the Wolf Parade myspace page for a stream of their new album, EXPO 86, out June 29 on Sub Pop.