In the age of the iPod, it's harder and harder to get exposed to new, interesting music. In this three-part series, we'll look at websites that showcase artists and songs you don't already know by heart—but you'd probably like. Today, Sam Machkovech on BitTorrent sites.
Anybody with common sense knows better than to flip on the radio and expect a DJ to assert an opinion.
It's an issue of economies of scale: nationalized media sells ads to national clients. Those clients want assurance that they're tapping the same demographic in every city when they plunk down for an expensive, 40+ city ad buy. This is why every major market seems to have a "Movin'"-themed radio station, along with hip-hop and "alternative" outlets that share a national playlist.
Even factoring in college radio and other small-wattage towers, American cities no longer have a majority of stations in which a DJ will take your call, mark your song request, and play according to consumer demand. Nor do most American DJs have the privilege of picking a new, personal favorite song and peppering a full day of airtime with it.
If I want to find a song that will delight and surprise me, it has become easier to do it myself. That's where BitTorrent sites—which allow users to access a breathtakingly wide range of music—come in.
MORE IN THIS SERIES:
Alex Eichler: The Joy of the Hype Machine: Music Ex Machina
Joe Fassler: Daytrotter: Where Good Music Gets Saved
When we talk about the changing world of music, a lot of people buy into the illusion that the Internet drove the change. Napster racked up millions of users, in spite of Metallica's lamentations. Steve Jobs orchestrated an iRevolution. Radiohead gave an album away as digital files. The rest is history, and we became a bunch of downloading fools—in some cases, pirates—overnight. Right?