I am sitting here today, and after a random and varied trip through a range of artists, have apparently settled on having Tool’s Parabola on loop. I couldn’t tell you specifically why, other than something about it resonates at the depths of my soul, as if it’s the closest I come to practicing religion (mmm, panacea!). I wouldn’t say that it’s my favorite song by any stretch, but I will definitely say that I’ve been fond of Tool for a good couple of years. 😉
As some may or may not know, I used to be a DJ. I did a good, five, five and a half years between a couple of different stations, and generally enjoyed it as a once or twice a week hobby. I liked sharing good quality music with people, and enjoyed the freedom to discuss whatever interested me due to the incredibly relaxed nature of the web-based stations I was a part of. It made me really happy to see my listeners and other DJs pick up on artists I liked and shared, and to occasionally be tipped off to something new and great to check out later.
Not that… well..
I found that I didn’t really get to do a lot of listening for me for those years. I tended to have the station on passively in the background to keep my brain happy with semi-familiar noise babble; it needs a stream of such to stay contented and focused. I’d set aside a day a week (like say, Saturdays) to sit down and painstakingly construct playlists, doing my best to pick a wide mix of interesting artists and not play the same 2 or 3 tracks over and over again. It was a labour of love and one that I suspect wasn’t always appreciated, but it was still one that I enjoyed for the most part. And while I rarely got to spend quality time with my favorites, I got to console myself with the fact I got to find new-to-me artists of quality and interest to share with people. After all, that’s worthwhile, right? Right!
But, I admit, I love having the freedom to relax and just enjoy music for me and me alone again. I’m also incredibly grateful for streaming services and being able to use them to snuggle down with my faves while still managing to find a few new recommendations. I’ve heard that Pandora, for example, is fabulous for that… but we can’t get it here in the UK. One of my dear friends in Sweden is a huge fan of Spotify, and while I concede it has a decent selection of tunes, I find their radio set-up ridiculously arbitrary and unhelpful in finding like-for-like recommendations. Others give glowing reviews to last.fm, but as a lot of my favorites aren’t terribly mainstream, that’s not been incredibly useful… and even the few mainstream tracks I would’ve expected to find there have been curiously lacking!
So for the nonce, I use Grooveshark. With the curious exception of the Smashing Pumpkins (which, I admit, makes me mega-sad and a touch itchy!), I’ve managed to find pretty much everything I could ever want. The radio station generation is pretty darn good, though it does have random weird blind spots where it’ll only associate Artist X with Artist W, and hardly anything else. For example, because I love Death Cab for Cutie, it assumes I must also ADORE The Decemberists. And erm… no, double no, Hades on fire nonononono! *laughs* But still, it’s been wonderful to be able to take a trip back to the school days, put on an entire album streaming, and actually have the freedom to dive into full discographies at my leisure, to touch base with things I’d forgotten I liked/loved from the comfort of my own work-based environs! Oh yeessh, the years I couldn’t have music at work… are best not talked about. *smiles*
Anyways, I realize I’ve said a lot of nothing, and I still have a pile of data entry frowning at me, so I’m going to get back to that. Hope everyone is having a fine Friday! Oh, and if you know of OTHER streaming services worth checking out that aren’t going to cost me…. 😉