I'm trying various ways of finding new music of interest, with mixed results.
First is MusicIP Mixer, a downloadable application. It reads your iTunes music file, analyzes your MP3s for their musical signature and then allows you to create playlists. Unfortunately, it runs slow on my two-year-old computer so it's too frustrating to really use. I did seed a playlist with Albert Ayler's Goin' Home and it produced this possibly related playlist:
- Hymn to New England. John Williams
- Red Pony Suite. Aaron Copland
- Violin Concerto. Samuel Barber
- End of Dracula. Philip Glass
- Gloria. Ockeghem
- Catfish Row. George Gershwin
Not what I expected but good results nonetheless. I like the idea of "if you like this, you'll like that" on my own collection, a feature iTunes lacks.
Next is gpal, which, given an artist, will add a podcast to iTunes for new music related to that artist. I did this for Boards of Canada and have a handful of new tracks, but nothing compelling so far.
Third is Songbird, a music browser, based on Mozilla. I had set it to watch Carl Stone's MP3 page as well as some others and then automatically download as contents change. Songbird early in its life had various problems so I updated to a new version but unfortunately, it somehow lost my old configuration. I'll try again later when it's more stable.
Fourth is lala, which pretends we don't live in the world of MP3s. This is a website where you list the CDs you own and the CDs you want. Then, when someone wants one of your CDs that you are willing to give, you send it to them and lala takes a $1 fee (with some percentage also going to the artist). I registered several hundred CDs and had people wanting the more popular music e.g. Boards of Canada, Gorillaz, Coldplay, etc. However, according to the rules, you aren't supposed to send any CDs that you ripped into MP3s, even if this may be hard to actually enforce. Ok, so I registered another hundred unripped CDs and eventually had a Bach cello suite CD someone wanted. The other twist is that you ship the CD without the original jewel case or liner notes, instead using just a smaller plastic case and a Netflix-like envelope. Regardless, I suspect my "want list" is too obscure to be matched. My page is here.
Finally, the most successful for me has been the Azureus torrent client. Last night I downloaded the SXSW Showcase MP3s as a torrent using Azureus. It took 10 hours to (legally) download 2+ Gigabytes of music and so far, the quality of the music is surprisingly good. Let's see -- if I listen to all 713 pop MP3s at a rate of 25 per day, I'll be returning to classical music in a month.
Other than cacaphonous.org, I don't know of anything in the art/classical domain remotely like this immersive SXSW download. I subscribe to individual podcasts that can be good but they trickle in whereas this is truly a torrent of pop music. Maybe one reason I liked the Cinema Volta ambient podcast was that it was so frequent.
Instead, (and speaking of control of intellectual property), the classical world has Cal Performances complaining about SFMike's photo blog of the Alarm Will Sound concert. I don't doubt there are contractural reasons for precluding photo-taking (although it appears the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera haven't objected). It just feels so closed and proprietary (and serious and elitist).
Anyway, back to the fun of the SXSW tracks...