Thursday, November 10, 2005

Going legal.

*image from www.stdp7.com/blog/

For the past few months, I've been leaning more and more toward downloading new music legally that's still free. That, of course, does not hide the fact that a chunk of my music collection is largely pirated, but I don't feel any sympathy because they are all mainstream artists whose corporate labels are greedy, grasping schmucks. I highly exaggerate (duh), although I'm just channeling the spirits of a million dissatisfied teenagers and young adults who are tired of being dictated on what to listen to.

Most of the artists I'm downloading right now are independent. They are the ones with small to medium labels who've listened to their sound, like it, and signed them on. Mind you, some of these artists are not considered mainstream radio-friendly, therefore, if you've been weaned on pop radio, it might take you a few spins to truly appreciate their sound. On my end, it took a lot of spins and a lot of questions (What the HELL?!) until my stubborn mainstream musical taste melted down. Now I'm a happy camper, and I have no plans of going back to mainstream any time soon.

One of the things I truly love about downloading new tracks is that I'm introduced to new music and new sounds. It constantly amazes me how much good music is out there.

Here is a short list of where I like to scrounge for new music within the letter of the law:

MP3 sites

3hive - In my opinion, the best MP3 website that runs the whole gamut of new music and artists. From softcore to punk, pop to rock, hip hop to funk, 3hive literally has it all. 3hive is a team of five writers with a wide range of musical tastes. With a clean, well-designed interface, it's easy for new users to navigate. I've so many finds here it's impossible to numerate them all. They also offer streaming and podcasting.

Insound - This has as many good musical finds as 3hive, although 3hive features more artists and is updated more often. Still, a great site.

Podsiphon - Although the last update was in April, there are still plenty of MP3s to try. Here is where I first heard of The Getup Kids (sadly disbanded), The Vibrants, and Say Hi to Your Mom.

Amazon - Yes, they do offer free downloads of both mainstream and indie artists. Go take a look-see.

Kings of A&R - A music industry website that features mostly rock music. They also rock. I got Embrace's "Ashes" here and discovered This World Fair and WhiteSilver, which I adore.

My artist recommendations (some links go straight to their labels where you can download several tracks):

The Velvet Teen

The New Pornographers
Broken Social Scene
Spoon (the aforementioned "What the HELL?!"; now, they're one of my favorite spins)
The Coral Sea
WhiteSilver
Mike Doughty
This World Fair

You can also download their tracks at 3hive and KOAR.