Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Does the internet influence how you find music?

I love too much already.

Someone (a lot younger than me) asked me today: Has the internet had an effect on the range of music that you seek out?

I had to say no. Not because the internet hasn’t had a huge impact on the way we all relate to music. But because I don’t really seek out music any more.

No-one has to seek out music these days. It’s there all the time.  (And that is, of course, partly the fault of the intenet.) I love music but I tend more towards shunning than seeking, because I want to hear the music I choose, not what someone else chooses for me. I’m annoyed at being put in this position, but that’s how it is now.

Sometimes I do feel like I’ve let music down, because I’m not looking for new stuff and that used to be important to me. But I don’t really care about the next big thing any more. Been there, done that, got LOTS of T-shirts.

Maybe it's because I’m old and boring. Or maybe it’s just because I’m old. I have a pretty good record collection already, and already I don’t have time to hear it as much as I’d like. I can't afford to seek out new stuff. In the words of Julie Burchill: “I love too much already”.

I don’t use any online streaming services or recommendations. I don’t go on fan sites. I hardly read any music journalism since the Guardian axed Laura Barton’s Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll column. If I do read about music, I can’t be bothered with reviews. I’d rather join in a conversation about the representation of women in the music business.

Am I missing out? Well, maybe. But I have to admit that when I do hear new stuff, my response tends to fall into three categories. 1. This is bland, soulless showbiz. 2. I’m not taking the right drugs, and I don’t dance. 3. This sounds good, but it sounds like the same stuff I was listening to thirty years ago.

And occasionally: this sounds good and maybe it does sound like the stuff I was listening to years ago but it’s up there with the best of them.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the new records I’ve bought this century. Some are by acts I’ve recently discovered, others by people I already knew and liked.

So how did I discover my new music? The way I always have – through the radio (6 Music, mostly), through the television (dipping in and out of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage), and through friends (videos on Facebook). OK, that last one is through the internet, at least, because I don't see most of my friends in person.

I haven’t stopped buying records, though. I am always on the look-out for second-hand vinyl. Partly to replace stuff that’s in my ex-husband’s house, and partly to replace stuff that I only had on CD.

My most recent purchase? A Gene Vincent greatest hits LP.

Has the internet changed the way you find or listen to music? Are you still seeking out new things? If so, what keeps you going on that quest? If not, when and why did you stop?


  1. I hear you sister! One of my Project 50 Goals is to "find some popular music that I like". I think I have come across maybe two 2015/2016 songs. I've been using friend recommendation and also listening to You Tube "Top Forty" Stations that play just 10-30 seconds of music. Nothing has really tripped my trigger, but I will continue to seek!

  2. I'm a few years ahead of you, but I love your Project 50 idea (and your manifesto!).