One of my favorite parts of the academic interim period is that i can catch up on all of the things that i have put on the queue as unacceptable procrastination devices. I sent my computer in to be fixed (damn optical drive), bought a new iPod and have been organizing my music.
Amidst this, i finally dove into Last.FM and Audioscrobbler (even later than Liz). Aside from the fact that it’s fascinating to see what all i listen to, it’s absolutely intriguing to see what others are listening to and to be able to listen to their music as “radio.” I’ve already found two new DJs that i *love*.
Music is a social tool. Most people get their music through their friends and social networks say more about music than anything else. Of course, many of my older friends are still listening to what they loved when they were in college because they no longer have access the diverse networks that introduce them to new music. And we’re not even going to begin discussing the weaknesses of radio. When Napster collapsed, my music explorations collapsed. The only thing that fixed that was a server my friends have that allows you to stream music. Folks in our crew upload music and we can all stream it. That is a fantastic way of connecting to interesting music that my friends have found. This is effectively what Last.FM is doing on a larger scale
Of course, i found songs that i liked, tried to buy them at the iTunes store, realized that they didn’t exist (because they aren’t so mainstream) and then re-downloaded LimeWire to find them. It’s frustrating because many of the CDs i listen to go out of stock relatively quickly or only have a few runs. It’s sooo important for me to find other people that have them and i’m still cranky with the RIAA for making it hard for me to find rare songs that they don’t even cover anyhow.
I’m very curious what will happen once more folks get on it (particularly youth and alternative cultures). I’m already pleased to find out that there are more than 100 psychonauts out there. This certainly looks like the type of sharing-driven social networking tools that i love.