Dave - As Guns N Roses once said "You want to step into my world? It's a socio-psychotic state of bliss". One of the ways to achieve this is by discovering new music. Technology plays a big part in how music is marketed and how its discovered.
Once upon a time, people had to have their radios on and tuned into their favorite station to hear what new hits were being played. That didn't leave much room for new, "underground" music though. Most stations wouldn't play anything unless it was gaining traction, or if it was a specialty station geared toward alternative, or heavy metal or whatnot. Occasionally, you have a show on a regular station that had an hour or so for these genres so you might hear something unique instead of the same old songs you've heard 1000 times over and over again.
Melanie - It was very different depending where you lived as well. Even now I am amazed at the groups or singers that are considered "One Hit Wonders" here in the States that was hugely popular in England, and vice versa!
Dave - The age of MTV brought new discoveries as well. In preparing a new release, if it was a popular artist, you may get a new video a couple months in advance. You can have that one song pounded into your head until the new CD was released. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. It can get you so hyped up for the full-length CD. Or if the rest of the CD has a different sound, it could be a massive let down. Been there, done that. The choice for the lead off single if a big decision. You want something that will catch attention but also that is representative of the rest of the record.
Melanie - MTV was a huge game changer in England too. Suddenly we were seeing a lot more of the American Chart songs and often it wasn't as easy to get your hands on the CDs unlike over here. The record stores were very slow on the uptake when it came to the change hitting the industry and of course it wasn't like now where you could just jump on and order online!
Dave - I will give the example of the band Extreme. Their 2nd CD came out and they released "Decadence Dance", then "Get the Funk Out" as singles and videos. These were good representations of the CD but the 3rd single, acoustic ballad "More Than Words" is what caught everyone's attention. Top 40 hit, being played on the radio, getting attention from other stations that would never play their other music. People in their 60's and 70's were going into record stores looking for "the nice young guys that sing 'More Than Words'" and were denying it when the workers were bringing them a CD titled "Extreme II Pornograffitti". Yeah, I don't think they'd like the rest of the songs, except maybe "Hole Hearted", the 4th single and closest relation to the previous song they heard. Still acoustic but added bass and drums.
Melanie - Oh my goodness I remember when "More Than Words" was a thing in the UK! I had heard of Extreme before but suddenly everyone was talking about them and LOADS of people were annoyed that they had purchased the CD expecting more songs like that and of course were greeted by a WHOLE different sound!
Dave - As you might have gathered from some other music I mentioned before, I like going for a bit of the unknown bands. So, for my music, I was tuning into MTV for Headbanger's Ball. They had a little bit of everything there. The popular bands, new bands, older, lesser-known bands. More often than not, the brand-new stuff would be saved for the last videos of the night at 3:00 am. But it still gave you a chance to hear something fresh. Made quite a few discoveries there. A few of which, I actually liked more than the popular bands selling millions of records.
Dave - Today's world of YouTube and the internet is a whole different animal. You can follow the artist, or the label and constantly get new suggestions and videos popping up. Or YouTube could just offer suggestions based on other videos you've watched. How many times have you randomly clicked something because it "looked good" by the screencap? Another difference that I am seeing now is that they start promoting the new CD a lot earlier. Sometimes I see a new video without a new CD release date in sight and it ends up being almost a year before it actually comes out.
Dave - Since they start the groundwork so early, you often can hear 3-4 songs from the new record before its released. It gives you a much better overall feel of the sound they were going for with this release. I would hate when I would only hear one song and go buy the CD and be disappointed in the rest of it. It’s happened a few times. Now, I can hear a few choices first. Or if I wait until its released, the artist may put all the songs on their YouTube channel. (RANTING PREACHER MODE--I prefer to buy the CDs, yes, the actual physical CDs. Support the artists, people. Just because you can listen for free doesn't mean you should. The studio time, the equipment, production, etc all costs money. If you enjoy it that much, buy it. END RANT)
Melanie - Nice to see I am not the only one that gets ranty about things! Also it is a bit like DVDs - things might be streaming now but that doesn't guarantee they always will be!
Dave - I still don't think a lot of these artists are using the technology to their full advantage. You'd hear a lot of interviews and they say they went into the studio with 30-40 songs and picked the best 12 to go on the record. Where are the rest of the songs? If you aren't going to do anything with them, throw them up on YouTube or on the website. They could sell them cheap as digital downloads. Chances are they will write a bunch more before the next record comes out and these songs will never see the light of the day. There have been so many songs that were B-sides or demos that never made the actual CD that I ended up loving!
Melanie - Totally with you on that Dave! One of my all time favorite songs of all time is Anna Stesia by Prince which was only released on his LoveSexy album! Another is Love Song by Madonna and Prince which was only found on Madonna's Like A Prayer Album. So many great songs out there that should be shared!
Be sure to let us know how you find new music in the comments!
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