Have you ever gone to YouTube to watch just one video, but then end-up clicking the related videos, then watch some of those videos related videos, and so on and before you know it it's early in the morning and you should've gone to bed hours ago? I've done this several times, particularly on cute animal videos; burying my browser in tabs of panda/kitten/chinchilla vids until I realize the activity is adding nothing of real value to my life and I break-away from the computer screen in an ambivalent haze of squeeing and depression.
Around the time of my last blog post (in which I rant against the annoyances of buying music in my little corner of the world where not all the musicians I like actually sell their music to), I managed to bury myself once again in YouTube videos, not of cute animals doing cute things, but of small-time musicians making wonderful music.
It started with a cover of Moon River which I've sent to others before as my favourite rendition of the song. I was at work that day and had several other songs I liked in tabs to play in the background when one finished, but with the 5 or so songs that were there, listening to them over and over just wasn't cutting it any more. So, I took a chance on one of the related videos (one with a very strong 'like' percentage which I could see thanks to the YTshowRating extension), and thus started my YouTube music journey into what commenters had dubbed, 'the beautiful side of YouTube'.
I was enthralled by the song almost as soon as it began, getting close to zero work done in the process, and when it finished I clicked on maybe another 2 related videos, with similar results. Knowing I'd get no work done if I continued at this pace, I stopped clicking related videos but saved the links so I could continue my journey of this side of YouTube when I got home.
It's been a long time since I actually put some soft of effort into artist discovery - searching for new music that I like and then following-up with the bands to see what they're up to. The last time I did anything of the sort was in 2005 when I was still in university, doing an A-to-Z of PureVolume for the genres that I liked. It was that run that caused me to discover bands like 30 Seconds to Mars and Paramore, and a whole lot of lesser-known names/bands , most of which unfortunately didn't last many more years after I found them.
I was enjoying the whole YouTube artist discovery that night after work, but it was quite slow going: switching between tabs and starting a new song was a manual process, and not all related videos were as related as I'd like. Often I'd find a branch that led to different genres, mostly electronic music for some reason.
So it was slow going until 2 days later when Spotify became available in New Zealand.
I joined immediately and was surprised that most of the bands I had found in my YouTube music journey were on Spotify. I threw them all into a playlist appropriately titled YouTube music journey, clicked the playlist radio button (starts an endless playlist of songs from artists in my playlist, and who are similar to those in my playlist), and I was set: automatic artist discovery, songs I like before I even know I like them, it was bliss.
I've pretty much replaced the mp3 player I bring to work with Spotify, and I even signed-up for the free month of premium membership. That freebie expires soon, and I'm kinda torn about continuing it. I really like what it's added to my music collection and the bands that it has introduced me to - it's even helped me find what's become of the bands that split-up since the PureVolume days, and one time it threw in a Katy Perry song that I never heard of but ended-up liking anyway (Spotify knows my music tastes better than I do). Most of the price of the premium membership goes towards being able to play your songs on-the-go or to keep them on all your mobile devices. With me still stuck on a dumbphone though, the price of continuing doesn't seem to be worth it.
If anything it's just invigorated my search for a smartphone :D