Fans Wanted!

We live in a world where fans are in high demand.  There is so much neglected art that needs to be discovered, and your duty as a fan is to discover new work and share it.  It’s how social networking works.

I was looking at the new album releases in Rdio and I noticed that many of the albums had not been listened to all all.  They had 0 plays, and thus no fans.  That made me feel sad for those artists.  Lady Gaga has legions of fans, and I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve her fans, but I think some of her devoted following should spend some of their time listening to new artists who have none.  Consider it a form of artistic charity.  It takes so little to become a patron of the arts, just love and attention.

It’s amazing how many new albums come out every week.  And if you subscribe to a subscription music service you can listen to them all for just $4.99 a month.  So, it would cost you almost nothing to be generous and play a few albums that are going without listeners.  We are all too addicted to success.  We want to hear the top albums of the week – but what if some of those CDs that never make it even to the bottom of a chart have good tunes on them?  Don’t they deserve to be heard?

And think about all those selfish baby boomers who play the same old hits from the sixties over and over again.  Wouldn’t they benefit from hearing something new?  So I say to you, become a fan of some up-and-coming band or singer.  I’m listening to Costello Music by The Fratellis who’ve gotten 11,664 plays on Rdio.  They really don’t seem all that different from a British Invasion band in the 60s.  But eleven thousand plays means they have a lot of fans.  There are 50+ pages of new CDs on Rdio and most of them have no plays at all.

It used to be you had to buy albums to become a fan, but that’s no longer true.  For $4.99 a month you can listen to dozens of new albums every week from one of many subscription music services.  And you might be surprised by the rewards of becoming a fan and discovering a new group.  I’m listening to The Naked and Famous new album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, and it makes me feel young again.  It has a wonderful 80s pop feel to it, so it’s both nostalgic and energetic.  It’s more popular than the last album, with 132,155 plays.  They are famous by Rdio standards, but they should become more famous.

I’m now listening to a very nice song now, “One Hand Loves the Other” by Bodies of Water off of Twist Again.  It reminds me of Judy Collins.  It’s only had 256 listeners.  It deserves way more fans than that.  As I page through the new releases I find albums with fewer and fewer listeners.  Natalie Walker only has 113 for her album Spark.  If you’re an old fart baby boomer and don’t like modern pop like Lady Gaga you might find Walker worthy of your fan attention.

With little effort I found three very enjoyable albums tonight by people I never heard before.  In the old days of CDs that would have cost me $45-55, but it’s just part of my $4.99 monthly fee on Rdio.  I figure if I’m going to get such a bargain I have to do my part and try several new CDs every week and help promote new artists.  Because Rdio is built around social networking, playing an album encourages other people to play it too.  Playing a song produces ripples.  If I play an album enough other people in my network will see it and maybe give it a try too.  And then people in their network will see them playing, and hopefully we help the artist find more fans.

I like myself better when I’m discovering new music.  I still love my old favorites songs that I’ve been playing for almost fifty years, but I don’t want to be trapped in my past.  Finding new music makes me feel younger.  I know I’m not, but my mind feels younger as long as I’m still discover new art.  There are rewards to be a new music fan.

JWH – 6/21/11

5 thoughts on “Fans Wanted!”

  1. I am happy that you dig on your subscription based music, but for me that is just not an option, me I want to own my media, be it books, music or movies. I just don’t understand how people trust a corporation to keep their possessions for them.

    For me nothing beats the physical object, that is ownership. If I don’t have the object then I am merely renting and worse trusting in someone else’s control over what I can and cannot have.

    Perhaps it is the fact that I have so few possessions and thus the ones I have are so very dear to me.

    Either way, glad you are happy, but I think you are making a mistake in trusting someone else to have control over your media.

    1. I understand this Craig, everyone is different, and I don’t expect them to be like me, so I understand why you wouldn’t like the rental model of art.

      I think for some people there is a deep human desire to own what we love, to cherish it, to want to keep it forever. So I don’t expect everyone to go the rental route. Most people I know have a very small collection of music which they love. They don’t feel the need to always find new stuff. And maybe for them, their few musical loves are all the more special.

      I also know people who are collectors. And I think that’s another natural human condition. I know people who have filled every room of their house with books or LPs, or comics, or paintings, or whatever they collect. These people won’t like rental systems either. This might be a kind of hording instinct, or a love of collecting. That’s why I think book and music publishing on physical formats will never go out of fashion.

      I’m the kind of person that likes to find new stuff to consume. I’m more of a drug addict personality when it comes to music, books, movies, etc. I don’t need to own stuff, but I do need a constant influx of new highs. Services like Netflix or Rdio help me afford my addictions.

  2. in way, only listening to the oldies is like engaging in confirmation bias

    we need to explore new and novel to prevent from fossilizing and being artistically dishonest

    1. That’s true. That’s why I like subscription music – new music is available every week, dozens of albums. It’s like keeping a pulse on the musical times.

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