August 25, 2007

iTunes is My Only Source for New Music

With radio losing much of its value, thanks to the homogeneity of music from station to station, I simply don't discover new music while I'm in the car or listening at home the way I once did. Instead, the iTunes Music Store is my only source of new songs and albums from artists I already know well and new artists I'm just now getting to know.

While the total offerings on iTunes were once quite light, especially for those of us who don't worship Top 40 and R&B, the last few years have seen an explosion of available tracks. Now, I can safely assume my favorite bands' latest releases will be there, and they, in turn will lead me to similar music from other artists.

iTunes helps this process along in a few ways, most notably with "My Alerts", which tracks my favorite artists, and lets me know when new songs are out. Secondly, there is the "Listeners Also Bought" feature, which tells me that other people with similar tastes to mine also bought other albums. Sometimes, I may already have those albums, and other times, I'm delighted to find somebody I've never heard before. Additionally, should I hit a wall there, I can always go to the genre's main page (i.e. Electronic) and find new releases that 30 seconds later, just may become new downloads.

Some of my most recent purchases I'm most pleased with include:

Paul Van Dyk / In Between

Paul Van Dyk is one of the world's best DJs, period. This album marks his return to the fore, after a few years lower on my list. I simply can't get enough of the song Talk In Grey, and have been known to listen to it a second time just after it's been completed...

Ulrich Schnauss / Goodbye

Some of the best downtempo, ambient electronic music out there. I first discovered Ulrich Schauss thanks to Sasha's sampling of his work on a few tracks. A few iTunes searches later, and Ulrich Schnauss has himself risen to the top of my most listened to artists out there. His work is beyond listenable, and is the perfect complement to more traditional fast-paced techno.

The Chemical Brothers / We Are the Night

When I'm not in the mood for the calming forces of Ulrich Schnauss and want great beats to tap my feet and bob to, The Chemical Brothers sure know how to fit that need. My favorite off the new album? A track titled Burst Generator. Just outstanding.

Based on the above three albums, can you outdo iTunes and give some strong recommendations? Do you even buy in a "record store" any more?