Whilst attempting to balance respectable academic and social lives, many things fall by the wayside; hygiene, waistlines, and innocence being among them. What shouldn’t go the way of the dodo, however, is one’s thirst for new music. Sans the few people who make it their utmost priority to stay current, college folks don’t really keep up with what’s going on in the music world. It baffles me how people never seem to tire of Sir Mix-A-Lot, Rhianna, and Ke$ha. Keeping up with the music scene isn’t very difficult or time consuming, one just has to know where to look and listen.
The best way to discover new music with minimal effort is via college radio stations. Unlike regular radio stations that play the same 12 songs ad nauseum, college stations play the most eclectic variety of music imaginable. The stations are usually divided into 1-2 hour sets that are filled with music from specific genres and sub genres. The people who staff these stations are, for the most part, music geeks. They are type of people who scour an albums liner notes while silently nodding in recognition of every other producer, sound engineer and uncredited intern. These knowledgeable people compile interesting/obscure/unreleased songs and then spoon feed the songs to the listener. There is a great bounty to be reaped if you tune into their sets instead of your usual iTunes mix. In 2007 or so many college stations started getting pulled from the airwaves and became accessible only via online streams. This means you can now listen to just about any university’s station. I recommend starting with your own first though, as they could use the support. A quick online search should be all that’s needed to find it.
While college radio stations are great for hearing different tunes, the best way to really understand what’s going on in the scene is via written publications. Printed publications/magazines do the hard work of presenting music in a tangible, black and white way. A few good options are NME, Fader, Paste, and Billboard magazines. If you don’t have the funds for magazines, you could always learn about new bands though websites such as Pitchfork, Drowned in Sound, and Gorillla vs. Bear. There are also music engines that catalog what you’re listening to and recommend artists that are similar to the ones you enjoy. Pandora and last.fm do a decent job at recommending less established artists.
As you can see there are many quick and easy ways to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the music world. With minimal effort you’ll become the person everyone turns to when they grow sick and tired of the usual.
Ricky Ruthe is a Florida raised 20-something living in Brooklyn working as a Hospital Administrator. He’s an NYU grad student and an aulum of Morehouse College. As a former dental student/international aid worker/community organizer, he’s been all over the place. He is fond of gummy worms, social justice, indie music and policy. When not writing, Ricky can be found withering away in a cubical, running with his dog spot, or eating his way through the culinary delights of the world.