Music Observation

For the past week I’ve been listening to the XM Radio Internet streams — mostly because of two reasons. One is that I have them and they’re free. The second reason is a bit more involved. It’s mostly because I’ve grown bored of my music collection.

Now, it’s not for a lack of selection — I have almost 30,000 tracks in iTunes. But, since it’s a varied collection that includes not just music, but also audio books, comedy, and other random tracks, I really can’t just hit shuffle on the collection and have something enjoyable to listen to. Instead, I have a playlist that I periodically drop tunes into that is also synced to the iPod.

But, over the past couple of years, that collection of tunes has grown “stale”. Yes, I still like the songs in there. But, having them play in the background on shuffle isn’t as satisfying as it used to be. Which is why I’ve been listening to the online streams.

Now, a big problem over the past few years is that I really can’t stand commercial FM radio anymore. Between the pathetic ad to music ratio, the annoying DJs, and the small percentage of music I actually like, it’s really a chore to listen to FM. There are a couple of stations in the Boston area that I’ve found bearable — Mike FM and some of the smaller college stations as well. But even those stations still end up annoying me more than I would like.

So, back to the online stream — what makes it more appealing to me? One thing that I’ve noticed is that I’m being re-introduced to songs I had forgotten about. Yes, this would happen on FM in the car as well, but due to the commercial free aspect of it, I get more songs to listen to. Also, as a bonus, I get the name of the song, artist, and album that I can use to replenish my master playlist that had gotten stale.

In an earlier post, my friend Dan likened paying for radio the same as paying for bottle water. But, sometimes it pays to pay for the bottled water. Sometimes the junk that you get from the tap has just bogged you down so much that it helps to refresh a bit with something better.


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