The Spinnaker guide to buying music

Dargan Thompson

By: Dargan Thompson, Assistant Features Editor

As the school year winds down, you may be looking for some fresh music to provide the soundtrack for your summer.

Although it’s easy to illegally download music, if you really like an album you should purchase it. You don’t have to pay 99 cents for every single song you listen to, but if you really like musicians, you should support them, so they can continue making the music you love, especially if the artists are not well-known.

While repeatedly listening to a song on Spotify or YouTube may work for you, it really doesn’t benefit the artist much. Musicians only receive a fraction of a penny when someone streams his or her music on Spotify. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use those kind of services at all. They are a great way to find and test out new music.

Here’s some advice for finding and buying the songs that you’ll be rocking out to all summer and after:
The first step, of course, is discovering some new bands. Maybe you have something you already really like and can find something similar using a website like Pandora. If your friends have good music taste, they will surely be happy to share the names of their favorite artists with you.
If you prefer to find music on your own, you can find out about new bands from websites, such as Pitchfork or Indierockcafe. Those two are geared toward independent music, but there are a whole host of music websites with lists of the best new artists and albums of different genres. With a little research, you should be able to make a list of several potential new favorites.
You have a limited budget, so you don’t want to just buy everything that sounds good. Take some time to listen to the albums through a website such as Grooveshark or Spotify, both of which you can sign up for free. Give the album a few listens, and decide if it is something you want in your iTunes.
Buying digital albums is the easiest and cheapest way to get music. ITunes and Amazon are good options. Amazon even offers 100 different mp3 albums for $5 each every month, which might even be a good place to start your music search if you’re on a budget.
The best place to buy music is directly from the band’s website or BandCamp. Amazon and iTunes take a cut of the sales, so buying directly means the artist makes more money from the transaction.

Email Dargan Thompson at [email protected]