Investment Into Artists

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La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
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Do you listen to a lot of different artists? Or listen to few, but know them intimately?

I've come to realise over the past few years for close to a decade I'd taken to listening to music the wrong way around. I'd been listening to millions of different artists, trying albums like tasting wine - not really experiencing them, just kind of having a cursory listen, maybe come back to the album once or twice, but rather than act on that initial interest put them on the backburner to pick up at another point. As a result I only had a few genuine favourite artists: The Strokes, Brand New, Elliott Smith, Weezer, a whole bunch of bands I liked but hadn't really explored to their full potential: Scale The Summit, Converge, Flying Lotus etc and then another tier of artists (which is a whole lot) I'd heard of or a few times but probably couldn't name an album or differentiate them from their peers: Mouth of the Architect, Women, Herbie Hancock etc.

More recently I've decided to keep re-investing in those bands I've heard and enjoyed to get maximum value out of them. There's also these latent nostalgic feelings I didn't realise were so profound until I'd actually started going back and listening to albums I'd known about and listened to in brief spurts for years. I first listened to Isis' Panopticon when I was about 16, maybe got through the LP twice - possibly explored their other masterpiece Oceanic once - and then shelved it for another 5 years. At that point I'd listen to it again once and then not listen to it for another 5 years. In 2020 I'd gone through it again, with a newfound appreciation for really wanting to re-visit and reanimate LP's I knew were quality, and made it a part of my permanent listening schedule, say once every 3 months, and noticed the payoff. I'd then concurrently listen to Oceanic, slowly rotate Wavering Radiant in, eventually add in In The Absence of Truth...

I'm discovering less, and re-discovering more, and I'm finding t's far more fulfilling listening this way. There's also plenty of people who listen to few artists, but really listen to them. I have mates who will exclusively listen to old rock music, mates who listen to just Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt etc but wont venture any further. To me that's pretty cloistered, and I'd get bored rotating through only a few bands. I've been listening to quite a lot of The National over the past few months, extracted as much as I can for the time being and don't feel any inclination to chuck one of their LP's on, but I'll eventually come back and enjoy them with hopefully even more perspective and insight and familiar feelings as i had really delving - especially into some of their albums I had put much time into.

What are your listening habits like?
 

Roobs321

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It is part of growing up, rediscovering and reacquainting and learning the value of depth and close, shifting understandings.

On sites like RYM there seems a FOMO culture where albums, even favourites, are only listened to once or twice before moving on, and some people will listen to 500-1000 albums in a year. I really don't get that approach, far too shallow, cheating yourself. I like rereading and rewatching, but relistening is really by far the most critical given the more background/multi-task friendly nature and relative brevity. I'll spend at least a week, if not a few, with a new album to me. It feels intimate that way, breaks through the noise, and through a couple revisit phases they accumulate circumstantial depth and grow with you in multiple listening contexts. Loving an album but only giving it a listen or two is a farce.

I also love that gradual feeling each time you dip further into a discography and understand the artist that little bit better. Several albums in it passes a threshold and they become very special to you. There is no rush, you might spend 20 years going through an artist's discography, it is good to space it out so each album has their own moment to shine. I'll sometimes go through an artist phase with old favourites where Ill gorge on a few of their albums for a month or so, then I'm done for a while.
 
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La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
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It is part of growing up, rediscovering and reacquainting and learning the value of depth and close, shifting understandings.

On sites like RYM there seems a FOMO culture where albums, even favourites, are only listened to once or twice before moving on, and some people will listen to 500-1000 albums in a year. I really don't get that approach, far too shallow, cheating yourself. I like rereading and rewatching, but relistening is really by far the most critical given the more background/multi-task friendly nature and relative brevity. I'll spend at least a week, if not a few, with a new album to me. It feels intimate that way, breaks through the noise, and through a couple revisit phases they accumulate circumstantial depth and grow with you in multiple listening contexts. Loving an album but only giving it a listen or two is a farce.

I also love that gradual feeling each time you dip further into a discography and understand the artist that little bit better. Several albums in it passes a threshold and they become very special to you. There is no rush, you might spend 20 years going through an artist's discography, it is good to space it out so each album has their own moment to shine. I'll sometimes go through an artist phase with old favourites where Ill gorge on a few of their albums for a month or so, then I'm done for a while.
I’ve been going through RYM (I much prefer SputnikMusic, more punk fans rating punk music, metal fans rating metal music rather than casual fans of every genre rating every album under the sun. Every LP on RYM site has some generic 3.5 rating) and it’s interesting see how many more albums they have archived over the past few decades as opposed to say the sixties and seventies, which many would consider the heyday of music - at least rock music.

I’d say there are as much quality music produced in recent times, but there aren’t as many artists with the kind of longevity/consistency as other ‘classic’ artists. That in itself creates a culture of celebrating the LP and keeping some extra distance from the artist themselves.

There definitely is a distinct tipping point with good LP’s and more broadly good artists though. It’s rare I’ll actively dislike an LP, but if I listen to it and it’s not immediately enjoyable but it’s interesting I know it usually means it needs more listens. It took me a few years to enjoy Blonde by Frank Ocean, despite enjoying Channel Orange, but when it hit it really hit. Obviously context and my own personal associations with the album played a big part, but at times in the past listening to it I thought maybe it was just not for me.

On an semi-unrelated note I doubt I’d be able to re-read something I hadn’t enjoyed previously, but perhaps that depends too? Sometimes the writing will be good but the story and/or subtext won’t be immediate, and perhaps those are the kinds of novels I should be looking to have another go at.
 

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I find I tend to get into certain genres for a period of time. Went on a French electronica kick recently then spent some time on 80s post punk. Devour a bunch of songs from that style, explore similar artists etc rather than listen to full albums.

I also tend to move on fairly quickly. I find that if I listen to something too often in a short space of time it loses its impact on me. Whereas if I leave it be for a while between listens it retains its freshness.

Perhaps it's to do with the way music can be consumed now. When I was younger I was an album listener. I bought a lot of cds and had some older albums on vinyl. So albums were what I had access to. Now individual songs are easy to download so that's what I do. You can constantly roll onto new stuff. It's easy to disappear down a youtube rabbit hole for instance.

Of my friends the ones who are musicians and have a greater appreciation for stuff that goes over my head (key changes and the like) tend to be album listeners. I'm sure they have deeper attachment to what they hear ("I pick up something new each time I listen to it") whereas my taste is more surface level - what grabs me instantly.

Everyone's different I guess.
 

Roobs321

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I’ve been going through RYM (I much prefer SputnikMusic, more punk fans rating punk music, metal fans rating metal music rather than casual fans of every genre rating every album under the sun. Every LP on RYM site has some generic 3.5 rating) and it’s interesting see how many more albums they have archived over the past few decades.

On an semi-unrelated note I doubt I’d be able to re-read something I hadn’t enjoyed previously, but perhaps that depends too? Sometimes the writing will be good but the story and/or subtext won’t be immediate, and perhaps those are the kinds of novels I should be looking to have another go at.
Yes, rereading is a bit different. I feel that people that read closely (i.e. not necessarily for plot) should be able to fully grasp general texts by a certain age (say 25+). I'll reread books and get a little more out of it, but not rereading to give it another chance necessarily. I rarely find myself disliking things I've read. I have reread a few things from school days (curriculum & personal) and developed a much greater appreciation for them (e.g. Shakespeare, Patrick O'Brian, poets, some genre fiction, etc.). I think when young you don't realise how much richness you might be missing (even if you really enjoy it), but by a certain age you are able to milk it for all it is worth (yet still find more everytime you revisit it).

I've used SputnikMusic in the past. I do follow other websites for specific genres, particularly electronic and local Australian which both aren't catalogued sufficiently on RYM. I find myself adding and advocating for a lot of releases from those margins on RYM because the average active user is a 15-21 American male.

Yes, with social cataloguing sites like Letterboxd, RYM, Goodreads/LibraryThing etc. I don't really care much about the ratings or charts, you take them with a pinch of salt (especially when they reach a normie-saturation threshold, which Letterboxd did in the mid-late 10s), but the other features of the site like extensive cataloguing, friend ratings and community activity and specialist listmaking prove useful.
 

slashin_velvet

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When I find things I like, I really invest in them. I reckon I've listened to the same two albums exclusively all week, and they're both new (under month old).

I think I don't give albums a lot of chances to convince me....I either like it pretty quickly or I move on.

I have artists that I just expect to like - Mike Kinsella and Mariusz Duda are two artists where I'll listen to everything they touch, and usually enjoy it.

One tip for re-enjoying an album is to try different speakers/headphones or listen in a different setting....you'll probably notice different instrumentation and get something different out of it.
 

SSwans2011

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I prefer to scour Bandcamp than use RYM ratings/charts to dictate what I listen to. If I have no preconceived biases about whether something is meant to be good or not, I find it's pretty easy to tell quite quickly if I'm into something.

I do like consuming heaps of music, and have found personally it helps me really appreciate good albums. If I like an album, I tend to have no problem returning to it, and I typically use RYM or an Excel spreadsheet I sometimes use to catalogue sh*t as a reminder more than anything else.
 

Schauermann

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Listen to lots of different stuff. Only stuff I own physically. Lots of gigs as well (ok, not so much atm). Actually think I have become more open minded and also more focussed on the stuff I really like at the same time over the years.
 

No eye deer

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I’ve found that back in the day, when I spent my hard earned on a physical copy of something, I invested way more in it. Spent the bucks, better give it a chance. So many good albums are growers.
These days with downloads, it’s easy to give something a spin, and if it doesn’t immediately grab me, I tend to move on.
I feel like I’m missing out on so much.
 

revo333

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I’ve found that back in the day, when I spent my hard earned on a physical copy of something, I invested way more in it. Spent the bucks, better give it a chance. So many good albums are growers.
My experience as well, my favourite albums 20 years ago I still know inside out while my favourite albums from 5 years ago there are 3-4 songs I tend to ignore.

I'm always looking for new artists to get into, a lot of bands I got into 10 years ago are now making albums I can't get into.

The best feeling in music for me is hearing the next big thing before anyone else and the feeling you get from hearing a great new song for the first time.
 

Dubrovnik

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Sep 4, 2020
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Do you listen to a lot of different artists? Or listen to few, but know them intimately?

I've come to realise over the past few years for close to a decade I'd taken to listening to music the wrong way around. I'd been listening to millions of different artists, trying albums like tasting wine - not really experiencing them, just kind of having a cursory listen, maybe come back to the album once or twice, but rather than act on that initial interest put them on the backburner to pick up at another point. As a result I only had a few genuine favourite artists: The Strokes, Brand New, Elliott Smith, Weezer, a whole bunch of bands I liked but hadn't really explored to their full potential: Scale The Summit, Converge, Flying Lotus etc and then another tier of artists (which is a whole lot) I'd heard of or a few times but probably couldn't name an album or differentiate them from their peers: Mouth of the Architect, Women, Herbie Hancock etc.

More recently I've decided to keep re-investing in those bands I've heard and enjoyed to get maximum value out of them. There's also these latent nostalgic feelings I didn't realise were so profound until I'd actually started going back and listening to albums I'd known about and listened to in brief spurts for years. I first listened to Isis' Panopticon when I was about 16, maybe got through the LP twice - possibly explored their other masterpiece Oceanic once - and then shelved it for another 5 years. At that point I'd listen to it again once and then not listen to it for another 5 years. In 2020 I'd gone through it again, with a newfound appreciation for really wanting to re-visit and reanimate LP's I knew were quality, and made it a part of my permanent listening schedule, say once every 3 months, and noticed the payoff. I'd then concurrently listen to Oceanic, slowly rotate Wavering Radiant in, eventually add in In The Absence of Truth...

I'm discovering less, and re-discovering more, and I'm finding t's far more fulfilling listening this way. There's also plenty of people who listen to few artists, but really listen to them. I have mates who will exclusively listen to old rock music, mates who listen to just Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt etc but wont venture any further. To me that's pretty cloistered, and I'd get bored rotating through only a few bands. I've been listening to quite a lot of The National over the past few months, extracted as much as I can for the time being and don't feel any inclination to chuck one of their LP's on, but I'll eventually come back and enjoy them with hopefully even more perspective and insight and familiar feelings as i had really delving - especially into some of their albums I had put much time into.

What are your listening habits like?
Agree.

But it's pretty obvious, and not just in music, but every form really.

Quality not quality.
Mindful appreciation.
Realising you're actually discovering a higher amount of artists through the slower process in the long run.
 

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Dubrovnik

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I've used SputnikMusic in the past. I do follow other websites for specific genres, particularly electronic and local Australian which both aren't catalogued sufficiently on RYM. I find myself adding and advocating for a lot of releases from those margins on RYM because the average active user is a 15-21 American male.
I really like RYM, it's had a lot of positives for me TBH.

Agree with your take and there's so many Australian artists (and others) not in the system, but I don't really see it as a negative criticism on the site itself.

The problem I've come across is the almost popularity contest style of teenagers dropping albums like they're a pill and trying to make their history/ratings/reviews look on trend etc. It's pretty jarring to read.

Lots of positives though, and whilst the active age might be 15-21 American, there is a hell of a lot of others that balance out the quality.
 

SSwans2011

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I really like RYM, it's had a lot of positives for me TBH.

Agree with your take and there's so many Australian artists (and others) not in the system, but I don't really see it as a negative criticism on the site itself.

The problem I've come across is the almost popularity contest style of teenagers dropping albums like they're a pill and trying to make their history/ratings/reviews look on trend etc. It's pretty jarring to read.

Lots of positives though, and whilst the active age might be 15-21 American, there is a hell of a lot of others that balance out the quality.
IMO the best feature is the recommendations on album pages. That alone makes a subscription very much worth it.
 

HahnPremium

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Thoughtful OP.
Bastardising a Lennon quote
"Music is what happpens to you while youre busy making other plans"
Stages of life.
A subjegated appetite for something new.
A reassuring familiar reach into the back pocket of the past.
And Birthdays, age and limiting of social parameters and musical exposures due to such.
For me at least, its a moveable feast.
Mood dictates above all.
 

dumb

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I guess mine is a hybrid approach, doing plenty of that shallow tasting and from that I reinvest in certain artists.

This applies to genres as well. I developed a taste for shoegaze and some dreampop while still investing most of my usual time in death metal and black metal, I followed where they overlap backwards.

Musical taste is probably something that can be drawn like a mind map with links not just from music but other parts of culture.

I got into both pink floyd and classical music as a whole while getting stoned watching 'the wall' and 'shine', respectively. I need those kind of incidental dalliances to build my taste - it's a kind of state of mind thing. I promised myself I would become more eclectic, spent time getting into jazz, other sh*t.

There's tasty music to be had in lots of ways and I don't want to miss out. Time is the problem, and unfortunately that toe-dipping is the only way I'll get to experience some of it if I also want to remain a functioning member of society with proper hygiene.
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
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I guess mine is a hybrid approach, doing plenty of that shallow tasting and from that I reinvest in certain artists.

This applies to genres as well. I developed a taste for shoegaze and some dreampop while still investing most of my usual time in death metal and black metal, I followed where they overlap backwards.

Musical taste is probably something that can be drawn like a mind map with links not just from music but other parts of culture.

I got into both pink floyd and classical music as a whole while getting stoned watching 'the wall' and 'shine', respectively. I need those kind of incidental dalliances to build my taste - it's a kind of state of mind thing. I promised myself I would become more eclectic, spent time getting into jazz, other sh*t.

There's tasty music to be had in lots of ways and I don't want to miss out. Time is the problem, and unfortunately that toe-dipping is the only way I'll get to experience some of it if I also want to remain a functioning member of society with proper hygiene.
I think some of these happy accidents are also a product of the times we live in. You're constantly getting suggestions from Youtube and Facebook pointing you in some direction or other, but obviously built on years of stored data, circumstance and overlapping interests.

I was reading an interview with Panopticon not too long ago and he was talking about his favourite band, Death, who'd I'd heard of and was aware was one of the premier death metal bands of all time, but hadn't yet explored. A week later I was watching a few Slayer clips on Youtube and a live Death clip came up (what a sentence) as a suggestion so naturally my interest gravitated towards watching that.

Spotify streamlines things quite a bit too, with a constant store of playlists a 'similar artist' profiles to keep exploring. Taking a step back and watching the evolution of my own taste(s) is probably also another reason why listening to music is so enjoyable.
 

slashin_velvet

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 5, 2011
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I’ve found that back in the day, when I spent my hard earned on a physical copy of something, I invested way more in it. Spent the bucks, better give it a chance. So many good albums are growers.
These days with downloads, it’s easy to give something a spin, and if it doesn’t immediately grab me, I tend to move on.
I feel like I’m missing out on so much.
Bit of a double edged sword. Easier to skip past and miss things, but also way more opportunity to find new interesting stuff
 

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