Lala was recently bought by Apple to ideally help boost their iTunes platform (though there have been no new announcements about any incorporations to the iTunes platform). The deal was most certainly made to kill competition and the end result has finally reached me and all end consumers. As of May 31, 2010 I will receive $275 in iTunes credit because of the sheer volume of $1.00 web albums I bought over the past 15 months. I will certainly need it to rebuild my playlists, all of which I had to cut & paste into a spreadsheet like the true anal music collector I am - nothing left behind, no meticulous playlist building efforts lost.
So...moving on! I have decided to put my chips down for Grooveshark now - http://listen.grooveshark.com
Grooveshark is similar to Lala; you can listen to any song for free. It also has elements of Pandora in that you can build your own internet radio station based on artists you like and they will find similar songs to expand your horizons. Also like Lala, you can tap into anyone's collection to discover new music and build a community. It is free to sign up though they have a $25 annual fee for an enhanced platform that gets rid of the ads. I am not yet sure it is worth it because I have had no trouble using the free version so far. Grooveshark seems to be climbing the ranks of sites to find new music, stream music all the time and find fellow music heads around the world. 50 to 60 million songs are downloaded everyday and since last year their audience was growing 2-3% daily (the source: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/musicians-find-fans-at-grooveshark-artists/)
While I continue to figure out how I can build playlists to keep feeding all of you with new songs, I am going to start suggesting and tagging all of the many artists' web sites that stream their new albums before they come out, fellow bloggers that put up free songs and mp3s, RCRD LBL and Pitchfork.com for the newest music and remixes (although the latter also used Lala so we shall see what they offer).
Here is my first find for all of you - Band of Horses is streaming their new album Infinite Arms on their web site now before it officially comes out on May 18th. Visit their web site to listen; they organized the songs into a really cool picture pinwheel that rotate like a slideshow. I saw them at the New Orleans Jazzfest recently and their new songs sounded great live, particularly Compliments. For those in and around NYC, they are playing the Williamsburg Waterfront with Grizzly Bear on Sunday, June 20th and there are actually still tickets available so go get them: http://www.freewilliamsburg.com/h2oshows/
I am about to jump into wedding attendee season but I promise to write soon - maybe even collect my favorite songs to hear at a wedding reception and make a playlist? Comment/e-mail me your favorites for consideration!