Welcome to Dean Cheesman's Blog

So it turns out that I'm one of those people who only posts once or twice a month, but I do read a ton of blogs every day and I "share" the posts I like. So be sure to check out my "shared items" on the right side of the blog. Also, be sure to check out what music i'm listening to on my last.fm page and feel free to click the chat link to talk to me. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

4 Steps to discovering new music using Firefox, iTunes, and Last.FM

I can't stand the thought of trolling through hundreds of myspace pages or iTunes directories to sample music from everyone possible to discover something new. I want to have music brought to me that has already been tailored to my taste. None of this live streaming from the internet crap, I want something that can look at what I actually listen to and give me actual music files to download.

Over the past couple years I have developed a simple method to do this which combines online services, browser plugins, and iTunes.

Step 1.
Find music blogs that cater to your taste and add them to an online feed reader.

Use services like hype machine or google blog search to find blogs that have covered your favorite bands. I would suggest searching with bands you like who you feel are lesser known. This helps avoid blogs that cover wide ranges of music types. Another important note is to find blogs that post .mp3 files directly on their blog posts.

Add these blog feeds to a browser-based feed reader. I have been using Google Reader for quite a while and love it. (If you don't know what a feed reader is check out this tour or Google Reader)

Step 2.
Sign up for a Last.fm account and download GimmeSomeTune or similar app.

An app like GimmeSomeTune will upload your listening data from your iTunes library to Last.fm's database.

Not only does last.fm store your listening data, but it will also suggest music for you to listen to. I don't particularly enjoy listening to music through my browser so I don't use much of this. Instead there is also a section that has recommended songs that are free to download. Instead of going to check this all the time I add the RSS feed for this page to my Google Reader as well.

Step 3.
Use the Downloadthemall plugin for Firefox to get all songs from the blogs/feeds.

Since the Last.FM free .mp3 feed and most music bloggers' articles will link directly to .mp3 files I can use the DownloadThemAll plugin in Firefox to download every music file linked on a page. This works great when using google reader. I open up my music section and scroll through a couple weeks of time to load all the info into the browser and then run DownLoadThem all to grab all the music from the page.

Step 4.
Import files to Itunes and use Smart Playlists to filter out the best downloads

After importing all of the music into iTunes I refine the music using Genius playlist. For more on how I do this read my previous article on making a Genius Discovery Playlist.

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