May 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm

How To Collect Music in These Overwhelming Times

collect music 2013

This rorqual whale has no trouble collecting fish and crustaceans by filtering them out of the sea. Music fans are not as lucky, when it comes to filtering music out of the internet, and can risk drowning in sound.

Our pal Sean Adams of the music reviews and community site Drowned In Sound picked up on our frustration about how hard it is to collect music these days, even as we are quite figuratively “drowning in sound.”

Music is everywhere, and yet, perversely, it’s harder to collect.

Now, the DiS community is talking about how they stop the music they like from getting away. (Indeed, the community feels the same way, having just picked the fictional music-collecting app we invented as the one they most want to see made  in a recent poll.)

This is valuable intelligence for music fans. We collated it into a handy list below, paraphrasing for uniformity and brevity.

So far, here’s how these fans say they are collecting music, in case you’re looking for some new tricks to help you keep the stuff you like when it’s spread out across the cloud, various hard drives, computers, smartphones, tablets, physical media, mobile apps, streaming radio, video, radio, television, restaurants, bars, discos, advertisements, and so on.

Sean’s tips:

Look at to see what you scrobbled from all over the place (how to do that).

Bookmark your YouTube Likes page. Tto find those, put your YouTube username here:

Try the Fluence app (except you can’t because it’s not out yet).

Make “listen to” playlists. (He probably means in iTunes or something, because music writers get a lot of download links in their email accounts; however, you can do the same thing in Deezer, MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody, Spotify, YouTube, or whatever other on-demand music service you prefer.)

Go to iTunes > Recently Added

Set reminders and email yourself the names of things you need to listen to.

Rdio’s “Add To Collection” feature

Check out Pitchify and harvest stuff from there.

Leave so many tabs open with stuff to stream that your computer freaks out, which you don’t like, so you decide to ask your readers for ideas, which leads us to…

DiS Readers’ tips in order of current popularity in the forum there:

Put everything you like into iTunes or Spotify and then only listen to those.

Keep a text list (this tactic was submitted multiple times, which speaks to the seriousness of the problem).

Buy one vinyl record per week, and listen to those. Decide which ones to buy with SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube.

Keep a list on your phone of bands that your friends mention in real life.

Bookmark the streams you want to check out, and work your way through those, buying or illegally downloading the  ones you like.

Work at a record store, and put the interesting releases in a pile to listen to.

Keep and revise a best-of-the-year playlist on an ongoing basis.

Ignore Spotify and “random links,” buy the stuff you love on CD, and the stuff you like on MP3, and then listen to those.

Only listen to entire albums.

Count on your brain to remember the stuff you care about, and if you forget it, it probably wasn’t important enough.

Keep a wishlist on

Check out this playlist of new releases within Spotify each week, and star or add to a playlist the stuff you like.

“1) Drag Spotify, SoundCloud, Deezer, iTunes, Grooveshark, etc. links into a monthly playlist in Tomahawk (see, 2) Listen to monthly playlist of new stuff. 3) Curate a playlist of the best songs from #2.”

Preview music on Amazon and buy it if it’s good.

Write it down on an actual notebook in your back pocket.

Make a “to do” list in Spotify or another on-demand playlist.

Skitter around on YouTube and Bandcamp and hope for the best.

Keep four “rolling playlists” for 2013 in an on-demand music service, pay for the mobile version, and set them to sync to offline: for new albums, electronica, pop, and favorites from the other three.

Read about an album, and if the article’s good, turn the album into a Spotify playlist or drop it into YouTube favorites. If it’s good, buy it on MP3 or vinyl.

Ignore everything except for two albums at a time until you’ve totally digested them.

Delete all your Spotify playlists and start over with just three: for current favorite albums (no more than five), for music to check out, and for permanent favorites. Buy the very best stuff on MP3.

Again, we have paraphrased the above from Drowned in Sound, simply because there are so many good ideas in there and they deserve to be spread around as far as possible.

Speaking of Drowned In Sound, Adams says “traffic has gone crazy” on the the site he founded in ’98 as an email fanzine, with nearly 10 million visits in 2013 and 1.2 million unique visitors (as of April 25).

Image courtesy of