Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Question of the Week: How do you consume your music?

You know what I mean!!!!!

A few years ago, I mentioned “Let It Rock” by Bon Jovi on Facebook, because it happened to come on my iPod earlier in the day. A friend of mine said he hadn’t heard that in years even though he owned Slippery When Wet, and it made me curious about how people listen to their music. I’m not as obsessive about music as some people are, but I’m more obsessive than others. I like music, certainly, and I put almost everything I own on my iPod and now my phone. I almost only listen to music in the car, because usually when I’m at home, my wife is working and I don’t want to bother her. I still buy physical compact discs, because, like comics, I like the physical objects, but I’m certainly not adverse to getting something only digitally. I haven’t transferred my cassette tapes to digital, so every so often, I drag out the old boom box that has a tape player and put one in.

I don’t listen to Spotify or any other music service, and I rarely listen to the radio. I have Sirius XM in one car, and whenever I think I should cancel it, I don’t, even though it’s almost completely frivolous on my part. But then, every once in a while, I just want to listen to some of the channels. It’s silly, but I do. I have a few channels programmed in, and I flip around. But I don’t do that very often.

I don’t tend to find a lot of new music, which is fine with me. A lot of the bands I like are still releasing albums, and I’m good – as I noted above, I’m not obsessive about music. Most of the new bands I’ve found on my own in the past decade come from soundtracks on television shows – there is some cool music being used as outros or just in the body of the show itself, and if I hear something neat, I try to look it up. I haven’t dived into Puscifer as much as I should, but I know them because I heard a few of their songs in episodes of Yellowstone, I believe. I’m certainly not averse to bands I’ve never heard before, and I’ll get some occasionally, but it’s just difficult when you don’t devote yourself so much to music.

My point with my friend was: If you liked something for years, why don’t you listen to it anymore? I hear hair metal from the 1980s all the time, because it’s on my phone and I listen to it on “random” all the time (I know I could do playlists, but I never have). So I might get “Let It Rock” and then immediately get “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera (yes indeed!) and then “Kiev” by Renaissance and then “Fade to Black” by Metallica and then “Get Used to Me” by Chuck D and then “Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me” by the Pipettes. You just never know! I have a CD player in the car, so sometimes I’ll just play CDs. But I don’t “move on” from things I liked in the past, because why would I? So I’m always puzzled by people who say they used to love something but haven’t heard it in years. Don’t we have technology to remedy that? How do those people listen to their music? Do they listen to music? It beats me.

But, as I noted, I’m still curious. So my Question is: How do you consume your music? Do you listen to music? What do you do in the car if you don’t listen to music? Audio books? (Gasp) Silence? Let me know!!!!!


  1. Bright-Raven

    Mostly when home I listen to YouTube videos in the background; sometimes this leads me to buy CDs, sometimes not. Sometimes I go to my LCS / Record store and get old CDs and cassettes. Or when I’m away from my computer, I watch Sirius XM radio stations on my Dish TV (which is basically a black screen with the music playing) – mostly 50s to 80s rock, 50-80s country. Maybe some other stuff here and there when I’m in the mood for it. On the road, it’s usually CDs. I am a dinosaur when it comes to digital music / digital anything.

  2. Edo Bosnar

    Don’t listen to music as much as I used to (over the past almost 10 years, podcasts have really pushed out music). When I do, though, I listen to albums or playlists of individual songs on my phone that are ripped off of my CDs. When I’m in the car, on shorter trips like grocery runs I just listen to the radio – there’s still a few good stations here in Zagreb (on longer drives I usually load a few podcasts onto a flashdrive).

      1. Edo Bosnar

        On the question of podcasts, I listen to quite a few different types that focus on news/current affairs stuff, history, science, pop culture and comics, among other things. And the shows I listen to the most have changed over the years (e.g., an early favorite must-listen show was Radiolab, which I hardly ever listen to any more). One that I’ve listened to consistently from the beginning is the pop culture podcast Radio vs. the Martians (I would have put in a link, but unfortunately their page has been down for the past day or two, but here’s the actual address: http://radiovsthemartians.com/).

    1. Bright-Raven

      Yes, which podcasts, Edo? Ever tried mine, Quoth The Raven Louis Bright-Raven? Mine’s often a bit more visual than just audio, so it might not be the right fit for just listening, but I’ve been told by more than one person they listen to me talk and ignore the video graphics for the comics reviews and stuff.

    2. Greg Burgas

      My wife listens to a lot of podcasts while she’s working, but I’m rarely driving or doing something for as long as it takes for some of them. If I can find a good 20-30 minute podcast, that works, but any longer and I find I just don’t have the time for them.

  3. Darthratzinger

    I do occasionally buy CDs but mostly from smaller, oftentimes German, bands whose music is not available on the internet. I listen to it mostly on the road (in my case public transportation) on two different ipods (one is full of what sane people consider Noise the other is a mix of everything) . Since Apple stopped supporting them I have now also bought an MP3-player to put new stuff on, and by new I mean new to me and not recently released. When I´m walking around is when I mostly listen to German bands because I can really pay attention to the lyrics.
    At home I can only listen to music when I´m cleaning the appartment and my wife and daughter are not home. In that case I turn it on LOUD (at the moment Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath are cleaning-favorites). Sometimes I listen to music after our daughter fell asleep, but in that case I turn down the volume.

    1. Le Messor

      I listen to music pretty much all the time (right now, it’s the soundtrack to the 1943 Phantom Of The Opera, which just came in yesterday.) At work, it’s through headphones.

      I keep a playlist that’s songs I’ve played once, put it on shuffle, and play it – like you, Greg, it could be anything. It takes me nearly a year to get through, then I reset it.
      Like Darthratzinger, Blue Öyster Cult is a favourite. (But not for cleaning, since vacuuming is one of the only times I don’t listen to music.)

      I buy a CD (if possible, I will use digital media if I can’t, though), listen to it a few times, and put it on my iTunes.

      Unfortunately, iPods are garbage, and mine stopped accepting new music, and I can’t reset the playlist anymore; so I’m choosing artists or albums basically at random. (Genesis at the moment, but my collection is small.)

      1. Greg Burgas

        I really liked my iPod, but I agree that it seems like the technology has left it behind. I don’t love having a fancy phone, but it does help with the music storage!

        1. Le Messor

          My iPod is still really useful for a lot of things, but it has issues that frustrate me. :/

          I don’t like the idea of living my life on my phone.

  4. Eric van Schaik

    Like you already know I am a music man first, and comics as a very close second. 😉

    At home I listen cd’s, but when I’m in my bedroom I play some of my old records. When you’re used to cd’s it kind of annoys me how fast you have to turn the record, specially older albums with only 17 minutes per side.
    It depends to my mood what music I want to listen to. Sometimes it has to be really heavy, but when my wife is around something more easy going.
    I play some bands more frequently than others but none are forgotten.
    Most of the stuff I buy is at the record store but Discogs is a good alternative for obscure bands. If a band sells albums at there own site I order there.

    When there isn’t something on tv I put a dvd/blu-ray of a concert in the player.
    When I take a shower I use Spotify. I select an artist from time to time and it’s nice they play songs from random albums.

    In my car I use a USB-stick because my car is so “modern” that it hasn’t a cd-player.
    On it I put music I read about in a magazine from a record store (kind of like Previews). If it reads interesting I try to download it somewhere. If I like it I buy the cd and if I don’t I remove it from stick and computer. The same for bands who appear on festivals and I’m not familiar to.

    The way I like music the most is seeing bands in concert and this year we have seen a lot of bands already (from february until now 12 concerts and 2 festivals and 10 other concerts and 1 festival until the end of the year).

    Only when I ride my bike or go for a walk I don’t listen to music. I want to hear the birds and other animals. So I’m not obsessive when it comes to music 🙂

    1. Greg Burgas

      I had to ask for a CD played the last time I bought a car, and that was in 2013! So I get it.

      I know a few people, like you, who just love going to concerts. I like them, but I was never so into them, and I remain impressed by those people who do it that often. It’s a pretty keen commitment!

  5. I listen as I work. Typically I set my iPod to random album play, using my Non Christmas album list (Christmas songs are for December). In the car, Sirius channels.
    The music is extremely random as a lot of comes from library CDs on the sale table rather than a serious attempt to curate or select.

  6. I love physical media, so I still buy CDs, and the occasional vinyl, if I can get it cheap. But I’m not a huge music connoisseur– so I just have a handful of acts I follow and that’s about it.

    I also buy some albums on mp3 if I can catch a deal.

    A lot of music listening is via an old portable CD player if at home, or in the car on trips to town or whatnot. I also have a USB drive plugged into the car with some of my mp3 collection on it.

    My commute to work was mainly filled with podcasts, but now that I work from home I have fallen like 18 months behind on the one podcast I’m still determined to keep up with.

  7. mike loughlin

    These days, almost exclusively YouTube or a streaming service. I used to listen to A LOT of music, but that has slowed down in the last 20 years due to a number of factors (mostly time and responsibilities, as well as preferring podcasts now). I’ve also lost interest in the majority of new music. There’s still plenty of great stuff out there, and I’m not opposed to it, but I have a much harder time getting invested in a band or genre than I used to. Maybe it’s because I got older…

    Anyway, I like podcasts better for driving. I’ve always wanted “nerd radio” to be a thing, and now I can listen to people chat about comics, movies, tv, music, etc. anytime. Favorites include Wait, What?, House to Astonish, Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, the Rolled Spine releases, Battle of the Atom, Cerebro, and the Bwah-Ha-Ha JLI podcast.

    As for why people stop listening to certain songs or bands: tastes change, of course. Mostly, I think people get sick of hearing the same songs over and over. I have a list in my head of songs I don’t ever need to hear again, mostly pop-rock staples of the past 40 yrs that aren’t necessarily bad, but are overplayed (“Livin’ on a Prayer,” speaking of Bon Jovi, as well as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Bad to the Bone,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Who Are You?,” etc.).

    1. Eric van Schaik

      I agree about Livin’ on a prayer being overplayed but I don’t like Bon Jovi at all. 🙂
      Another song I don’t want to hear is Paradise by the dashboard light. They played it to death for me.

    2. As I bought little music for most of my life (money went to comic books, movies and books), the state of current music isn’t a problem for me. There’s endless waves from the past that I’ve never listened to.

    3. Greg Burgas

      I get not wanting to hear the same song over and over, but as I don’t listen to radio much anymore, that’s not really an issue. If I hear Pour Some Sugar on Me, it’s no more than once a year, because that’s how often it comes around on my music selection. A lot of songs that I used to be thoroughly sick of have become better because I simply don’t hear them that often, so when I do hear them, I enjoy them! 🙂

      1. mike loughlin

        I get that. From Sept 2018-March 2022 I worked a second job at a liquor store. We only had terrestrial radio. The older manager put on the classic rock station or the “greatest hits of the ’70s & ’80s” station. When I was much younger, I loved the classic rock station. They played the hits, but also deep cuts, album sides, a blues show, and a variety of live tracks. There was a good mix of ’60s & ’70s music, with the heaviest focus on the late ’60s. Now, the playlist focuses on the ’70s & ’80s, but mostly not the stuff I like. Worse, they play the same small playlist every day. Bottom line, I got sick of a lot of songs. The same thing happened with the hip hop station that plays throwbacks. The top 40 station played maybe three songs in 3 yrs that I liked, and they wore out their welcome quickly. Being trapped with music is a good way to dampen enthusiasm for it.

        1. Greg Burgas

          Ha, that’s very much what I go through these days. I work one day a week, and we have an old radio, so only local stations, and we go through the Top Hits of the ’80s, ’90s, and Today! phase, then the classic rock phase, and the playlists are so weirdly small and it’s very frustrating. My boss found a new station that actually plays classic stuff but deeper cuts than usual, so that’s a nice break. I like your turn of phrase: “trapped with music.” Definitely!

  8. Rob Allen

    I have three tabs open in my browser right now to stream three local radio stations – KMHD (jazz), KBOO (various) and KQRZ (oldies). I listen to the same three in the car. I also go to the Live Music section at archive.org regularly, and recently have started finding good stuff on YouTube.

  9. John King

    I’m permanently behind on technology so remain focussed on physical media with a sizeable and varied cd collection (including Leadbelly, Flanders & Swan, Duane Eddy, Everley Brothers, Aretha Franklin, the Hollies, the Sweet, 10CC, Gerry Rafferty, Sky, Leo Sayer, Randy Crawford, New Musik, Billy Joel, Clannad, Neneh Cherry, AC/DC, Roxette, They Might be Giants, Kikuko Inoue, Scissor Sisters…etc)

    I don’t have a car so don’t drive – tend to listen to audiobooks on long bus journeys (using a portable cd played)
    (If I’m a passenger in someone else’s car I’ll generally be thinking about music – quietly singing in my thoughts)

    1. John King

      I also listen to the radio – first thing in the morning and often on Saturday evenings.

      Sometimes for background music I have the TV tuned to a channel broadcasting music from the 60s, 70s and 80s though they do tend to replay the same songs too often.

  10. Tim Rifenburg

    Interesting question and I like seeing how everyone goes about consuming their music. For me it varies (like everyone else) depending on the circumstances. Yard work (almost any outside work in general) is mp3 player with a few comic related podcasts and music from cd’s that I put to the player. (Mostly Broadway cast albums, favorite cd’s and compilation cd’s like one hit wonders or greatest hits.) Car is audio books on disc and music cd’s I pick up at yard sales or library sales. I buy little new music or listen to anything current. I almost never feel old until it gets to music. I see musical acts or bands talked about on tv and I think, who are these people?. I just never seem current with music because when I discover something new it is through movies, Broadway or occasionally seeing something on tv. Then I make a note of it and keep an eye out for it on the second hand market at a cheap price. Mp3 player is probably the most current way I get my music and it has made yard chores a lot easier and more enjoyable. Thanks for posting the question.

  11. I can’t listen to talk (podcasts, TV, talk radio, audiobooks) and check my email, write, or clean the house. Yet music, even if it’s unfamiliar, propels those things. (The last thing I played on the CD player was Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes.)

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