This issue of
Citylife

Surfin’ Lesson

Let’s face it, the internet has proven a nightmare for the music industry. Digitising music and the invention of bittorrent means we never need pay for another CD again. But that’s the wrong way of looking at it. I listen to a much wider variety online, discover more bands and ultimately spend more on itunes. Here’s why.
The internet is a wonderful tool for promoting and enjoying music, I stream internet radio all day, try out new band samples, take suggestions and even buy cheapies of bands’ CDs I’ve never heard of. OK, I confess, I even bitttorrent download the occasional rare CD that has been catalogue deleted. Let’s start with bittorrent; it’s a smart file sharing software that superseded peer-to-peer (P2P) by splitting a file into many parts, so you can rely on many sources to download the file, not just one. If someone offering their latest demo goes offline, your bittorrent programme simply looks for the missing bits among the many still online (while simultaneously downloading it).

You’ll need to download a programme like Utorrent, and I’m not going to publicly tell you where you can search for shared music, that’s when it starts getting illegal 😉 There are many ways to cheaply enjoy music online. The most obvious is internet radio, and although you’ll find a radio guide in your browser favourites, I prefer www.shoutcast.com which has instant ‘tune in’ access to more than 25,000 stations worldwide. Groove Salad and Sky FM Classical make excellent background music while I work, and they’re even offered in 56 and 24k versions which stream reliably (it’s also less selfish on Thailand’s woeful broadband capacity). I’ve discovered so much music which I then go looking for on www.emusic.com: it has a huge catalogue of older music at 25 cents a track, a fee I’m willing to pay, and it’s been great at recommending other bands ‘I might like’. Unfortunately it was recently withdrawn from service in Thailand for unknown reasons. There’s also plenty of great Thai music which I’m enthusiastically getting into, www.ethaimusic.com is useful for freely listening to Thai music samples, which I can then buy cheaply online.

Andrew Bond is the Manager of www.virtualtravelguides.com