News, reviews and commentary on afrobeat and related music from Africa, The Caribbean and The Americas

Friday, June 02, 2006

How Do You Listen To Music?

By David Fox

I want to continue with the effort to stimulate discussion here on the AfroFunk Music Forum and pose two closely related questions for discussion: how do you access your music and how do you find new music?

Until late December, 2005, I listened to music almost exclusively on compact disc and my main source for new albums, new artists, and new genres was generally my brother and a few other friends. In my lab I would listen to either one of the hard bop/post bop or roots or dub reggae streams on iTunes, but I did little streaming of music via computer otherwise.

Since then until recently, I have almost exclusively listened to music and found new music via my online subscription to, which I stream either through my computer at work or through my stereo at home. This site uses a different business model than iTunes and makes it easy and cheap to explore lots of new territory. One nice feature is a list of albums that the site generates based on your previous selections. Another nice feature is a set of related artists and related albums that the service supplies for most of the artists and individual albums. I don’t always agree with the choices generated or suggested by the site, but it does make it easy to explore new material. Compilation albums on which an artist appears are also handy.

For example, the wonderful and innovative Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra appears on a couple compilations included in the list of their albums available through the service. One of these is a compilation New York artists in a variety of styles: electronica, rap, funk, and, of course, Afrofunk in the form of Antibalas. I did not know any of the other artists but now have several new, deeply funky artists in genres I do not usually listen to. One weak spot of is the poor coverage of Fela’s albums; they were all there earlier this year, but now only a small selection that does not include many of my favorites is available.

I must say that the AfroFunk Music Forum has recently become a great source for new artists in Afrofunk and associated and similar genres thanks to the good folks who have been posting so far.

I never did any of the peer to peer music sharing like Napster before The Man was able to squelch that and I basically never listen to US radio for music because almost all of it is preprogrammed by The Man.

Given that readers come from across the globe, I suspect you have diverse ways of listening to and finding new music. So, how do you listen to your music and how do you find new music? Again, include where you are from and think of this as a way to educate other Afrofunk fans about ways to search out new sounds!


  1. I listen to music mainly through Rhapsody myself. For the most part, it's a great service. Like you stated, I have discovered more music by following the related artist links on Rhapsody. I also agree that some artists are poorly covered as far as their recording catalog goes. I am sure it has to do a lot with licensing with record and publishing companies. I hope the record/publishing companies get hip to this model even more. I am sure there are a lot of unreleased albums/songs that are sitting in a vault somewhere and haven't been released due to the manufacturing costs of developing a CD, gaining enough on the return of distributing the CD, etc. But now, all a record company has to do is clean up the songs, convert them to a sound file, and voila! At least that's how easy I hope it would be (putting aside the licensing problems). I would definetly recommend subscribing to a service like Rhapsody. I am from Las Vegas by the way.

  2. I usually listen to compact discs (although I still call them albums) at work and at home. Fortunately, living in New York, I get quite a bit of info on what's going on in the African and Latin circles, and the new Fania re-releases have been a godsend.

    Lately, I've just found a great set of podcasts by the Paris DJs. They have a lot of killer African, Latin, reggae, and funk mixes. I thought I had a good album collection until I heard this stuff.