Dooga’s Guide to Acquiring Tunage
This guide is intended for intense music fans and should be used if you have the unquenchable desire to acquire every good and interesting song at the highest bitrate quality available. We will go through a list of techniques on digital audio acquisition and use various methods to achieve our goal of sonic completion.
Bit Torrents: If you don’t know what they are, get familiar. Google a “how to”
If your playlist is young and you want to get it going quickly, bit torrents are your best bet for filling up on quality music in many genres. Individuals either post CD rips or genre specific personal compilations of music. I have found huge rare 80′s caches, hip hop chronologies, rock playlists, funk compilations, etc. Have fun searching.
Compressed Files: zipping and “rarring”
If bit torrents aren’t available, try doing a web search including the artist and album name followed by “.zip” or “.rar”. Though these are the most common, you will need an expansion utility to access these compressed file types.
Google: Searching smart and patient
If you just need one track and don’t want to download entire albums, try searching:
“artist name – song .mp3″
Your results may reveal a list of file sharing/hosting sites, blogs or purchase sites. Feel free to choose whichever you’d like. Some are phony and will state they have your song at some giant file size upwards of a gigabyte! Avoid those and look for more friendly sites such as mediafire, rapidshare, box.net and many others. Some sites have annoying popup ads where others may make you wait an extended period of time to download your track.
Filestube: who needs Limewire?
Filestube is a powerful media search engine that scours the web for your track of choice. It will give you the file name, location and size so you have a good idea of what you are getting before you get it.
Firefox: Resource heavy but worth the weight
Mozilla Firefox is an open source search engine with many free user created plugins available for streamlining your music acquisitions. A couple of must haves are:
DownloadHelper rips multimedia data from sites that would otherwise not allow it without purchase. You can also rip mp4′s which are great if you want to expand your HD music video collection.
Skip Screen is a plugin that tries to circumvent arbitrary wait times administered by file hosting sites. It will either skip the wait or wait for you, downloading your file after the process. The programmers at Skip Screen are constantly updating their software to combat the countermeasures these hosting sites create every few months. That being said, sometimes it’s a wonky time saver that doesn’t work everywhere.
Keyboard Shortcuts: Learn how to efficiently navigate your browser by using the Ctrl/Command+Click shortcut to open new tabs and use the Alt/Option+Click shortcut to download a file within a link. Use your status bar below to make sure the link ends in “.mp3″ or whatever audio file type you are searching for. This is a huge time saver.
Blogs: Friends around the world unite
Blogs are possibly the best place to discover specific music in the genre you are interested in. There, you will find articles on popular, local and unheard artists, music to download by them, comparable music by others and opinions of the blogger as well as their many followers.
The Hype Machine: www.hypem.com
A blog search engine featuring new music everyday from indie, electronic, hip hop, and generally random artists from all over the world. It is a place where music heads come to feed.
Rolling Stone Magazine Website: www.rollingstone.com
This longtime music magazine is a great place to get great “best of lists” in various genres of music, expert opinions on what has been released and insight on artists that have not yet blown up.
Though you can rip low quality tracks from this site, Pandora is more of a music discovery tool. Make personalized Radio Station “playlists”, like or not like tracks, look at cool album art and let the music play.
Groove Shark: listen.grooveshark.com
(as per wikipedia) is an internationally available online music search engine, music streaming service and music recommendation web software application, allowing users to search for, stream, and upload music free of charge that can be played immediately or added to a playlist. Even has some twitter-like functions. Basically, it’s a more hands on Pandora, complete with beef steroids.
New Album Releases: newalbumreleases.net
It’s a great place to find new albums by artists when they are released, complete with download links. The hosting site links do have long wait times and hourly download limits so resort to the “.rar” and “.zip” search methods if your patience wanes.
Notable Mentions: Google ‘em
5 Star Hip Hop
Gotta Dance Dirty
Hip Hop Blogs
Hot New Hip Hop
The Master of Funk
Palms Out Sounds
Yo Raps Magazine
These are not music sites but worth mentioning if you are looking for interesting new technologies for DJ’ing