Serendipity, new-style

Back in October, Andrew Breitbart, the much-maligned purveyor of and several other 'Bigs" posted this tweet:

I am one that likes to check out different styles of music so I followed his link. Here is what I found.

Give it a spin. Who knows, you may like it.

It snagged me with its catchy beat, peppy tune and those whiny vocals (yes, Andrew, it is emo.) After I watched the video, I clicked on several others that came up and decided that I would put Grouplove in the plus column, although I secretly wondered if they may have been involved in Occupy Wall Street (just kidding, guys.)

So, tonight I was at a local concert. It was a festival-style show where there are multiple bands. I had purchased the ticket because I wanted to see @GavinRossdale and the newly re-formed Bush. There was a room called the Budweiser Lounge where a poster in the hallway indicated that at 8:15 the featured band would be Grouplove.

Grouplove? Hmmmm. I remembered the name, but I couldn't remember any of their music. Instead of heading for the main stage area, I hung out in the lounge and grabbed a spot right up on the front rail. Soon, the sound check was complete and the band came out. I must say, the sound guys forgot that we were in a small indoor room. I almost lost an eardrum.

Suddenly, I remembered their music after I heard the first few notes. It was a great twenty minutes, though I had to move to the back of the room to conserve my hearing. (For those of you who know me, you know that this is a rare move for me, but pain is pain...)

This sort of musical serendipity started about 12 years ago for me when Napster first came out. I had been 'borrowing' music from other people, mainly through UseNET newsgroups. This was tedious and slow. Back then I had a 56K modem (it might have been a 33K modem) and the songs were broken up into multiple chunks which had to be reassembled in the proper order after downloading. There were newsreader programs that would do this reassembly automagically for you, but you still had to download a sequential list, beginning to end, or it wouldn't work.

When Napster arrived, all of this changed. You could search for music (actually you searched for files, but what the hey), then click on a sharing host computer that looked promising and watch it download. Napster would tell you what the download speed was and what folder the music was in on the host's computer. It would even let you look at the directories of the contributor. THIS WAS HUGE. It allowed me to look for a specific song, find it on someone's computer, browse their computer and see if there was anything else I might be interested in. After all, if they had one song I wanted, they might have others.

In doing this, I was able to discover numerous artists and songs that I would have never found if I had been stuck with FM radio or if I could borrow a friend's mix tape. Some artists were good. Some totally sucked. Sometimes I would find out about a show coming to town featuring a group I had never heard of. I would then search Napster to see if I might like it. Many artists benefited from my ability to 'try out' new talent by my concert attendance and purchase of their CD (remember when people bought CDs???)

The music industry didn't get it back then and they still don't get it now, but it is too late for them. They threw themselves under that bus, but I digress.

This new-style serendipity consisted of social media, Twitter, YouTube, Band of the Day app on iPhone, on-line ticket ordering and a little bit of luck. You gotta love the internet.

Life is good...


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