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Enjoying Music Online

Music, like technology, is constantly changing, and the ways we listen to it are changing to match.  Far before the online music phenomenon, when music couldn’t be recorded yet, you had to either play music yourself or go hear someone else play the song. Then the phonograph was invented. Next came the radio and there are many innovations that followed. Now we are going digital.

The Internet is more than an “in” thing — it has clearly become an online haven for music lovers. Today, music lovers discovered a good way of finding and sharing music through the Internet, and it’s almost unthinkable for someone not to know how to find free music radio stations online.

One type of enhanced online music radio station is designed to generate “unique” radio stations automatically. Users typed in the name of their favorite song or artist and could hear tracks picked by a complex computer program designed to pick tracks that had technical similarities to the songs the user already liked. The downside, of course, is that a computer program was picking your music for you…with the result that you had to spend a lot of time down-rating, skipping and banning tracks you didn’t like. 977 music takes the customized listening experience to the next level with on-demand playlists.

The Big Deal About Playlists

The next step from creating your own online radio station was to create your own playlist. On 977, you can add in up to 1,000 songs that mix in your favorite music whichever way you like it and play it over the Internet, from practically anywhere you can get an Internet connection. Add any song in our library and sort your songs to play in any order you want — 977music.com playlists put you in complete control!

Now you have a personalized station and your own playlist, but you want more, and 977music.com online radio fills that gap. People’s thirst for good music can’t be sated easily, and most of the online radio stations that are out there right now offer limited functionality; 977 Internet Radio, however, provides enhanced features such as social networking, artist music videos and the ability to earn points (redeemable for great prizes) just for listening and using the site. You can listen to music, find the latest information about your favorite artists, and make adjustments to your playlists with the click of a button. “Hello, Mr. DJ” telephone calls are a thing of the past.

Music’s Impact on the Brain

Researchers have known for a long time that music has a powerful, often beneficial effect on the brain, and can it can even help larger efforts to work against diseases like depression. Specifically, music often has noticeable benefits in terms of reducing depression and anxiety, and even in some cases can improve the mental climate of people who suffer from difficulties concentrating.

Music & Health: What’s the Connection?

iStock 000005622510XSmall Musics Impact on the BrainWorking people often experience a high level of stress because of their tight schedules. The right type of music can help relax the mind, promote healthy blood pressure and in general help promote the right mental state for people to remain relaxed and focused — even at work. Because there is such a strong connection between mood and health (even longevity), music’s positive effects may even promote healthier bodies.

Early peoples may even have established music and musical events for some of these same reasons. According to research, the music likely made its first appearance more than 50,000 years ago, and is so deeply rooted in our cultural traditions, that all of us strongly associate certain kinds of music with peace and healthy thinking. Even in premature infants and people suffering from seizures, calming, rhythmic music may help reduce certain problems and help promote healthier activity.

While plenty of doctors and musical therapists go through years of training to understand how to use music in the best ways to benefit their patients, most of us can still benefit from instinctive self-therapy using music to help calm and focus our own minds.

Music’s Benefits in Action

In the workplace, music has a bad reputation as a distraction that compromises productivity and reduces healthy, timely communication between employees — but this is not necessarily the reality. Studies show that people who use the Internet moderately to heavily tend to be more, not less productive than those who use it very little. For reasons that aren’t entirely different, music has also been shown to help us make smarter choices and do better at work in general.

The key is to choose music that contributes positively to a healthy work rhythm and positive, energetic state of mind without becoming annoying or drawing our focus too heavily from where we want it to be.

Our Picks

We can’t guarantee perfect mental health or an incredibly productive workflow from our music choices alone, but we can give you some suggestions for a few options that might fit — try: The Mix, The Hitz, and Smooth Jazz Internet Radio.

Radio Freedom: Playlist Choices & Music’s Influence

Listening to the radio is a popular way to relieve some stress. That’s because radio music is designed to appeal to you. Radio music is carefully selected based on what the general population wants. Have you ever noticed how most of the music in your CD collection revolves around your favorite songs on the radio? The reason is that record industries pay close attention to radio music in order to develop new music that will sell.

Hidden Motivations: How Music Drives Pop Culture

Radio music has always been an indicator in the music industry of how well any artist is performing. Record sales, concert tickets, and merchandise might be where the record company gets most of their money, but it all starts with radio music. Experts at radio stations carefully select new music that they think will be popular with their listening audience. They want to find music that will keep you listening to their radio station. As listeners hear new music they enjoy, they pay more attention to that artist, buying their CD’s or going to their concerts. Radio stations have a direct influence over both the listener and the music industry.

Radio music also has a big effect on society. One theory says the music we listen to has an effect on behavior, moods, and even clothing choices. Radio music is the primary way most consumers hear new artists, new songs, and new influences. In the modern music industry, many people take what artists have to say through their songs very seriously. Many artists object, saying their music is just for entertainment purposes, but the general population still pay attention to what they are communicating. Whether they agree or disagree, the sheer prominence and exposure of these musicians’ ideas via radio means they have a massive impact on everything from our shopping habits to our opinions on politics, relationships, and society. Radio further enhances that influence when playlist organizers and station managers deliberately encourage the popularity of artists with strong opinions by giving them more airtime.

Limitations of Music’s Influence: Your Role

It’s easy to see that radio music is a strong motivator in the lives of most of society. Whether we like to admit it or not, the radio music we listen to can change our opinions or challenge us to take action on issues that affect us all. Radio music is not completely in control, though. The choice of music played on any radio station is based on the popular preference of its listening audience. The radio music people prefer to listen to is directly reflected in the music radio stations play. Radio music may have a big influence on the way we live our lives, but we have an even bigger influence over the music radio stations play.

You as the listener are in control of the direction of radio music and the music industry. Both industries depend on listeners to dictate what is popular and therefore what is played. If you want to change the radio music you’re exposed to, let your local radio station know your opinions about what you like to hear. Radio music depends on listener feedback to affect a positive change in the way our society changes. Don’t sit back and let someone else tell you what you need to hear. Take an active voice in your local radio music. You can make a much bigger change in the world around you than you might think.

Organizing a Music Event within a Budget

Organizing a music event can be fun, but if you are given the task of putting a show together, keeping your eye on the bottom line is still important. You can plan all you want but it will all boil down to your expenditures and how far you can get each dollar to take you. A few useful tips for organizing a good event with the time and money you have:

Tip 1 – Ask the right questions:

dreamstime 4271810 Organizing a Music Event within a Budget
There are a plenty of questions that come to your mind, for example, how can you organize a music event? Or how can you find venue where you can hold that music event? How much do you need to pay for decorations and marketing? How can you arrange for a PA? How can you collaborate with local businesses to help alleviate costs? How soon ahead of time can you afford to start publicizing the event to get the right audience (and a lot of them) to show?

Ahead of all of these concerns, your budget has to take number-one priority, but getting these questions down now, at the beginning, is still a must. Think of it this way: you absolutely need to make sure that you are giving yourself the tools you need to budget your even wisely, and tracking every issue is important.

Tip 2 – Track everything

The benefit of creating a spreadsheet is that nothing gets forgotten, and you can minimize the chance of missing a task or forgetting to cover all bases. For each task or idea, note down:

  • Timelines
  • Contact info for the contacts involved
  • Projected costs
  • Factors that might affect the costs
  • Risk factors that might prevent that task or issue being resolved properly

As you go through your ideas for marketing and the steps you plan to take to set the venue and market the event, your spreadsheet will also help you track how close you are to your break-even point and which areas you need to push harder on to improve your projected profit.

Aside from  your marketing ideas, do not forget to include all the costs and the income factors that are associated with the music event itself. Include the cost of the performers (their fee for the performance, plus lodging and any other peripheral costs), your PA, lighting and other cosmetic adjustments to make the scene more enjoyable, the cost of renting a venue, the marketing that you want to do in order to attract more audience, sponsorship enticements, and the costs of contests, giveaways, and any other promotional events you do beforehand, to name just a few.

In the end, putting together a music event does not have to be a complicated ordeal, but planning right, budgeting wisely, and keeping your budget the priority will help dramatically with your efforts to minimize the stress factor and help your event succeed.

Online Radio: Where is Music on the Internet Headed?

In a recent post, we suggested that free online music had some to overcome some major hurdles in its journey from the “dark ages” of the audio cassette through the digital revolution. But we all know that online radio is more complicated than just digitized music online, and if we are going to identify the top priorities in the industry today, we have to take a serious look at some of the biggest, most complicated, and most recent online radio and music phenomena on the net.

Almost There: Pandora Online Radio and the Variability Problem

After the rise, fall, and re-emergence of Napster and the other music sharing sites, music listening online took on a whole new form as we realized more of what this medium was really capable of. With free online music, we had the option to experience fresh music without having to invest in it — legal limitations meant we had limited control over what and when we could hear, but at least on-the-go options became more feasible. Suddenly, the problem became not too few options and too little control, but the sheer breadth of the playlists that were available to us at home and online. Music lists in our personal libraries had exploded, and shuffling wasn’t enough — we needed help.

The people behind the music genome project had the bright idea of classifying and automating some of the instinctive choices that go into our music preferences. Now, we had personalized suggestions that suddenly took away the confusion of having too many options to choose from. The problem? In the end, many of us shied away from sites like Pandora except for occasional visits, because the combination of user-defined choices and user-based suggestions sometimes meant that the more time and effort we put into our playlists, the less varied and the the more predictable they became.

These sites’ automated suggestions valued technical similarities between songs, so in the process of guessing what we would or wouldn’t like to hear, they eliminated some of those gut-level “this is great” moments we experienced back when we had more randomness — or, with radio, the input of someone else’s personality and preferences in our playlists.

Suddenly, it seemed we’d progressed too far — precise control was still important, but it was not everything, and many of us started to realize that what we wanted was something we’d started to miss out on in the new online music with its “us-only” limitations. What we wanted was online radio.

The Fix: True & Enhanced Online Radio Stations

Online radio became the next big evolution for online music when sites providing Internet Radio Stations, like 977music appeared, because they gave us all the personalized control we had come to expect of digital music, plus the variability of outside suggestions. Using a combination of intelligent, user- and algorithm-driven selection and “good old fashioned” random choice, stations like ours now offer the perfect combination of reliability and surprise. But even though online radio seems to approach perfection, the needs and expectations of audiences continue to evolve. A few predictions for upcoming changes:

  • Portability. 977Music already offers an iPod app to make your stations and playlists portable, but plenty of other internet radio stations still need to catch up in this respect, and over time, they will.
  • Total integration. Too often, online music stations don’t offer personal playlists for members to use to add some stability and predictability to their options. Over time, more online radio stations will be adding these options, and down the line (depending on how we all work out details like usage rights with the big record companies), may even offer integration between those playlists and the ones at home.
  • Enhanced social functionality. One of the big problems with auto-only suggestion sites like Pandora was the solo aspect of the suggestions — every fresh idea essentially came from you, or the computer making suggestions based on your specifications. In the social media age, playlists visible to your friends and functionality like suggesting songs to friends will become more important, as online music continues to mimic real-life music-related interactions more closely.

What’s Your Take?

Where do you think free online music is headed? Share in the comments

Getting Known Through Music Online

The internet may just be the best venue for artists or musicians to promote their music online, earn a little extra money along the way, and even live their dream of becoming a star.

But getting yourself and your music known online is not an easy feat. It requires strategy and a lot of thinking. The internet is often a disorganized place. Here are a few tips to help you look for what you really need and accomplish your goals:

1 – Network

Social networking sites are now the “in” thing. Everyone who is anyone have an account in at least one site. Leverage sites like Facebook and Linkedin to get your work and your name known. Details can make or break your chances, so pay attention to the info you put up about yourself; be sure it’s there, it’s on target, and that you’ve offered plenty of ways for fans to engage with your image and sound, from photos to blog posts to requests and details about your newest songs.

2 – Prioritize
iStock 000002807197Large Getting Known Through Music Online
Make sure you only have one primary account per site, and you are more active on one than the other. It will be hard to manage keeping up several accounts while trying to make a career in music. Make sure you can manage everything so that you don’t have the need to have someone who can manage it for you. It will save your money and give you more time to enhance your music.

An account in a social networking site can only do so much. You yourself should make an effort to make yourself known. There are several ways in how you can get connected to people online. It will not be easy to start your connections. But once it’s done, it will keep on growing until it reaches a lot of people. But it would only be possible if you were able to create good music. This will be what will initially attract your audience and followers. After creating good music and making it available online, you should do everything to establish a good connection with people. This way, you will be known and will certainly be at the top hit of every search sites.

2 – Promote & Maintain

The “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t work in online music any more than it does in real life, so be sure to balance your online promotion with offline efforts — and keep a long term perspective on both.

Remember: Music is just one part of the equation. No matter how good the music is, if you don’t have loyal followers, it will never work out. So start building relationships with people. The music makes the musician but it’s your fans that will build your career.

Make sure there is a balance between what you love to do and what you need to do. Being an artist or being a musician is a passion that can turn into a career which can be profitable. But you always need to maintain your love for what you do. Never lose the heart. Once it’s gone, you will never again produce something which is worth the time and effort promoting online or outside the virtual world.

From Cassettes to Online Music

When everyone seems to be listening to online music radio, it’s tough to remember what it was like to listen to music before “online” had to do with something besides city subways. Mobile internet is merging with on-demand music and personal playlists these days (for a great example, check out our new iPhone app!), and the distinctions between personal and publicly accessible music have been pretty blurry for a long time, but as the online music scene keeps moving forward, it only makes sense that the place to look for clues about where it’s headed is …backward.

The Dark Ages Before Online Music

Let’s start at what, for most of us, counts as the beginning: cassette tapes and stereo music players. Lately, even CD’s seem archaic, but from pre-phonograph recordings up through cassette tapes, music distribution was essentially the same: physical recordings that often had questionable value even when they included good tracks, just because they required the listener to shift around “blind” and muddle through plenty of (often terrible) music just to get to the songs they wanted. Compared to previous media, cassettes offered a little more flexibility via the option to create mix tapes, but in those cases the physical limitations of the medium meant that the whole process was far from fast or easy. Given the fact that repeated illegal re-copying of a cassette tended to degrade the sound quality dramatically, getting together a decent-quality personal playlist could also get prohibitively expensive. Clearly, we needed more versatility and more control.

Barring brief dead-ends with efforts like the A-track, we jumped straight from cassettes to CD’s. At first, these seemed like the indestructible and adaptable solution we all seemed to be looking for, but they turned out to be nothing beyond a slightly more high-tech and adaptable application of the same concept: great sound, generally mixed in with noticeably less-great sound, on a medium that could get destroyed or degraded — eliminating the value of the entire album.

The Digital Breakthrough: Shuffling

The arrival of better, multiple-CD systems and programmable playlists meant that this medium offered (and still offers) us faster and more flexible listening options by comparison to the old-school, linear approach, but in some ways fully-exposed CD’s were easier to damage than case-protected tapes, and even limited damage could mean the destruction of an entire collection of songs.

To give CD’s their due, they did give us the opportunity to develop immensely important technological tools something that became key to the development of great online music radio stations: shuffling.

MP3′s, M4A’s, and the other compressed music formats gave us a new step in the same direction, but by putting music in any kind of digital format, we gave shuffling new power and began to open up our music choices beyond the limited options of the proscribed, album format; the arduously assembled personal mix tape; or the time- and training-intensive “expert DJ” radio mix. Finally, we had managed to develop a portable format that gave us some semblance of ease and speed, and clarified what we may have been looking for the whole time: a perfect, individualized balance between controlling and defining our music choices precisely, and enjoying the freedom of tuning in or tuning out and relaxing while someone else made the tough decision, “which track next?”

What All of This Means for Online Music Radio

From MP3s to today’s high-functioning online radio we had a few more steps to take, but the bottom line priorities along the way are still worth noting: portability, personality, and the choice whether to set our own course or let go and let “someone else” decide in ways that really worked. In the cassette age, reliably portable music was the big problem, and getting out of that rut was a key step in the direction of the great options we have today — but there’s still room for improvement in that respect. 3G internet connections and the popularity of the new “on the go” functions for 977music prove that this is still a top priority for all of us — and a place where improvements are still happening. We’re close to reaching the “options anywhere” stage, but we’re not quite there yet.

 
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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

    For more information please visit 977music.com.
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