Right now I can hear a mixture of the J.S. Bach I have playing and the rain falling outside. The music isn’t up very loud and that makes the sound of the rain very annoying. I’m not much of a classical music fan but for some reason I am drawn to Bach. Especially the Brandenburg Concertos. I don’t even know what a “concerto” is except it sure looks like “concert” to me.

I find music to be an interesting subject. Not making music, because I have no talent or understanding of that, but listening to it. I think there are fewer music fans out there than most people think. By that I mean fans of music in general. Most people are fans of a specific genre of music and that type of music defines their relationship to music. There are heavy metal fans, dance music fans, techno fans, emo fans, classical music fans, jazz fans, and many more varieties that I am not even aware of.

A music fan has an eclectic library that crosses genres and conventions. Music means many things to a music fan. To genre fans music generally means one thing. To dance fans it means dancing. To metal fans it means getting loud and getting mad. To classical fans it means escape into a different world. Or something like that. The meanings can vary by individuals but overall the type of music they like gives them a certain kick that no other music can. And they dig that kick. A music fan is always on the lookout for a new kick. This is the distinction I make between a music fan and a fan of a specific type of music. Most people are neither though. Most people’s musical taste is defined by the era in which the grew up. Check their playlists.

Lists are interesting. Those “100 Best Whatevers of All Time” lists are what I’m speaking of. You know the ones. A magazine or organization gets together to decide “The 100 Best Movies of All Time” or some such nonsense. I find these lists interesting because the thing that you can tell from them is the age of the people making the lists. With music this is most true. A few years ago a friend of mine asked everyone for their top ten albums of all time. What struck me most about the lists that people responded with was the fact that everyone picked albums from when they were in their late teens to early twenties. Being that almost everyone was in their mid thirties when they made their lists there were no albums from after ’92 or so. Nirvana’s “Nevermind” may have been the latest album on anyone’s list. I think this is because late teens to early twenties is prime listening to music time for the average person. They’re young, hanging out, partying, and listening to music. Music is also marketed heavily to this crowd. If you are eighteen companies come to you with music. Ninety percent of radio stations are aimed at your age group. There is no escape.

Most people stop listening to much new music after a certain age. I think this age is around twenty six. They still may listen to music but it will be the music of their youth. It takes time to find new music and more time to listen and get used to it. Time people don’t have anymore as they get married, get jobs, and have kids. Since most pop music is made and marketed for teenagers an older person really has to hunt for something new. Finding music is effortless when you are eighteen and effortful when you are twenty eight. Only music fans or genre fans find the new stuff then. When twenty eight year olds gather for a party they put on the music of their youth. The same with thirty eight year olds. They have less time to party and want to get in the mood quickly with familiar music.

I consider myself a music fan. I’m not into a specific genre of music and I am always on the lookout for something new. I’m not a hardcore music fan as are others I know but I get by. I have had a hard time finding new music in the past few years. I used to buy CDs just by their description but as the price of CDs rose to around twenty dollars I stopped that practice. I used to have a subscription to a magazine called College Music Journal which came with a CD every month filled with new music. But like many subscriptions it got too expensive and I let it lapse. Plus the age of the MP3 was on us and CDs became cumbersome. Bootlegging stuff from the internet is fine if you want to listen to the same music everyone else listens to but it is hard to find new stuff that way. For a couple of years not much new music came my way. Now I’ve started cruising iTunes. It’s not bad for finding new music. I can sample a lot of things and buy a few songs for buck a piece. I recommend it. So put your ear to the ground and listen.