NPR logo What Gets Us Out The Door, Onto The Floor, And To The Record Store?

The Decade In Music: '00s

What Gets Us Out The Door, Onto The Floor, And To The Record Store?

The survey continues!

Here's another question we sent out to various people in the music, arts and entertainment communities:

What is the most effective thing a band or label can do to make you listen to their music?

Whether it's word of mouth, seeing a band live or stumbling upon an artist's YouTube video, most everyone agrees that the best way to be heard is to be good. Read what our respondents said and feel free to share what gets you to check out new music.

Chris Lyons, musician, The Carrots:
Go about distributing it in an unusual way. I don't even notice the usual ways anymore. I think a band could hide their tapes around town like Easter eggs. If I found a tape in a cranny I would immediately be curious about it and run home and put it on. What would it be? Did a crazy person leave it there? Is it a suicide note on tape? I would appreciate the inventiveness and assume that the music might be equally as inventive.

Isaac Bess, Business Development, IODA Alliance:

Be a friend of a friend. I will always check out anything that's recommended to me by a peer whose taste I trust. This is a very humbling industry, there's always someone who knows more.

Douglas Wolk, writer:
Make it NEW. I've listened to many thousands of albums in my life, and nothing makes me hit the stop button faster than a warmed-over version of something I've heard before. And I have enough recordings I love already that I basically have no time for anything that doesn't make me say "I've never heard anything like this!"

Andrew Leland, managing editor, Believer Magazine:
Record an amazing album, play amazing concerts in the city I live in. Attack straw men and set them on fire. Eat healthy, quit smoking. Sell brilliant T-shirts with their name on them.

Rachel Blumberg, musician:
Firs,t I need to be made aware it exists. I don't really look at blogs much to find out about new music. I suppose I leave that to my friends who are truly music geeks.
So some music I find out about is by word-of-mouth. My friend will say, "I think you would love this," so I check it out. I don't particularly listen to music just because of what label it is on. Second, the most effective thing a band can do to make me listen to their music is to make something amazing that either makes me really, really feel something, or that makes music that appeals more to my cerebral side. And THAT is very subjective.

Jon Cohen, co-Founder FADER Media/Cornerstone:
The most effective thing a band can do to make me listen to their music is to make great music. Great music finds its way on the blogs, press, radio, via word of mouth, etc., where I discover most of my new music.

Westin Glass, musician, The Thermals:
Play amazing live shows, and tour a lot. I think if I hear that a band is awesome live, or see them play a great show, it makes me want to hear their record.

James Canty, musician, French Toast, Make Up, Nation of Ulysses:
Keep releasing vinyl, and keep everything affordable.

Josh Madell, Other Music:
Put some craft into it - good songwriting. Edit yourself!

Jim McGuinn, Program Director, KCMP, The Current, Minnesota Public Radio:
Send me an mp3 of the very best song I need to know. Then if like it, be ready to send me more.

Lisa Sonkin, VP/Triple A and Public Radio Promotion:
Impact someone's opinion I respect. I love getting music recommendations from friends and colleagues.

Lance Bangs, director, filmmaker:
Put it out in a way that isn't ugly, unless it is supposed to be ugly.

David Scheid, Band Manager:
Have OJ Da Juiceman guest on it. Not sound like Grizzly Bear.

Alex Cohen, host, All Things Considered on KPCC; contributor, NPR's Song of the Day:
Tell a good story. Have a good hook to their songs.

David Lester, graphic artist; guitar player, Mecca Normal:
The most significant thing a band or label could do in the coming years is to encourage and present musical and lyrical ideas that intend to challenge and change the world.

Lindsey Parker, Editor, Yahoo! Music:
Get a good write-up in NME (yes, I am an Anglophile) or other press I respect; make a video, viral or otherwise, that lands in my inbox; go on tour with a band I really admire, as I usually try to check out opening bands at gigs. I still go with word of mouth over industry hype, as do most real music fans, I think.

Michele Flannery, music manager, You Tube:
Make a great (unique, intriguing) video. These days I discover a lot of new music via video - it's a work hazard.

Kathy Foster, musician, The Thermals:
Having music available to checkout online before buying is great (i.e. MySpace). Though I really dislike MySpace for other reasons.

Tim Quirk, VP of Music Programming, Rhapsody:
Be great. There is not an ounce of snark in that answer, by the way. There's just too much good stuff to waste more than a couple of minutes on music that doesn't convince me it is, or will shortly become, fantastic.

Chris Pugmire, singer, writer:
Play shows that don't cost too much money and don't be a prick. Mystery is better than overexposure. Also, have some ideas. Labels should try to encourage those kind of bands instead of the ones that suck but make $$$.

Slim Moon, Shotclock Management; Founder, Killrockstars Records:
"Make" me is a pretty strong word. I suppose they could do this at gun point or tie me up. I prefer to listen to music I choose to listen to rather than music I am made to listen to. I guess the way they could make me listen is by letting me think I'm choosing to listen.

Megan Holmes, photographer:
Make is available for online so that Pandora picks it up.

Chris Sutton, musician, The Gossip:
Have their bands play shows all the time in my area.

Tristan Aaron, Media Director, Women's Media Center:
Have a super catchy song. If I hear it even once, (I'm looking at you, Kid Cudi's "Make Her Say"), I will find it and love it forever. I remember the first time I heard Outkast. I was in a bar in Oakland, and the DJ played "Bombs Over Baghdad" and I immediately asked what it was and bought it the next day.