No matter what age you are, you probably encounter people talking about how much better music used to be or how bad it is now. You may also run into the occasional person talking about how music is only now just getting good, but that's far more rare. Both types of people are right, but only partially.
Really, while it might be harder to make a living as a music artist these days, there has never been a better time to be a music fan. No matter what type of music you like, there is a ton of stuff you'll likely love out there. The only difference is that you may have to work a little harder to find music that truly speaks to you.
The Way Music Used to Work
The ways you would find and hear music used to be fairly limited. There was the radio, and there was the occasional juke box, and for the most part that was it. With the advent of the cassette tape came the mixtape, which let people share songs with each other, but even that was limited.
Then, assuming you'd managed to find music you wanted to hear, you were limited in how you'd be able to purchase any. Early on, your local record store was it, or if you were lucky, you had a mailorder catalog. Even with the advent of the internet, you were limited to 15 or 30 seconds of a few songs to decide if you wanted to buy new music.
Even if you had unlimited money and a way of finding new music, you had to hope that someone was making the music you wanted to hear. After all, being in a band wasn't easy, nor was getting a record made.
How Music Works Now
Being in a band used to be much tougher than it is now, and being a solo artist was essentially impossible unless you were "discovered." Now, all you need is a laptop, a microphone, and some software. Combine that with some talent and drive, and you can make all the music you want.
Putting your music out there is even easier. With services like Bandcamp you can sell music directly to fans, while services like CD Baby, TuneCore, and Distrokid let you get your music on iTunes, Spotify, and nearly any other streaming service you can think of.
There are still gatekeepers, or at least there are still people who would very much like to be gatekeepers. That said, anyone with an idea can get their ideals out there now, which means a cornucopia of available music.
Too Much of a Good Thing? Never!
The ease with which anyone can put their music out there means there is a whole lot to sort through. Yes, this means there is a fair amount of music out there that you aren't going to like. There's even some that most people aren't going to like.
By the same token, all this music means that you're even more likely to find some you really like. Take 15 or so songs or albums that you really like, and you may even find some that speak to you in a way that other music doesn't. You just need to work a little harder to find those gems.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Learn to Dig and Dig Deep
In the old days, searching for music was something like going into your local comic book shop. Yeah, you'll have to search through the stacks, but it's doable. Now it's like several big box retailers stacked on top of each other a few dozen stories high: you'll need some help to figure out where to look.
Fortunately, there are several sites and tools out there designed to help you do exactly this. For an idea where to start, take a look at our list of our favorite music discovery services.