How can I keep track of my favorite musicians?
I live for music and have a ton of different musicians and bands that I want to keep track of. I know I can go to somewhere like Google News + Technorati and create dozens of searches, but, man, it's the 21st century, surely there's an easier way?
I too am a musician afficianado, though I don't know that I "live" for music in quite the same way you do! Fortunately, however, I know about Earfeeder.com, a cool [beta] application built by a local chap here in Colorado.
Let me show you how it works and I'll bet you'll go ahead and sign up for the service before you even finish reading this blog entry!
First off, obviously, you need to go to the site, where you'll see this easy button:
It turns out that Earfeeder will scan all of the music on your computer to find what musicians you like, so the next step is that it wants to download and run a small Java applet. HOpefully, you'll see something like this:
Click "Trust" or "Okay" or "Accept" or the equivalent and sit back... it'll take a few minutes and scan through your hard drive to find all the music you've got stored:
It took just a few minutes for the applet to scan my pretty huge music library (5337 tracks, 28GB of music). Once done, it then presents you with a list of artists -- think "search patterns" -- and you have the ability to uncheck those you don't really want to track or, in my case, those artists that are dead and unlikely to be releasing new albums or on the concert circuit (like ABBA) (I can't believe I'm admitting that I have ABBA in my library! :-)
You can also use the shortcuts of having the program only checking those artists for whom you have at least five songs, or at least 10 songs, which is helpful to quickly weed out the one-track wonders you might have downloaded from the iTunes Music Store or equivalent.
When I'm done going through my list and unchecking the hundred or so that I don't want to track, I click on "Submit" and Earfeeder automatically builds a customized RSS feed for me. Trés Cool!
I use NewsGator Online, so just clicked on "+ Newsgator" and am subscribed. In the feed reader, I get a nice introductory message:
And I get two different kinds of additional feed entries for matching artists. First, concert information:
Not to sound mean, but I didn't realize that Etta James was still on the concert circuit! Nice to know, actually.
The other type of information are album matches from the iTunes Music Store's "New Releases" feed:
I'm still learning the in's and out's of Earfeeder, but so far, it seems very slick, and seems like exactly what you're seeking too. Hope it helps you out!
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