How do you decide on new music to buy?

What prompts you to buy new music, especially music from artists you're not familiar with? One of my favorite ways is to pick up on a thread or a review of an artist or genre that sounds interesting, and then head over to to read about them and similar bands. I often then buy a CD from the ones that sound most interesting and have received high ratings at that site. It isn't bullet-proof by a long shot, but I've found a lot of good music I wouldn't otherwise necessarily have found.

What's your strategy?

Radio is definitely not the venue of choice - there is way too many ways to listen to music (new or familiar) without putting up with commercials.

I'm somewhat limited in that I have very few acquaintances who actually actively participate in music - hence, very little sharing of "finds". I do occassionally follow up on titles mentioned by reviewers and have found some good stuff that way.

One way I do NOT try out new music is the end-of-the-aisle highlight CD's with all the exciting description. Usually it's tied to a listening station, but I'd say that less than 10% of these highlighted CDs I've ever purchased have proven satisfactory.

I like the suggestion (and realize that I use it to an extent myself) of paying close attention to certain labels. This not only often leads to interesting new music, but often recording quality is somewhat consistent from one release to another. -Kirk

I wish the music industry would encourage CD libraries ... like Blockbuster or Hollywood, but for music. The CDs they loan could be digitally copy protected up the wazoo (ie special discs .. not the usual discs) to prevent piracy.
I suggest a charge of $1 per week per CD borrowed.

I used to work at a company where the employees had formed an LP library. I'm sure according to music industry execs this was highly illegal. However the chance to listen to new artists who I would never have otherwise considered led me to buy more new albums and get into more music than I would ever have otherwise done.

The music industry is killing music by ....
1) Trying to kill online mp3 sharing, instead of using it to generate interest. Offering no way to "try before you buy".
2) overpricing CDs ... $16 is ridiculous (especially for back catalog albums of dead artists)
3) Over promotion anf over hyping of talentless teen bands, to the exclusion of all else.
4) Fighting their demise with litigation and copy protection technology which just hurts consumers and does not affect the professional CD pirates.
Down here in New Orleans we're blessed with a wonderful FM station: WWOZ. This station is volunteer based, not college affiliated, and plays a variety of roots, folk, blues, and jazz music.

The various shows are done by DJ's who love the music and often bring in obscure treasures from their personal collections. The mix includes both local New Orleans and national/international releases.

As a jazz fan, I usually listen to the evening jazz shows on my ride home. It's a rare week when I don't hear a new artist or CD that I just HAVE to have!

I've seen no other station like it in my travels from coast to coast.

BTW they now webcast - check out
I find things i am interested in by listening to my local public radio station and checking their playlist on their website. then I will listen to song samples or entire songs on other websites to find music that I like. I also check cd's from many public libraries in my area.