i’ve previously mentioned how i find out about new music, now i need to actually listen to it. i’m a big cd buyer, but i hardly ever buy a cd out of the blue without hearing any songs from it. the band would have to be really really really hyped and have a good track record. i can’t think of any cd i’ve bought in the last year or so where i haven’t heard any songs from. so how i go about this is to download entire albums by the artist. this is a shift for me because i always used to be a singles person in that i cared about whether singles sound good rather than albums; but i’m frustrated by having to go through all the trouble on file sharing networks to get a decent quality mp3 of a particular song. so while i did a lot of p2p to get my music before, i never do p2p anymore. i just download full albums from bit torrent.

now that i’ve downloaded the album i give it a listen to see if it’s worth buying. this is the make it or break it point, if i don’t like it then it’ll just sit in a dark corner on my hard drive. otherwise, i’ll buy the cd. for the albums that have hit singles and too much filler (e.g. ashlee simpson); i may save one or two mp3s from their album but for most intents and purposes, i “preview” albums by downloading them and then buy them. that’s right, i’m legit. oh there’s also another way i acquire my music; i “buy” singles off the itunes music store, but only the free single of the week 😉

once i’ve bought the cd, i rip it and import into itunes. depending on a cd, i might rip the entire cd if it’s a band that i think i will like, or i might rip the singles+any other decent tracks of the cd. after that i store the cd, never to open it ever again. if i do buy a cd from an old band, i would rip the songs i know off the cd, and then keep it in my cd player to give it a few revs. after that, i know what the good songs are and what are the forgettable ones, so i rip the ones that are good and then store the cd away.

the ripping process is kinda specific too, and i know you’re all interested to know. i rip my cds using whatever, either itunes or cdex’s ripper; and then encode using lame alt-preset-standard at highest quality over a range of 32bps to 320bps. at this point, i also make sure i tag the mp3s properly. after i have the mp3, i import it into itunes and let that organize my music library.

in the next part of this series, i’ll talk about how i listen to my mp3s.

previous blogs about how i deal with my music:

how i find out about new music
my itunes master playlist
i’m a singles guy philosophy
organizing music in itunes
buying music online is too expensive