How do you start listening to songs?
So I'm a teenager, who, surprise surprise, has never listened to songs or actually properly understood why people love music so much. All my friends say it's awesome, but I never understood how they find songs. Are there legit websites where you can download them? Do you need an app or what? Can you store songs in your phone? All my life I've been watching people with earphones in and wondering. ... sigh. .I know this is crazy but I've never been a social person. So can somebody help this silly newbie out?
Why do you want to get into music? Maybe your thing is horse-riding, or cheese, or chemistry, and you get the same buzz from those things as others do from music?
If you're starting from zero, a logical place to start to hear some music nowadays would be Youtube and/or a streaming service like Spotify (or Pandora, if you have it in your region). All you need is a computer or smartphone (with an app, yes, that you can easily download from the respective app store) and an internet connection (and a pair of speakers or headphones, of course).
But from what you say, it seems your main difficulty will not be how to access the music, but how to develop your music appreciation taste and preferences.
In this regard I suggest you try for a while the approach that's called "deep listening".
Set some time to listen to music and actually really listen to it, i.e., for a few minutes you set aside, say, half an hour, don't do other things than listening to music. Try to focus on what you're hearing and the sensations or feelings that you get. Try to identify some specific details (for example a melodie, a ryhtm, specific sounds, or instruments, the lyrics,etc.) that interest you and focus your attention on these details (not too many at the same time, just one or two). What happens to these aspects along the song or piece? Do they show any additional surprises? Do they tell a "story" all by them selves"? Do they become uninteresting after a while? (look for other points of interest, then, or just change to a different piece).
This can be done with any style or genre or piece of music that interests you. Try it with different genres and see what you like the most. If you don't know at all where to start, ask for recommendations from your friends and family, look in youtube for the soundtrack of a film you like, or just tune a radio station (maybe that's not too fashionable, but it's still a good way to get to know new music and if you don't have an FM tuner, you can still listen to an Internet "radio" station on line). Any starting point is as good as another, a having few different ones is preferable.
Do this for a while, say every day or a few days a week, for 1 or 2 weeks.
Hopefully this will be a pleasant experience for you and raise your interest. After a while you'll be looking for mores pieces that are similar to the ones you enjoyed the most (Pandora is very good for that, as once you tell it a song that you like, it will look for and play you similar songs).
If it doesn't work, that's totally ok. This approach may not suit you, or if music is just not for you, the world is full of interesting things, so that's not a drama in itself. There may be other approaches than the one I'm suggesting, of course, that I hope someone will put forward.
Thank you! I've already been finding some songs on YouTube but couldn't find out how to download them. Since my parents are somewhat touchy on internet bills, could you tell me some ways to store songs so you can listen to them anytime? If you know apps where you can get that stuff free, can you please mention? Thanks.
Streaming services don't offer to let you download songs, as that is not included normally in the distribution agreement they have, and they need you to get their advertising to pay for the licensing of the music. To download, generally you need to purchase the songs in a commercial outlet (iTunes, Amazon, and others). Some independent artists offer a few songs for download on their own sites (or the Soundcloud platform), but not many, as they too prefer to know who and when listens to their music, even if their offering it for free.
@Jayne as a *technical* solution, you can use a service like http://www.youtube-mp3.org/ to download audio tracks from youtube videos. (The *legality* of this will vary based on many factors so this is not necessarily a way to obtain a track legally - but we can't give legal advice here.)
@joseem, when you get Spotify premium, it is possible to download music for offline listening
Jacob, I'm not a subscriber mysef, but as per Spotify advertisements (https://www.spotify.com/us/premium/), yes, you can downnload and stores the song files in your computer or device. A possible caveat, I don't know if this is applicable to all world regions, as rights acquired by Spotify in theory may not be the same for all parts of the world. But at least in US and Europe it seems to be that way (you can download)
Downloading songs for free is generally illegal, unless the artist or their label has specifically offered it for free. It is also unethical, because it means the artist doesn't make any money. With that said, Amazon.com has a large number of excellent free samplers that are provided to them by record labels as a form of advertising for their artists. These cover a wide range of very different genres (styles) of music, and range from mainstream stars to complete unknowns.
If you want to buy mainstream music, I believe that iTunes and Amazon both pass on relatively large percentages to the artists. For independent artists, sites like Bandcamp usually pass through a larger percentage at a lower price point --some artists on Bandcamp or Soundcloud even offer "pay what you want" options. Streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are generally considered to not pay artists at an adequate level, but they ARE legal.
Pretty much any modern phone stores and plays back music. Most sites, such as Amazon, publish music in the mp3 format, which can be played on pretty much any device (usually with an app that comes with the device, but alternatively with any one of innumerable free and pay apps that play mp3s). iTunes music is delivered in a different format (MP4), which can be played natively on many, but not all devices.
Just to clarify, iTunes music has neither DRM, nor is in a proprietary format, so the claim that iTunes music can only be played on iTunes or apple products is incorrect - it can be played on any device that supports the MP4 format.
Older iTunes music did have DRM, but I guess that's been gone for a while. I haven't personally had much luck coaxing iTunes tracks to play on non-Apple devices, but I have updated my answer to match your comment.