How do you choose music, games and other media

choosing music

We are living in a changing dynamic, probably the rate of change is faster than ever, we can experience and witness mass convergence regularly. We can find ourselves exposed to more and more content from a variety of channels and mediums.

Some of us enjoy being part of a “tight-knit” community defended with furious passion, some of us enjoy only obtaining independent music, some of us only enjoying watching web TV, some of us only enjoy open source software and many of us stick to one vendor with impressive loyalty.

In all of this choice and preference this very weekend we saw Apple release their new operating system Leopard, and I’ve personally seen a frenzy take place, a buzz, a rush to the store.

Now what I find interesting in this (and I’m struggling with the conflict so need your thoughts), is that I’d call Apple a MAINSTREAM provider, nothing independent, and in fact they mostly choose mainstream channels for advertising for their product, nothing particularly social going on, from what I can see, I may be wrong.

But I’m digressing slightly this post is not about Apple it is an attempt to get to the core reasons about why YOU choose your music, where do you hear about new music, what makes you buy it, what makes you purchase a new game, a new download, what media or advertising works for you?

I want total honesty here from you, does the TV work for you, does the weekly magazine work for you, does the X-Factor, do you buy a new single cause you hear it on mainstream radio, do you buy a film because it is in the box office charts, the billboard charts, what penetrates your buying decision?

How do you choose your media?

About The Author

Chris Hambly

I offer a variety of training courses for building a business and generating income. I went from the kitchen table to selling my first online business for half a million dollars, ($500,000). I'd like to show you how you can do this too. Sign up for free lessons, I'll show you how to build a business.

  • Personally, I don’t buy much commercial music. I haven’t bought a CD in 2 years, though I do buy stuff from and – mostly because of the genre specifics and the fact that I can listen all the way through. I do occasionally download via BitTorrent (I know, naughty), but this is normally for stuff that I’m going to purchase legally anyway (remember, BitTorrent delivers faster than Royal Mail) – so in a perverse way I’m evaluating with the intention of buying. I don’t do OiNK, I used to snag some rare stuff from, but that’s about it.

    TV and magazines/newspapers don’t coerce me into buying anything – if I see a new album from an artist I like, I’ll read reviews online rather than just one in the paper. All told, I don’t read a newspaper, very occasionally on a Sunday when I have more time, but my news comes from online places.

    I am an Apple devotee. I have been since OS 9. I have iPods, I occasionally buy music from iTMS, but no more than 1 album/year. The vast majority of my music collection is podsafe independent netlabel stuff – there’s no stigma, there’s no worries about the RIAA/MPAA/BPI/etc knocking on my door asking where I got stuff from. And this stuff is really, really good. I don’t have real boundaries of what constitutes “my” music – if it’s good, and I like it, I make it mine. And then it gets heavy rotation and further promotion where applicable.

  • eaon pritchard

    i’m not a gamer so I can only speak about music.
    50% probably from friends recommendations, 20% reviews from publications or sites who’s opinion i trust (ie Mojo, Straight No Chaser, Q things like that), the rest made up from things like itunes guest playlists and radio (how old school!) and randomly hearing things.
    Also if theres someone who’s music I have that guests on another artists record I’ll probably check it out.

    • Gary Day

      I buy an obscene amount of my music.. enough to make even my five year old roll her eyes.
      I tend to follow a trail from one band/artist to another.. guest artists, the bassists *other band* etc.
      I’ll find influences in a record that I share with the artist.. so I look deeper into it and pull out their other influences and check them out.
      Even in this day and age I still have to go mail order or trawl backstreet indie stores (whenever I can find them).

      As for Apple.
      It’s just love.

      • chrishambly

        Gary nice one.

        But where do you discover this, does someone tell you, does a friend, does any mainstream influence your buying or interest at all, what channel sparks the interest??

        Regarding Apple do you see the irony of it being mainstream?

        • Gary Day

          Not sure about it being ironic.
          I tend to believe in what I perceive to be the “right tools for the right job”.
          I use Macs domestically, home movies, photography, making music.
          My iMac has a very small footprint and it’s reliable.

          I use Linux for work, it’s appropriate for the particular job I’m doing.
          I also like Linux (as a hobby) because of the fact I can make it do things, add new software, change it’s job entirely, wipe it and start again without having to worry about my license, or going through some reactivation process that’s going to make me feel like a criminal or running up a bill for software I just decided I didn’t like.

          Not sure what kicked off the music thing in the first place but rumor has it that it all start about the age of eleven with Black Sabbath’s “Masters Of Reality”.

          I find music in all sorts of places, Last.FM is pretty cool.
          Friends are good at putting me onto stuff as well.
          Curiosity is the best tool.. I’ll follow even the most tenuous link if there’s even the slightest chance it’s going to stimulate that part of my brain.

          • Gary Day

            I tend to return from Festivals with a rucksack full of records and CDs too.

    • chrishambly

      Like this Eaon..

      So, this 50%, would they be online friends or predominantly offline relationships over a pint in the pub, or both?

  • chrishambly

    Pete good stuff here..

    Can I probe this a bit?

    “I don’t have real boundaries of what constitutes “my” music – if it’s good, and I like it, I make it mine”

    So would that include mainstream commercial releases too, or have you decided that you simply don’t do mainstream from a principle?

    • Chris said:
      “So would that include mainstream commercial releases too, or have you decided that you simply don’t do mainstream from a principle?”

      No principles at all 🙂 Or rather, it’s not a principle of “if it’s mainstream it’s shit”. There are some mainstream acts that I like listening to – Orbital and Prodigy was the reason I got into electronic in the first place. The difference is I don’t purchase commercial music. Owning (or having, or leasing, or licencing or whatever) commercial music assumes money has changed hands from me to the label and/or artist. There’s a paradox where I don’t listen to much commercial music and don’t buy much commercial music, but wouldn’t routinely steal it from a torrent site to avoid paying for it. The way I see it, an artists ascertains a value for his/her work. If I buy a Lily Allen CD from Tesco, I pay <10GBP. Tesco get a bit of my money, the label get a bit, the distie get a bit, Lily might see a few pence. When I have this CD, I can listen to it over and over, I can play it on the car (but don't let anyone overhear it – that's public broadcasting…and that needs a PRS/MCPS licence), I can listen to it at home, I can lend it to my buddy to listen to. When I listen to it, I know the album cost me <10GBP and I think about what went into the production of it. In the back of my mind, I know the traditional music industry is buckling and things will change to a different model in time (don't know what or when).

      When I download a legally sanctioned CC track, I might download an entire label's worth of output in one go. I might never listen to stuff I download, filtering out the stuff that's not for me. I know some dude in his/her bedroom has made what I'm listening to. I know the netlabel is essentially releasing and promoting for free, and the artist has not made any money from me directly. I am more likely to support an indie netlabel artist by buying a CD or PayPaling a few bucks over.

      In the tech industry, most people I know of have pirated Windows (retail software – tens/hundreds of quid), yet will pay real money for Linux/Unix CD sets. I'm by no means a Linux nut – far from it, I'm Mac through and through, but when there's no stigma attached to the music you're listening to, and you can put a value on the music yourself, it's infinitely more enjoyable.

      By the by, I get approached by record labels with commercial promos to play on bleepshow and I generally politely decline – somewhere down the line it'll be launched as a CD/12"/DRM'd download, then there's a grey area of whether what I played is still legally safe.

      Another slant: charge me a tenner for an album and I'll be limited by my wallet. Let me get a shitload for free and I'll work out what works for me and support the artist directly.

      (Reading this back makes me sound like a bit of an arse – this isn't true :))

  • Miss Geeky

    Okay, I’ll split this up in a couple of segments, cause it really depends on the product how I’m influenced.

    Most of my music I find through watching movies and tv-series. After watching a movie I realise I liked the music and get the soundtrack. With tv-series it goes a bit different; I watch an episode, realise I like a song, find out from who it is and get the album of that artist. Most of the time I do that first via torrents, just to see if it’s any good or not. If I like it, I’ll buy it. Then next to that I’ll buy the occasional radio/ad/chart album; I don’t follow/listen radio or charts, but sometimes you get bombarded with a certain song everywhere you go and you end up liking the song.

    I read a lot of reviews of movies (on blogs), months before they’re coming out. Based on what I heard I decide if I want to see it or not. With some films I know I’ll watch it no matter what; so I’ll avoid anything about the film, especially trailers. Ads on tv don’t work for me it all. I’ll only buy a dvd of a movie if I know I’ll want to watch it more then once.

    I’ll only buy the games of series that I’m following (Final Fantasy, Tombraider, Kingdom Hearts).

    in general, advertisement doesn’t influence my buying choices. I know before buying something if I like it or not through blogs, tv-series/movies or past experience. Even when considering buying a camera or books, I’ll first look it up on the internet and find some reviews. I think the only products where I am influenced are fashion related: shoes and clothes.

    • chrishambly

      This is fantastic.

      Miss Geeky can I “drill-down” a bit on this, (that’s a wanky phrase I know)

      “in general, advertisement doesn’t influence my buying choices.”

      So if the ad is embedded into the content, i.e. the TV series or Film, you know THE content itself, you are then likely to be influenced to purchase?

      Regarding fashion, what might be your main sources there?

  • Barbara Jean

    My son Channing Kennedy (a.k.a. MC Cat Genius) is my chief advisor on music. When he was in high school, he took efforts to make sure I was able to make reasonable comments to his friends about music, and now — 10 years later — he continues to feed me info about what’s hot and what’s not, at least in his world. Outside of that, I listen to Sirius Satellite radio, but more often to the jazz or R&B stations. And I am pleasantly surprised by how often someone’s blog will have a “what I’m listening to” link to an artiste I’d not heard of before (Amy Winehouse comes to mind) and I’m hooked. And I also, from time to time, have my curiosity piqued by a story on public radio, and continue to do research on my own.

  • Matty Smith

    I am probably not terribly useful in your straw poll but for what it’s worth:

    * I buy music (full CDs and never singles) mostly having heard live performances by the artists concerned or, failing that, occasionally after hearing them (or the music) on radio – never TV. I don’t browse CDs – I only purchase with a specific item in mind

    * I just don’t buy films or games

    * Now books would be another thing altogether – but not in your focus of interest it seems…..

  • Jason Jarrett

    Ok, I listen to music on the Podsafe Music Network and on podcasts. I don’t have a radio or a tv. I buy music if I like it, it has to sound good and preferably have some kind of emotional pull of some sort.
    I don’t buy games anymore because I don’t have the time to play them (wonderful wife, 3 children and 4 podcasts).
    I am not influenced by tv or mass media. I am influenced by people I trust on the internet, word of mouth has the biggest sway for me.
    Re Apple, it just works and gets better and better, people like that and don’t want to miss out on the advantage each OS update has given.

  • Jo McCafferty

    Games – never bought one. Well, I did download a deal or no deal game onto my phone once to show my hsusband how to do it. But i went looking for games and recognised the name of it.

    Music – mostly I buy music as a result of going to a gig (normally recommended by a friend, or by chance) and liking what i hear. Or through watching films, and liking the soundtrack. If I like a song from a soundtrack i may buy the whole soundtrack, just buy the album by the artist, or both. I don’t download music now (i used to when RealPlayer free let you!), frankly it’s too confusing for me and would welcome some proper site recommendations. The other way is normally because i have heard it on the radio (can’t name names as my husband changes the station so often in the car i have no idea who played what on what station). Other purchases have been made by bored trawling of my space sites.

    advertising rarely works for me for music, unless it is a clip of music i like. it only works if I already have music by the person. Radio play to me is probably the best advertising for music and i can go and buy what I have heard (if they every bother telling you at the end!).

    For films, trailers work, posters work, tv works. If the trailer is good, I will perhaps watch the film on tv. if I like it I will buy the DVD. If an advert for a film comes up on say IMDB or a film company’s site, then I will likely look more into it and find out what it is about and view clips before buying. i don’t download films, as before, i have no idea how or where and I personally prefer the feel of a dvd in my hand. If a friend with (in my view) good taste in films recommends a film I am likely to buy before seeing.

    Weekly magazines don’t work for me for purchasing.
    The X Factor does not work for me. But that’s a whole different subject…and I left my soapbox at home today.
    Box office charts do not influence me, but the knock on effect of increased awareness might.

    Hope this is of use.

  • Asha

    I spend quite alot of time in the car, so I am always flicking between different radio stations and get to hear what’s new or coming out with music and movies. Other sources include, what the kids see on TV music channels, recommendations from friends, movie sound tracks or something I may have heard in the pub!
    If I like I’ll download it from ITunes…infact I search quite alot of stuff out from ITunes. I occasionally still buy the odd CD, not sure why, old sckool habit, I guess!
    Previews at the cinema that go on for forever before the film starts can sometimes instigate interest to see/buy movies..

    As for games, Aaron reads the Play Station Worldwide magazine for up to date news on what coming out in the near future. He also trades alot of his old games in Game and Game Station. They’re quite good at recommending new stuff. If he doesn’t like them he just takes them back and trades again…Other sources, again friends, TV, playstation online…


    • Unknown Rockstar

      I walk thru life and find myself being attracted to certain things because they stike a chord somewhere within me. If its music I usually want to revisit the feeling a song may have made me feel. If it’s a game or a movie then somehow my curiousity has been awoken.

      • chrishambly

        I like the way you move through life, it sounds like a really absorbant way, eyes and eyes open.


  • Diana Vickers

    X Factor does it for me, I love that show.

    • chrishambly

      What do you like about it?

      Is it not glorified Karaoke?

  • Amanda

    I don’t listen to radio, unless someone else has it on. I might catch a snippet in store etc.
    I listen to what I hear round about and what is recommended and I make up my own mind. I am not swayed by others opinions.
    My choice is my choice and I may be limited in what I am exposed to but I am always open to knew things

    • chrishambly


      I have multiple channels on most of the time, in te car the radio is always on, at home with laptop the TV is on. In my office it’s a bit of everything…

      But being a sound engineer by trade I’m capable at filtering out very easily.

      Thanks for your insight, amanda.

  • amanda

    Don’t the adverts and constant chatter drive you mad though?
    The DJ’s used to have nice calming voices but now they don’t seem to care.
    Ah but then you have the patented Christopher Hambly filter ;o)
    No problem, I have many tags left – what to choose next?

  • Staples

    The world that we all live is had taken a very important turn and we are now living in a technological era. This had advantages and disadvantages, but I would say that we are heading to the wrong destination. People seem to care less and less about their cultural and spiritual evolution. This says it all and I hope that the near future will change into something more pleasant from my point of view.

  • get rid of UTI in 24 hours

    I can’t say that I have exact ways of choosing my music, games or media, but, in general, I choose them if I like them. My personal taste is the most important one.

  • conference calling services

    I didn’t use to choose my music, the TV shows that I watched, they choose me. I took everything that came my way without any deep selection, however from a larger perspective they came together nicely. Nowadays, I search for things that define me as a person, things that help me evolve and always challenge my perspective on life.

  • irfan@everybodys fine movie

    Yes you’re right. It all our decision. I like to hear music and watch movie. For Music i like to hear pop music, I usually listen from radio, MP3 and From CD. I like CD More than tape because if i hear music from CD i can play music that i like. And i hear MP3 if i work at my computer.

    For media, I like to watch TV. I like to watch hollywood box office movie or hongkong movie also i like bollywood movie. For Bollywood movie i like to watch beatufiul indian artist.

    But i am prefer to listen music than watch movie.

  • thermal underwear

    They way I see it, is that Apple does realy mainstream marketing, but they make so great solutions that the social crowd does the marketing for them. Have you ever seen an ipod ad in twitter?

    I usually hear from new music from my friends, but that’s just because I don’t really listen to main stream music… I don’t really watch the TV too much either.