Resources for Music Researchers
by Alex Cosper
I enjoy compiling resources for whatever research I do, and since music is what I like to research
the most, I will share with you my favorite places to surf on the web. When it comes to the music
biz, then the best places for relevant current information are the trade publications such as
Billboard.com and Billboard.biz, in which I have been an online subscriber, Radio & Records and
All Access. There are many more trades to choose from but
they usually all report much of the same current information. I have my own resource of interviews
I did with industry leaders when I wrote for a division of the Album Network from 1997 to 2001.
When I want to learn about artist or song information, Wikipedia tends
to be a solid place to start, as I try to stay aware that this is content that sometimes came from the public.
Record labels are the root of the official latest news on their artists. The four major labels,
Universal Music Group, Sony BMG
Entertainment, EMI Group and
Warner Music Group, are represented by the Recording Industry Association of America or the RIAA,
which publishes a lot of economic data on the music industry. It is this group that certifies platinum awards for products
shipping in the millions. To learn about the history of the major labels click here.
Learning about radio dial positions in every major market was the work of years of experience
in the industry, usually guided by news in the above trade publications. Most of the information
I did not already have came from the station websites themselves, which was easy to find
through Google and Yahoo.
The source of much radio news comes from the leading radio chains such as
My knowledge deepened with Radio-Locator, a database created by the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Learning about actual on-air playlists of specific radio
stations can be found at Yes.com. For information about the history
of radio stations in America click here.
When I want to learn new music formats or listen to new music I have found Apple's iTunes
to be one of the best places where I can at least sample the music. I now buy most of my music through iTunes,
because it's quick, easy and affordable. There are many great websites to choose from for music research, so make your own list of resources.
That's what this website is about: helping you organize your own research.
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