This week I had the privilege of interviewing Brent Milligan for my VIP members. He’s a professional producer/musician here in Nashville. Over the course of 45 minutes, he said so many things that I thought were just fantastic. I told him we could do a separate interview on EACH of those topics, there was so much good information.

Towards the end of the interview, I asked Brent if he had any final advice for aspiring producers. He told us a couple of things, but one thing particularly stuck out. He said, “Always be listening to good music.”

Now, you may be thinking to yourself Umm…yeah. That’s a no-brainer. But I’m always surprised at how little I focus on listening to good music as a way to get better. I still think of the music on my iPod like most normal people do — entertainment, something to listen to while driving, at a party, or mowing the lawn.

But as Brent so quickly pointed out, listening to good music is one of the best ways to feed your creative self. I don’t go out and find new music NEARLY as much as I should. Brent said he tries to buy a new album every week. Now for you that may be the norm, or maybe that seems like too much, or something you can’t quite afford. That’s fine.

The point here is to reevaluate HOW you’re feeding both the producer AND engineer inside of you. When I asked Brent the question, I expected him to give some sort of technical advice. Really work on mic placement. Or maybe: Get as much mixing practice as you can. Instead, he said to always be finding and listening to good music.

iTunes is a great place to start. The homepage shows you the latest and greatest music. But if you’re not in a place where you can shell out $10 every week for new music, you need to check out Noisetrade.com. Noisetrade is a simple online service where musicians give away their music in exchange for an email address. You can “tip” the artist up to $100 if you want, but there’s absolutely no obligation. You can download 100 albums for free if you want.

These aren’t all mainstream artists, but there are some amazing albums to find…all free.

So there, you have no excuse not to be listening to new music. In fact, I’m heading over to Noisetrade now to download some new music to listen to while getting ready for the Recording Acoustic Guitar class that starts today.

How do YOU find new music? Share with us!

  • I tried out noise trade, I love it! great suggestion. I would also like to refer ReverbNation. some artists do include free music

    • Yeah, I used NoiseTrade to help promote my album last year. Very cool idea.

  • Anonymous

    I 2nd Spotify. Freaking amazing. Pandora is my number 2.

  • rick

    Subscription services are good too.  MOG and Spotify (and Spotify has a free option).  But for $5/mo you can get millions of songs on your desktop, for $10/mo that adds higher quality and the ability to stream on your mobile phone too.