Listening to more and more music

I track music I listen to and enjoy on Rate Your Music. There’s a link to my RYM account on my socials page. It’s a lot of fun to keep a catalog of music you like and a record of your opinions, and RYM makes that easy.

One of the many useful features of Rate Your Music is the ability to add tags to albums. I personally use tags to note what span of my life I first encountered the album in.* I have tags for childhood, middle school, high school, both rounds of college (I went twice), and my current tag is for the first leg of my career.

A selection of my 5/5 albums on RYM

Looking at the relative number of albums in each tag gives me a good idea of the rate at which I listen to new music. More specifically, it represents the rate at which I find albums I like enough to rate, since I mostly don’t rate albums I haven’t listened to extensively. When you account for the relative sizes of each time span represented, my rate of listening has been going up all the time since high school.

This is something I’m kind of proud of. When I was in high school, I was always impressed by people who knew a lot of music, and I wanted to be like that. The more music I listen to, the more I feel like it’s impossible to really engage with the full breadth of what’s out there. But at least I’ve gotten better at finding what I like, and trying new things, which builds my confidence in thinking and talking about music. I know much more about major reference points of musical history and can draw comparisons between music of different eras and genres.

My rate of listening pales in comparison to my younger brother, though. He just listens to so much in so many different genres that I don’t know how I would keep up with him. The scope of genres he’ll listen to is fairly unlimited as well. He tells people that for him, it’s not as much about liking or not liking a genre as much as finding the good stuff within it.

My brother is a big reason I listen to as much music as I do. Maybe half of the new stuff I try is on his recommendation. He inspires me to keep increasing my own musical breadth, and our conversations on music help expand my ideas and vocabulary. I doubt I’ll ever listen as prolifically as he does, but having someone ahead of me keeps driving me forward on my own path.

How much new music do you listen to? Do you have a Rate Your Music account? If so, let’s be friends on there! If not, make one! As always, let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​

* I use a couple other tags: one for albums where every song is good, and another for albums I need to revisit.