Just as there have never been so many opinions at your disposal as a listener, there have never been so many quality opinions at your disposal. There have never been so many well-informed and well-articulated opinions at your disposal, and the barrier to entry is no longer employment at a newspaper or magazine but the bloody-minded determination and audacity required to start a blog. But taking advantage of all those sources to guide your own buying and listening habits requires a degree of effort that audiences of previous generations didn’t have to worry about. You can find critics whose tastes and values mirror your own to a degree that a listener even 20 years ago could not have imagined, but you’ll have to do a lot of clicking and reading to figure out just which ones are for you.

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“The most significant feature of the emergent popular music industry of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the extent of its focus on the commodity form of sheet music” The availability of inexpensive, widely available sheet music versions of popular songs and instrumental music pieces made it possible for music to be disseminated to a wide audience of amateur music-makers, who could play and sing popular music at home. In addition to the influence of sheet music, another factor was the increasing availability during the late 18th and early 19th century of public popular music performances in “pleasure gardens and dance halls, popular theatres and concert rooms”.

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We just announced a handful of new tour dates in support of our latest album. Check ’em out here. See you down the road.

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When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, each person who knew enough about his music and his life to have an opinion on either (that is to say, pretty much everyone all over the world) was forced to decide: Did his personal behavior detract from the value of the music he made? Did the increasingly bizarre plastic surgery make the pulsing beat of “Billie Jean” less danceable? Did the allegations of child abuse make “Man in the Mirror” less true? More than a year later, there is no clear consensus, and likely there never will be.

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