The Pop Music Academy
980 Hope St.
Stamford, CT 06907
www.thepopmusicacademy.comChristine Occhino founded the Pop Music Academy in her native Stamford in January 2012. A music industry veteran who worked at Sony Music Entertainment, as well as an accomplished singer and dancer, Occhino has used her knowledge and experience to build a truly modern music school. The Pop Music Academy offers voice, instrument and songwriting classes, training in audio and video production and engineering and courses on the music business. An expert in all those areas, instructor Aaron Staniulis is also the Academy’s general manager. These are Occhino and Staniulis’s best sources for finding the best new music.
Social MediaSocial media isn’t just great for catching up with friends, it can also catch you up on current music. As Staniulis explains, “Between their Instagrams and Twitter and things like that, a lot of people I know find out about new things coming along that way. You can subscribe specifically to what you’re interested in and that can help to filter.” Occhino suggests YouTube is also great for keeping up with new artists, who in turn expose fans to other acts. “Artists like a Tori Kelly or Alessia Cara: they’ll find new stuff and do a cover, and it’s like an obscure artist from Sweden.”
SpotifyThe popular digital streaming service Spotify is a prime source for the latest albums and songs according to Occhino: “They have a ‘Discover’ tab in their options, and it brings up new music.” As Staniulis says, “It can help introduce you to things you’d be interested in based off of what you’ve already listened to.” A premium subscription to the site costs $9.99 a month, giving you unlimited access to millions of songs in high definition and no ads.
ShazamAll of us have had a moment when a particular tune we hear catches our ear, and we immediately want to know what it is; that’s when Shazam comes in handy. It is a song identification app that you point towards the music you are hearing; it then records an audio sample and provides you with the artist and title information. Occhino says Shazam is perfect for when you are intrigued by a new song you hear on a favorite show. Staniulis continues, “I know a lot of people who will be out to dinner or at a store, and they hear the music they are playing over the system and say ‘I really like this; what is this?'” and then they can find out through Shazam.
SoundcloudThere’s a wealth of new tracks and up-and-coming artists to be found on the website Soundcloud. Staniulis says, “From an artist’s perspective, there is no cost for entry, so a lot of people who may not be able to get their music out other places are gonna be able to get their music out there.” Occhino adds, “A lot of people have been able to come up [through Soundcloud]. People put their mixtapes that are semi-professionally done; it gives them the opportunity to have such a wide range of audiences.” Visitors to the site are able to save and share songs and DJ sets and create playlists.
DaytrotterAnyone interested in artists working outside the mainstream will want to check out another website, Daytrotter. “They really shine a spotlight on the dark corners of the music industry, anything that’s not necessarily a Top 40 hit; they shy away from that,” explains Staniulis. The site features recording sessions from alternative acts working in styles from folk to EDM. “They cover a huge range of genres; whatever you’re into, there’s going to be something new you can find on Daytrotter.”