In the digital age the means through which music fans and casual enthusiasts can be apprised of ongoing developments in the current music scene have greatly increased in availability and ease of use, with new artists and record labels ascending quickly into the forefront of new music in large part due to the quick methods of exposure they gain access to through popular online sites and services. Though major and long established music acts have frequently seemed confused about the requirements of navigating this very new and different media landscape of the post-analogue era, successful stars of current music have typically manifested a facility with and ability to take advantage of the new opportunities posed by digital means. Music fans who feel they are lagging behind in comfort level and knowledge of new music would do well to attend closely to some of the most avidly followed and respected institutions of the current music world and understand how they can use the various services and functions offered by these sites to their advantage in keeping up with their long established favorites as well as finding new enthusiasms to follow, while people hoping to make an impression as performers or behind-the-scenes professionals in the new music world would also do well to be apprised of the methods through digital news and gossip is spread and gathered.
The cornerstone of the current music scene of digitally driven marketing and distribution can today be considered to take the form of iTunes, which through its companion device the iPod helped to popularize the use of digital file formats, often at no point derived from a physical form such as a CD, as a widely available mode for listening to current music. iTunes offers the functions of allowing the purchase of a large degree of commercially available back catalogs and new music through its Internet-enabled function, while the iPod, though not unique as a small and portable device to listening to such music files, did attain a degree of commercial success which eluded other formats.
The state of music journalism, which for a long time had been dominated by the institution of Rolling Stone Magazine, with its roots in the countercultural rock scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s and its subsequent adoption of an establishment status in the music industry, has also been changed by new music developments, such as the widespread creation of online sites which post mp3s, articles and reviews of older and current music. Though many are fairly limited in scope and commercial viability and can at most be considered amateur projects, a site which might be considered the Rolling Stone of the current music scene exists in the form of the site Pitchfork, which offers extensive coverage of new music and thus far in the time that it has existed has played an important role in creating the foundations for the popular success of new artists and bands, in the process earning a wide degree of visibility in the music industry.