Penn State’s Pitchfork: Check This Track

Need a weekday study playlist? Well, Check This Track. Want to get the scoop on the hottest dub, house and hip-hop releases? Seriously, bro, Check This Track. Want daily free downloads to fill up your iPod? …..Check This Track!

Like the Pitchfork junkie who is always showing you awesome new jams, Check This Track (@checkthistrack) is an independent music blog created by two Penn State students to share their love of music while giving shout-outs to today’s hottest artists.

From garage bands to Jay-Z, CTT’s 10 dedicated Penn State staff writers keep readers up to date with the always changing music scene. It’s like an online music magazine with a focus on the college demographic.

The main genres on CTT include dubstep, electro, house and hip-hop genres. You know, pretty much the stuff you need to get people dancing at a party. However, the writers have started to branch out into the alternative, indie, and jam band realms. This will appeal to e-tards and stoners alike.

Not only can you get the scoop on mainstreamers like The Weekend or Mac Miller, local talent like Penn State’s Greg Falatek and Philly’s Phorty5 are spotlighted on the site. There are also general music news stories–like ones that used to make MTV cool–tossed into the mix.

Another sweet feature on the site is that the songs you’re vibing out to can be downloaded from a supplied Hulkshare link. Like a legal Napster, this makes it easier to stuff your iPod with walking-to-class jams.

Besides the informative posts and free downloads, what gave me a nostalgia boner was the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack playlists. With throwback artists like Motorhead, Sex Pistols, and Goldfinger, THPS playlists made the memories of shredding a 900 kick-flipping over a pool of green acid come flying back. There aren’t only old school Activision playlists, though. CTT has genres ranging from chillin’ and studying to raging out partying. Save the trouble of getting an actual DJ or making friends with an Urban Outfitters employee because Check This Track has got you covered.

Since its launch in October of 2010, Check This Track has had more than half of a million page views. This is seen as quite an accomplishment to Ryan Warrender and Conrad Ridgway, the blog’s founders. The two dudes originally created CTT as a way to share music with their friends, promote local artists and gain experience with managing an online business–something they study as Managment Information Systems majors.

“Managing an online website looks great on a resume, it shows IT experience,” said Warrender. “But it was never about making money for us. We have a general passion for music and promoting the artists who make it.”

Despite Check This Track’s growing national and international appeal, Warrender said that he hopes to keep his grass-roots venture in the Nittany Lion name. He hopes that Penn State students will continue to run the site after he graduates in May.

“Penn State is all about sticking with tradition,” said Warrender. “And I hope Check This Track can become one of those traditions.”

Music has always been spread by word of mouth. You hear a tight song, find it, jam it, get it stuck in your head and then show it to your bros who then show it to their bros. Check This Track has mimicked that process but with social media and a reliable online presence.

What started as a way to share music and fill a spot on a resume has mushroom clouded into a dedicated source of new tasty jams for 2,000 daily visitors. And with the CTT name starting to gain campus recognition, there’s no telling what lies in the future.

“I was at a party the other weekend and I checked the iPod and [CTT’s] logo and playlist were the first thing that popped up,” said Warrender. “They were playing our music suggestions, that was really cool to me.”

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