Saturday, December 1, 2012

Searching for the Sounds

(with apologies to Petersen and Lesh)

I just posted a comment to a friend's link on Facebook. I never heard of the site that hosts the article before he posted the link, so I'm not keen to register there, which I apparently need to do to comment, but I do want a public place to post my comments. Well, I just happen to have one.

When I created this public place in March of 2008, I didn't know what general direction it would take. Most of the blogs I had known at that time were of a rather different nature: they were music blogs, with external links to free downloads of full albums. You can still see, in the archives, how clumsy I was, trying to find my voice and my purpose in the blogosphere. I didn't actually have much music to post that wasn't already "out there".

So, I've taken, these days, to more or less random writing. Luckily, I seem to be a pretty good writer. And here is my latest bit of stuff, slightly edited to be fewer inside references — a response to...

...this article about music blogs.

****

Another factor in the decline of music blogs, I would think, is the decline of blogs in general. Social media have changed in the past few years, as Facebook and Twitter have risen. Music services, too; we now have Spotify, Last.fm, a bunch of others that I can't be bothered to think of just now (the US-only Turntable.fm is a particularly social one on which I've spent many an hour and made many a friend since its launch in summer of '11) — and, of course, YouTube features many a taster, even though it too may be plagued at times by trolls in copyright masks (so has Turntable been, come to think of it). I just recently found a trove of sorts of full albums as single 'Tube videos. I didn't much care for Fuzzy Duck's self-titled album, but at least I got to try it. And many more "classic" albums remain for me to hear, via the 'Tube or any outlet on which they may appear.

Social media have changed. Hopefully the communities of the older ways have been able to stay together as they navigate the shifting landscape — although, as my long-time favorite forum proves, it's not always the case. With forums collapsing as a networking form, we moved and shape-shifted a bit too much, reducing us now to a weekly e-mail of the latest playlist of one member's weekly radio show, with occasional flashes of an ignored yet optimistic Croatian with limited English skills, and maybe a request or two.

I will also dare say that we were not immune to the "paranoid times" spoken of in the article. I think one admin in particular (who, by the way, un-friended and blocked me on Facebook a bit ago without a word of explanation) mistakenly turned away a few legit people from later incarnations, believing them to be "Hans". That hurt us, I think, more than any troll ever did. We had one bad incident our first couple months of forum-hood. We lived well after that, before RapidForum closed down. It wasn't a main concern.

But I'll try to keep personal politics out of this. There is another forum of which I'm still a member. It's not very far from a complete coma. Not counting me, there are about six active members (including the ignored yet optimistic Croatian). Music is still posted there, but in very trace amounts compared to the music blogosphere's heyday.

The digital landscape has changed. Although the music blog with its warm, personal touch may have largely fallen by the wayside, I can say this: There shall always be ways to discover new and forgotten gems — as well as the people who create and appreciate those gems.

Psych on, psyblings.

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