Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Damn the Music Man!!!

No, not Tommy Tune. The music industry. They took an amazing tool and killed it.
Yes, I am not surprised, but saddened still.

Last week, after what seemed like weeks of stalling, their demands killed Muxtape. A place where one could go to hear music. Not download music. Not steal Music. But listen to digital mix tapes from all around the world.

It was free advertising for bands (and if you read the whole story you will see that that is exactly how it will be formulated now. Only it will be missing a major key component, user input. Yes, user generated content, the key to any web 2.0 service is now dead. So while I am fairly sure i will be able to listen to 10 songs from Arcade Fire (or any other lame, derivative, "hip", band) when the service is reinstated, the main draw of the service is gone: who ever got mixtapes where there was only one band. The whole point was to hear people's favorite songs, to discover new music from an unknown artist that you would want to go out and find more of, devour.

I made at least 10 different mixes and people that I have never met, nor even knew, found my mixes and favorited them (sadly never more than 12 at a time) and I got to see their mixes, and discover new artists and re-find others that I had long thought I outgrew or dismissed in a fit of rambling, ill conceived hostility. I also just got to listen to or just see mixes from the thousands of other users and either laugh or admire their tastes.

But no.... Discovery is bad. Control is good.


So for a little over a month I have been left with my favorite music platform on the web, Last.fm. And really, there is nearly nothing wrong with it. It provides for a damn near perfect individual radio station. My main complaint is that it has such a massive user database and has some serious wonky algorithms to match me up with people with similar tastes in music and that people use tags so inappropriately (French pop should not ever generate Elton John. Never ever.), that its social aspect is a tad worthless. Though I do always enjoy seeing what my friends are listening to.

But when I was finally resigned to the idea that Last.fm was going to be all I ever had, I was introduced to Blip.fm. And though I have only been playing around with it for a few days, well it is awesome! Awesomer than awesome even. It takes a twitter type interface and lets you add music to your posts. Rather than focusing on what you are doing right now, you can say something about the song, let the song state your feelings/state of mind, wtfever. And granted you really should read the terms of service and FAQ (re: the issue of uploading music), but this is a service for fans of music to share songs like postcards.

And while I miss the precision of making a mixtape (true mixtape creation is art blended with science), the single song focus is not one to scoff at.

And a big bonus for me, is that it seems to have a fairly large international bent. And as I am generally sick of the current American music scene, this is a plus to get hints on what I need to be on the lookout for that I can not easily find here.

Not every song you want will be in the library, but should be to make it worth your while. And it syncs up with Last.fm if you use that service (and really if you listen to music on your computer, why wouldn't you???).

So while I am sad to see Muxtape lose its charming lifeblood, I am happy to have found something that might be able to replace it. Well till the music man decides to take this one down too.

And for any musical heathens out there, feel free to make fun of any of my musical tastes. I just hope one day you will be as musically enlightened as me........

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