Greetings Ed, Dave. I too am returning to this forum after a bit of time off. I also happened to receive a copy of Bandana Beats on wax today, so looks like we’re synchin’ up…I’ve thought deeply about lots of the points you’ve raised in your detailed post, and we’ve also discussed similar things in the other HMITM post but the key point of your post seems to center around ownership of the music you love in the form of a file OR a physical object.
I’m sorry to break it to you my digital compatriot, but you’ll never have those good old days back. That’s exactly why they are, in fact, good OLD days. The amazing thing about music rn is that everything is in flux. It has been for some time. And that’s why its so exciting to be having the conversations we are having. Nobody knows what the fuck to do. So we make it up as we go, questioning our every move along the way.
What I see is that as more people hop on the streaming bandwagon (haters insert comment here), artists that make their money selling show tickets are beginning to understand that streaming may not pay dollars but it gets you on festival lineups and into venues. It also opens up collaborations, remixes, and allows you to offer things to fans directly. In this Instagratification YouTube music world SO much is visual as well as auditory so NUMBERS of followers can be more important than anything. Bandcamp isn’t the platform for promotion the way streamers are, simple as that. These artists are posting photos of their streaming songs to boost their careers via bookings would be my guess. I’ll get to what I think BC is up to soon enough…and I can only talk about Spotify as I chose them over Apple, mostly because more friends were on it and i can share playlists with em easier.
I admire your writing and curation ability on Bandcamp lots but Spotify is a different beast my dude. You’re not gonna be able to have it be all neat and orderly. You’re gonna have to make some playlists. And who knows, you might find a new way to listen to music, to discover sounds you didn’t know you liked, and perhaps even find yourself sharing said music with new users. Or collaborative playlists. Or radio stations (ugh, actually probably not radio stations).
ANYWAY the point I am making is that streaming services, just like Bandcamp, just like Napster was, and just like Motown was, are all experimental eras in the history of music production, consumption, and sales. We are the consumers, so we have different perspectives than producers/performers/selectors of music. Some of us may be in the biz or make some stuff to sell ourselves, but for the most part everyone is consuming this stuff. Now traditionally the issue most people have is about ownership. You have a collection. I have a collection. We collect. It brings us great joy. And sorrow. And connections. And isolation. It’s a habit, a hobby, and a hermetic way of life, at times.
I stream. I buy vinyl. I download illegal torrents. I buy tickets and merch. If I played out to people or had a better home setup (in the works, broke now) I would buy digital music.
the TED Talk in my opinion is speaking on the effects of our internet world in general. it’s happening all over, not just in music. accelerationism, hypercapitalism, fast fast fast, low attention spans, optimize and microdose, ya know? Which brings me to Bandcamp. I have a hunch (based on this) that they’re about to position themselves as the IRL alternative to streaming. And I’m all about it, its just gonna be mad awkward for the first few years. We need spaces that aren’t the internet. Badly.
One last story to share. Since beginning to Spotify in Spring of 2018 I’ve made 100 playlists and now share them and collaborate. I am actually closer with friends now through sharing music than I was before I was on it. I’ve got a collaborative playlist with 7 friends which we add to at least 2-3 times a week, it’s hit over 1100 songs and introduced me to some crazy out there tunes I would have never found without this evil empire of streamery. It ain’t good or bad, it just is. It’s a tool. And I’m just a fan looking to vibe with my friends.
That being said, I’ll never stop buying vinyl. One day I’m going in on 45s, Cassettes and CDs too but not quite yet. Waiting for my 50s for that level of hoarding. But i did record a mix on a tape last week…felt really good. Some day I’ll give that tape to a homie. We aren’t the last of a dying breed. We are the keepers of the archive. Fuck the cloud.