gurdonark manifesto

In a comment on the cut/copy post, gurdonark posted a mini-manifesto on musician’s web presence.

If I were expressing a similar idea, I might try it this way:

  1. music should be hosted and managed on sites controlled by the musicians
  2. sites controlled by musicians need not follow the rigid label/release dynamics of the past
  3. sites controlled by musicians need not be elaborate, but can work like weblogs
  4. in this vision of creative self-expression, the blend of words, images, and music is not a self-conscious form of multi-media, but a natural expression of creativity
  5. the weblogs thus created can be used to market or license music
  6. the weblogs thus created may alternatively succeed if there are listeners/readers, regardless of commercial motive
  7. the ideal net effect is to “get it” about sharing music in ways that traditional media has not “gotten”.

Some of these are already blooming, some are barely germinated. You wouldn’t have a tough time finding music hosted and managed on sites controlled by the musicians, but you’d have a very tough time finding distribution points for those songs, because all the major distribution points require musicians to upload to their servers and won’t distribute music on an external URL.

7 thoughts on “gurdonark manifesto

  1. The thread that I see here is one of feeling the need to add a bit of context to the music itself.

    That could be done with an image, a video, an enticing “container” for the music itself.

    We’re talking about moving beyond the sharing of mp3 files and getting into a world of sharing music in a way that gives it more meaning via it’s context.

  2. I agree with you, Patrick. “Creating a context” is a thing an artist can bring to the music, in place of the curious PR job done in some cases so well and in some cases so badly by traditional labels. A “container” is a part of the equstion, as well as the metaphoric “container” of the narrative quality of the artist’s “intention”.

    I think you’re right–we are moving beyond sharing mp3s into sharing culture in a context.
    This is why, I think, I rarely download a free mp3 from soundclick (unless I know the artist in another context), but often download a netlabel release from a label I reapect (or an ad on the yahoo message group that “gets it” into a context I understand).

  3. The #1 distribution point is Myspace, correct? Myspace is filled with 3rd party hosted songs playable via playlist.com widgets (and others). So, I don’t see why one must upload one’s song to myspace to have it streamed. A url will do fine, no?

  4. Hey Mark,

    A Flash widget on Myspace will do the job pretty well. It lacks the integrated Myspace functionality that their widget has, like the “add” button to add a song to your profile, but that’s not a big loss.

    So, yeah, this is absolutely a win. On Myspace a musician just needs to set up a widget that auto-imports their music from a standard URL they host. That’s what I did for my own profile. And it’s incredibly convenient — I just add a blog entry tagged “audio” to the soupgreens blog and any MP3 link in the entry will show up in the player on my Myspace profile.

    The downside is theoretical on Myspace. If they ever get their act together with vertical features like rating, it’ll become an issue. I figure they will do a big push here for the provisioning company they just created.

  5. About Patrick and gurdonark’s comments, this goes to a weird little space where you’d expect third parties to import parts of the source site beyond the MP3, so that listeners would get the context along with the song. For example the song title, band name, album art, and social functionality.

    It’s the same kind of strategy as a Flash widget. You don’t distribute the MP3, you distribute your web presence as a whole.

    Personally I wasn’t hearing this in the manifesto.

    Patrick, I liked the graphics on your MILA page a lot. The page is dominated by pictures and songs instead of text and controls. That makes it feel more musical and less like a web app.

  6. I think you’re right, Lucas, what I wrote before did not address the point you’re making.

    It’s interesting how theory and praxis merge in these settings–in theory, one wishes in a more open music culture to permit as much importation as one is comfortable with doing–and then the praxis of how technologically to achieve the right comfort level comes into play. I lack the knowledge to address that set of issues, but they still interest me.

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