About two weeks ago, I kinda realized that two people I knew online were in a band together, and preparing to put out their first EP. I visited their website, bought the record when it came out, and ended up seeing them live at the Esplanade last Friday. Hear for yourself through the embedded player below.
I thought I was perfectly fine with digital discovery, Spotify-style apps and the iTunes Store, but at the risk of losing the last big retailer in town (HMV), and remembering how one could wander for hours and come out with armfuls of new music, I think I’m going to miss the tactile/spatial experience of old. There’s something about walking in and seeing with your own eyes a handmade display promoting an album you’d never heard of, and becoming curious. A thumbnail doesn’t do that.
Branch is a relatively new startup and service that allows anyone to set up ad-hoc, public discussion spaces. The person who sets the topic (or question) can invite others over Twitter or email, and any other viewer can ask to join in by simply writing what they would say if they were already part of the discussion. After that’s approved, they’re in. It’s an elegant and well-designed system, but still relatively unfriendly to some.*
For my first attempt, I asked the question that came to mind after a late visit to the local HMV last night, after the news broke that their UK offices are now in receivership (broke ass). I’ve already enjoyed the experience immensely, even with just two other participants, and look forward to using this more.
As for the topic of discussion, it’s something I want to think about more. I still believe in the power and value of music discovery outside of clickable lists and webpages. Creating a different sort of physical music retail presence is something I’d love to work on for a future client.
* One friend who I invited balked at the standard Twitter authorization screen that said ‘this app is asking for permission to “See who follows you on Twitter” and “Tweet on your behalf”‘ — pretty standard and harmless stuff that most frequent Twitter users don’t even blink at, but frightening language for others all the same.
Found out after suddenly wanting a single album that contained every song by Jim Steinman (couldn’t find one) that he tried to record his own follow-up to Bat Out of Hell in 1981, entitled Bad for Good. The songs were originally meant for Meat Loaf, of course, but when he lost his voice, Jim decided to go ahead and record them with his weaker vocals. Check out the sample of “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” on iTunes, and then compare it to the Bat Out of Hell II version. Seems the album was a hit anyway, but I was only a year old at the time.
I recently rediscovered and am enjoying 8tracks.com, an easy, free, and legal way to share mixes online. Even if you’re not into that, it functions as an excellent community-driven radio site. There are even good iPhone and Android apps for tapping into it.