27 November 2010

The Network

Readers could be forgiven for detecting a contradiction between something I wrote yesterday and a previous post on social networking and music, so I thought I'd offer a clarification. When I "tour" MySpace these days, I'm looking for networks of music, not networks of people. It's great to be able to play the age-old game of working your way out from music you already know and love by checking out those musicians' other projects. That's initially how I went about building my CD collection, and it's equally effective (not to mention free) in the context of MySpace. There is, in fact, a certain amount of professional obligation at play here, but I consider that aspect of it to be subservient to my curiosity as a listener and a general desire to discover new music.

What led me in a previous post to trash social networking in the context of music distribution is the idea of discovering new music through one's friends. At least that's how many sites have phrased it; I'd call it herd mentality. I suspect that this idea of social music discovery is one way these sites seek to deal with the needle-in-a-haystack aspect of a vastly oversaturated music scene. I for one enjoy the hunt, though, and don't find it as intimidating as some might; again, if you can manage to stumble on just one band you like, suddenly you have a thread, and you might never exhaust it. Daunting as this is in some ways, I find the idea of being spoon-fed my musical diet by some invisible hand to be the least palatable of all the options.

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