This is a very thoughtful essay about the inevitable decline of mp3 blogs as technology has provided more efficient ways for people to discover music. I’ve had a few encounters recently with people who are way into things like Spotify and were nevertheless like “ugh, I can’t find anything I like on that,” and didn’t have any idea that sites like mine even existed. It was interesting, because on one hand it makes me realize how quaint and old-timey my site is these days, and also it highlights a huge difference in the way most people in my general cohort - particularly the people who aren’t hardcore music fans - engage with music now vs. how I listen to music. I personally hate streaming. Haaaaate it. I only use Spotify when I’m at work and want to listen to some artist’s catalog and YouTube doesn’t have what I need. Which has happened…I don’t know, twice in the past few months? But I totally get why Spotify is attractive to a lot of people, but I just don’t think it has anything to offer me, especially when I demand an extremely high degree of control over my listening experience and can barely tolerate listening to a radio station.
The biggest reason why I can’t really embrace Spotify and won’t be switching my site over to that or a similar service in the foreseeable future is that they simply don’t have everything I’d want to cover when I want to cover it. You can see this in the Spotify versions of the survey mixes I have made in the recent past — huge chunks of those sets end up being omitted, basically ruining the entire point of the project and cutting out exactly the kind of obscure acts a casual listener ought to be “discovering.” If you’re listening to those things on Spotify and Rdio, that’s cool by me, but you’re missing out on crucial stuff.
I do my site because I can write about what I want any way that I want. If I am going to be hemmed in by what is allowed by corporations…well, I have day jobs for that, you guys! The beauty of blogs and the internet is that you can do things on your own terms: “This is happening without your permission.” I am fine with the audience that I have, and even if I lost a LOT of the audience I would keep doing my site the way I want to do it because doing my site the way I have for a decade now has been an engine that has brought a lot of wonderful music in my life that I wouldn’t have found if I was more passive listener, it has sharpened and developed my writing skills and has brought a lot of incredible professional opportunities into my life. I always write for an audience, but ultimately, I mainly write for me.
Perpeuta hits on the precise reasons why I can’t get into streaming music services—and also why his own Fluxblog has been one of my few indispensable daily internet stops for the last decade. It’s no exaggeration to say that Fluxblog is responsible for introducing me to 99% of the great new music I’ve heard in that time. There’s a big psychological difference, for me at least, between a Spotify playlist and the music-blog model of someone with excellent taste recommending an mp3. It’s the difference between someone pointing at something and saying “hey, check that out” and someone giving you a gift. It’s easier to just point, but I hope Perpetua keeps giving with Fluxblog for a long time to come.