A couple of days ago I read this excellent but mildly depressing article by Andrew Dubber about musicians and Myspace:
He points out the obvious - despite the fact that a MySpace presence (or five) has become effectively compulsory for any musician or band, it is also unremittingly rubbish and seems to be run by people who have no idea what it is:
"And we put up with its broken interface, bad design, 90s technology, ad-riddled BS, and complete lack of comprehension about what MySpace is really for - for one reason alone: nobody else has EVERY FRICKIN’ BAND ON THE PLANET."
Waiting for MySpace to get its act together might take a very long time.
Meanwhile, there's Twitter, where I've been following bassist Steve Lawson aka @solobasssteve for a while now. Yesterday he posted the best takedown of Lord Mandelson's utterly preposterous plan to disconnect persistent filesharers I have read so far:
Mandelson is not brilliant. But Twitter is. The limitations make it so much more than the sum of its parts. You really can't do anything much in 140 characters. All you can do is make short exclamations and link to other stuff. The former makes it a truly social network (unlike all the others, which ultimately bombard you with crap), and the latter makes it an invaluable conduit for discovery, so long as you crack the initial stage of finding people posting links to things you want to discover.
If you are a musician, Steve Lawson's blog is something you want to discover.
From his Mandelson takedown I clicked onto this:
Here Lawson explains why (relatively) new blogging platform Posterous is seriously worth a look. I'd been vaguely aware of it but hadn't given it any attention. I am already struggling to maintain existing blogs on MySpace, LiveJournal, Blogger, Facebook and the ancient creaky self-coded thing on my own site. It's a complete salad already which I need to rationalise. I need a new blogging platform like I need a hole in the head.
But Posterous lets me send an email containing the text of a blog, which it then posts not just to itself but also to all of the other platforms that you tell it about. It will Do The Right Things with links, mp3s, images, videos, flash and so on. You can add tags from the subject line of the email. It's been designed from the ground up to be as easy to use as possible, including making your first post by simply sending them email. I set up a Posterous account last night in about ten minutes.
If this post goes wonky it's because I'm new at posting from Posterous and haven't figured out how not to fuck it up yet; I'm sure there's a way and I'm sure I'll find it. But so far it's been the easiest to use Thing On The Internet I've found in ages. I already screwed up last night by importing all my old Blogger posts. That took a couple of minutes. I did it without thinking - the screwup was realising how rubbish and disconnected the posts all seemed, so a little later I deleted most of them. My screwup, not Posterous's. And Posterous made it easy to fix.
My blogs are not widely read because they are rubbish and disjointed, lack focus, are often poorly written, and only update intermittently. Lawson's blog is the exact opposite of all this. I haven't found a post of his that wasn't worth reading yet. Here's him on music site Bandcamp:
He writes: "You upload your tunes in CD-quality audio format, and then they make all the different resolutions of file that people might want, and let you decide what to do with them, which ones to charge for, how to licence the music, and then redesign the page. The results are then embeddable, sharable and sellable."
If you are still reading this and not going straight over to Bandcamp to set up an account, you are probably not a musician. In fact, I'm going to stop writing this and go and set up an account there myself, which I didn't get around to doing last night.
I did read the Bandcamp FAQ though, and so should you, because it is really funny:
It also links to another superb article by Andrew Dubber explaining why the vast bulk of musicians should not worry about piracy:
If you want to worry, worry about Mandelson. There's a petition against his disconnection without trial plan to sign here:
Enough rambling. I'm off to Bandcamp.