Sunday, January 06, 2013

developing backwards

At the moment I'm typing this while flicking back and forth to the tab containing emusic, where I'm previewing a random pile of notes, recommendations and more. I have to keep flicking back and forth because unless you have their overly needy tab at the front, the volume of their preview player reduces to an irritating whisper. So, in order to multitask, I have to keep on flipping back to it, each click-back accompanied by a little stab of complex disappointment, which ranges from irritation at how dark and gloomy the site is since the redesign, to musings on how bugs get sold to site owners as features, to a slight sadness at how this is a literal performance of the myth of multitasking. I'm  very fond of emusic (and frequently recommend it -- their long tail is very long, and they have a great selection of rarities, and most labels remember to put their singles up on it, but if you are signing up be aware that their album releases run a little later than other providers and there's typically no album discounts) but...

Music sites in particular seem to be prone to developing backwards. As legitimacy and commercial interest catch up with the bleeding edge the sites get more strewn with logos and disclaimers, the supply of downloads dries up, and sweet deals (that are perhaps more sweet for the owners than the customers) begin to clutter the original offer.

I'm currently wavering over RCRDLBL, for example, originally a hot daily download that has mutated over a few years, sometimes offering more, sometimes less (the buggy Bing-branded music player a particular nadir) but often the place to find sweet remixes that for some reason were not making commercial release. They've shaken off Bing, but recently it's gone a bit streamy (enabled by Spotify and Soudcloud) and expanded their recommendations. But other people's lists of things they like are not that much more exciting than your own, and the more third-party systems involved and the longer the list, the bigger the administrative task. On the other hand, they have lead me to treasures and precious jewels in the past, and still do with a bit of careful trawling - if I ever find the time.

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