Monday, August 27, 2018

thinking of setting up a myspace again

I'm in a band (woo-hoo) and we have of course done the usual of setting up an Instagram and a Twitter and a Facebook and a Bandcamp but in the way of these things I'm struggling to engage. It's not that the band doesn't have a voice and aesthetic (it does) or that I don't like it (it's awesome; everything about it is awesome) but something deep in the architecture of the platforms. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp. Pictures, words, people, stuff. Where is the music?

Music-first social networking sites struggle. I remember the giddy delight at Soundcloud, but it's struggled to move with the times or feel properly social, and we haven't even set up one for this band. The last band, for which I provided various services over the years, had one. That was during its high years.  Whatever became of Audioboo? I used to fill it with snippets of found sound and birdsong. Now it's Audioboom and just another small scale online publisher. Last FM, RCRDLBL, emusic, there was even a DJ-ing one where you played at being a radio host and I actually managed to make never-met network-buddies through its delicious combination of blunt track-matching algorithms, and I-love-this interaction formats. All gone.

So of course I got to thinking about the first great social networking site that got music right. Myspace. Like so many, my data echo is still sat there in the empty halls, waiting for the winds of fashion and legislation to let in a shaft of light, to crack the door once more. I imagine Myspace Tom, grizzled and sat on his dusty throne, looking up confused as the music fans come flooding back, looking for their home online, that they still don't have, not really.

But of course, Myspace isn't what it once was, and Tom is doing other things now. We could do it though, couldn't we? Set up a Myspace for the band, like it's 2005 all over again?

Yeah, probably not.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

not going to turn off my ad-blocker, sorry

Just this year, the whining to turn off your ad-blocker has really been cresting. "Support your local newspaper" says one "our advertising revenue is a vital income source" says another. I'm a reasonable person, and I understand their point. Sure, let's turn off the ad-blocker. 

Particularly on local news sites, this is quite a serious mistake. Adverts load slowly, blocking the news story as they load, as they are primed to load before other content. They freeze the browser. Sometimes they do that so hard that everything crashes, or you have to go to task manager to kill the browser, clear cookies, and start all over again. I particularly notice this at work, where on one of my browsers ad-blockers are not actionable and I need to look at local news sites. Typically I'll leave a few pages loading while I go off and do something else on another tab. But I'd better not be doing anything important, as this can easily crash the entire browser.

The reason people block ads on the internet is not because they hate you and want to kill your income streams. That's your motivation, not theirs. The reason people block online adverts is because they are shit. They break your browser. They stop information loading. They flash in hypnotic, migraine-inducing colours at the periphery of what you're reading. They simper click-bait into your peripheral vision. They start talking over the video you're watching (this is especially a feature of American news-sites).

Darlings, you are missing the point. You want me to turn off the ad blocker. I'd love to turn off the ad blocker. I love adverts. They're one of my favourite art forms. Seriously, when I was a kid I used to collect Silk Cut adverts and stick them on my wall.

But you can't watch an advert when it's busy breaking the furniture.