The following comes to us from our friend Bhob Rainey:
As much as I enjoy records and even CDs, SACDs, and the like, I’m pretty damn happy that so much music can be streamed and downloaded in high- or very-close-to-high-quality digital formats. Sites like Bandcamp and SoundCloud have allowed a great deal of interesting music to live and propagate on the internet at no cost to artists of all stripes. And it bears mentioning that these sites and their embeddable players are far more pleasant to use and look at than some of their predecessors.
The problem with the Bandcamp and SoundCloud models (and a great deal of the expiring Web 2.0 revolution), however, is that empowering individual artists comes at the expense of the power of curation – the kind of curation traditionally done by record labels, independent record stores, and local radio stations. We see a natural response to this gap from individuals who post music on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., because, after all, given media to share, we humans share media. But we are still left with a growing set of endpoints – you reach an artist’s Bandcamp, blog, SoundCloud page, etc., and your path to the next artist starts back at Google or whatever online tastemaker got you clicking – leaving many artists’ pages dangling in rarely-traveled airspace.
In a short time, this will change. I have no doubt that platforms and incentives for curation will better map the experience of online media exploration. In the meantime, I wanted to start gathering URLs for streamable, downloadable, experimental (to use a broad, if inaccurate term) music and put those in one place. I put out requests on Twitter and Facebook and received quite a few URLs from people that I previously knew nothing about. For now, I’m listing them here, basically in the order they appeared. I’m sure there are many more out there, and I’m hoping that people will add them to the comments section of this post. And I’m sure the artists would appreciate positive comments from people discovering their music for the first time.