Tower Records, one of the few stores here in NYC that would take contemporary CD's on consignment, has filed for Chapter 11. According to the company, "Digital downloading and file copying crimped sales and led to rising losses."
Another victim in the P2P wars, and one that was friendly at one point, to the eccentric musician/collector. Even worse for the scene is the fact that now, only people with computers will have access to musics beyond corporate approved mediocrity.
Recently, while attempting to support another site, I espoused an idea I'd been working on last year to create a networked graph derived from a web walk of independent online artists and their lists of 'favorite other artists.'
The project initially started with some spiders I was toying with which were designed to collate the listings that online artists through MP3.COM made to link other favorite MP3.COM artists.
My idea is simple, walk these networks and slowly build a graph with genre and popularity pointers, possibly in 3D through VRML or Flash, abstracting the preferences of one artist for another until one could spot, by surfing this graph, interesting artists recommended by other interesting artists.
Another idea I'll put out in the aether to help the ongoing task of separating the tasty wheat from the wretched chafe!
With the Tune Recycler, you can send us your unwanted iTunes bottlecap codes and we'll use them to support independent music. Easy for you, and good for musicians.
Although the independent musicians supported through this project will undoubtedly not be the eccentrics espoused by beepSNORT readers, the sheer subversive act of moving indie music up the iTunes charts by way of PepsInc $$$ is interesting. This group also houses many other interesting anti-RIAA actions.
In the process of working out some ideas at another site (don't ask) I realized that one of the big missing pieces left from the net online independent music scene that MP3.COM filled (actually created) is the concept of the user-created Station
The Station was an M3U file, a list of links which could be viewed as a web page, with associated graphics or listened to as a continuous stream or individual streams or downloaded.
The beauty of the Station idea was that it encouraged thousands of folks to be creative in mixing together, curating and promoting music through this user-defined act of aggregation.
Many fantastic stations come to mind from the MP3.COM era, from Steve Layton's Music Now Worldwide to hundreds of others. They let the user discover new artists quickly by skipping through hundreds of similar artists.
How could we re-create the station idea today? Easily, a little PhP and some MySQL could do it. We need a way to allow users to collect deeply-linked MP3 URL's, and then extract the song, artist, information from the MP3's or have them be user-enterred in some way. Would be great to have a uniform M3U station system or API someday...