Randomness #5

This has been a pretty good week. Workwise, blogwise, and in general. In Sweden we were celebrating Walpurgis Night and I opted to do so by watching a huge bonfire with a few friends and colleagues, which turned into an evening with a ton of fun. I finally completed that post with all the UK tours this May. Additionally I’ve added all those events to the IROK events listing, which was a bit time-consuming but feels somewhat worthwhile anyway because I like seeing the coming events in the sidebar. And I’ve gotten the material I need to write the post for Jambinai‘s Europe tour, that I mentioned last week, but I think I will wait until all the current UK touring has been completed before I take action.

What hasn’t been so good is that the site at times has been very, very slow. Apparently this is because somebody else that shares the same bluehost server is misusing some resources and there doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be done about it. Today has been better than most other days though, so I hope that it’ll continue that way. Meanwhile all I can do is apologize for the slow loading and navigation you might’ve experienced around here. And keep bugging bluehost support to take action whenever I notice it happening myself.

As for music listening, right now I’m stuck with Monoban‘s “Dandelion” on repeat. I haven’t really been listening to them previously, but with Monoban being a recent Hello Rookie candidate and all I figured I should check them out. I found the Ghost Ship EP on Spotify. The whole guitar + cello + cajón is working really well for me, but I was always a sucker for the cello. Then there’s a part of “Dandelion” that vaguely reminisces “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger“, though maybe eAeon‘s version more than the original, that I very much enjoy.

I’ve also been listening a lot to a very special and very awesome cover album this weekend. It’s been sitting in my collection since last summer, but since it’s on cassette tape it was only after I came across it on Bandcamp that I actually got around to listening to it. I wanted to write a review on it, but ended up spending most of my blog time on other posts instead. There will most definitely be something about it posted soon, however, so I’ll refrain from naming the just now to be able to put it in the right context. Because I have a feeling it might need it.

And because of my recent Bandcamp adventures here’s a few related questions to you: Do you buy digital music, and if so where? How did you begin buying digital music? Are you still buying music on physical media? Do you buy the digital version even though you already have it in another format? So far the only ever digital release I’ve bought is 10‘s UFO and that was 5-6 years ago. I think my aversion to digital releases is mostly because of the feeling of volatility. That the music could disappear from me at any time if it’s not connected to a physical object (other than my laptop or smart phone, that is).

I’m sort of beginning to warm up to the thought though. My preference for digital music would be to go with Bandcamp, but that’s not always possible. I know that when given an alternative I should steer clear of the Korean options. And last time I was looking into it (many, many years ago…) iTunes forced you to actually use iTunes to listen so that’s not really an option either. Is Amazon any good for this purpose? What are the best options if I want to be able to listen on any device with the media player of my choice and at the same time have as big portion as possible of my money go straight to the artist?

8 Comments Randomness #5

  1. London Korean Links

    When I was with Bluehost they used to cap the amount of resources used by any one account (I know, because I was often coming up against that cap thanks to resource-hungry plugins). So I upgraded a few years ago to a VPS with another provider.

    1. Anna

      A VPS does sound like a much nicer alternative than a physical server. I’m still sort of new to this whole hosting thing though so not sure I dare take the leap to change to another provider this soon. Maybe if these occasional disturbances turn out to be something that lasts…

  2. Sangha

    not the biggest fan of buying digital music either, but only because I’ve been illegal downloading for such a long long time and it’s really difficult to shake off that habit. when I do buy digitally it’s because I can’t find downloads and can’t buy the physical album right away, and I pretty much only use itunes since I use itunes to listen to music anyway.

    for a bit when I was in Korea last summer I actually subscribed to bugs music and kept the account for a little while, mainly for singles and soundtracks and things I wouldn’t be able to get on a physical cd, but of course working around foreign ips and all that became difficult so I stopped.

    my excuse for this whole thing is of course that I’m a poor university student who doesn’t have much spending money. I do wish I could buy more music digitally but honestly I end up buying the physical cds for everything anyway sometimes it seems redundant.

    1. Anna

      I used the same excuse for many of my university years. Mainly because I already spent more than I could afford on buying music (hence the “unhealthy obsession with actual CDs” that was part of my sidebar description when IROK was still on Blogger), but also because a lot of it was already out of print. I gave that up maybe 10 years ago as some sort of ‘statement’, around the same time as it became illegal in Sweden, and started my first mp3 blog after that. Nowadays I don’t even take the time to listen to what I’ve already bought, so illegal downloading would just make me greedy. Though maybe that in itself is a sign I shouldn’t be buying any downloads either?

      I’ve been considering Bugs and other Korean services in the past too, but it’s such a hassle to set it up and after so many of musician friends have complained about Bugs in particular (something about building their old catalogue without proper licensing) I’m feeling a bit guilty even just using the site to find out about new releases. Though it does have the best user interface, as far as I’m concerned. It’d be just wonderful if there was something just like it, or preferably better moderated, that I could trust to forward my money to the more deserving recipients.

      Anyway, many thanks for your input! I figured we might be on the same page when it comes to enjoying CDs over digital, so was curious to know if you had already figured out a way to approach it all.

  3. refresh_daemon

    I’m pretty much still a physical media guy. I don’t even listen to much music on streaming, but there are a few instances where I’ll buy digital music and that’s primarily if the release was either only digital or has gone out of print so that digital is the only foreseeable option.

    In that case, Bandcamp is my first choice because I can choose what format to download in and I have a preference for lossless whenever possible. Secondary choice, if available, would be Amazon since all their MP3s are DRM-free (at least in the US). Finally, sometimes I just have to download from iTunes and it’s not too much of a concern for me since I’m knee deep in the Apple ecosystem anyway and also usually end up burning my digital purchases to disc for listening anyway.

    I never rebuy a CD to digital, since I can just rip the CD and I appreciate that Amazon actually has a preripped version of many of their CDs that they give you access to the moment you buy a qualifying CD, although I haven’t yet used it since I still have a preference for listening to and consequently buying CDs.

    It’s hard to figure out which storefronts are the best deal for artists because a lot of times, truly independent artists usually end up using a distributor like CD Baby, which will put their music up on storefronts like iTunes and Amazon for a fee and/or a cut of the revenue. Without a distributor backing you, it’s a little more difficult to get your music on the bigger digital storefronts, aside from Bandcamp and sites like it.

    That’s what little I’ve been able to glean from my musician friends anyway. Not sure if I have all that right.

    1. Anna

      I’ve come to appreciate Spotify for streaming over the last few years and used last.fm a lot before that, but that’s mainly because it makes music listening easier in the office. Thanks for the tip about Amazon! If it’s DRM-free in the US, I imagine it would be elsewhere as well :)

      Only partially related, but something I’ve been meaning to ask you since the idea of getting into digital music came to me: how do you keep track of your collection when part of it is digital only? Are you still using MusicBrainz? Have you tried My Music Collection?

      1. refresh_daemon

        I actually just have an enormous Excel spreadsheet that I keep in my dropbox that records every release I have and which format I have it in. I update it every time I get a new shipment of CDs or I download a digital release. That’s worked pretty well for me so far.

        I have considered starting a custom database with a web interface that I can hook into my blogs, but that might be too ambitious a project for me. My coding skills are well over 10 years old and I’m not sure I have the time for such a project.

      2. Anna

        I tried to make a custom database myself some 10 years ago, but after putting together the perfect tables to hold all the information I wanted I just couldn’t make a GUI that would make it feasible to use… While looking around both before and after my problem was that there was no ready solution to keep all the information I wanted to have, so in the end I got nothing.

        I’ll be moving in a month or so, so that should be a good time to actually get some order to my collection. It’s been far too long since I last had any of that, and I’m sure I’ve acquired a few doubles over the years as well (which could make for some interesting giveaways, should I be able to identify them..). Trying out the demo version of My Music Collection right now I realize that one reason why I never really got into MusicBrainz is that there’s far too much I would need to add myself (tried a few releases at random and the result was really disappointing) but then I would have to do that anyway if I were to create my own enormous spreadsheet. There will for sure be reason to revisit this topic fairly soon.

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