Blogging: One Month In—A Retrospective

Today marks one month since I started blogging every day, and man has it been a long month. Though long doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and in the last few weeks I’ve found myself able to talk about a number of topics that might not have occurred to me otherwise. True, a lot of my posts have been on topics like music and tech that I continually follow, but the desire to write every day has enabled me to streamline my thoughts into a more digestible format.

In the last month, I’ve discussed numerous things in the music and tech space, including:

Yet I’ve found myself able to write about things that otherwise would seem unimportant, had I not had a goal to write every day. I’m not sure writing posts on writer’s block, on singing, art, and on concepts of passion would ever have occurred to me without the goal to produce new material:

Perhaps the most intriguing thing that’s happened though is how my desire to write has only become more engrained in me. I’ve always been a writer—essays, journalism, poetry, and research papers always came fairly easily to me, and even provided a sense of enjoyment most times. But now my writing has taken on a whole new dynamic in my life.

In fact, it mirrors what artists tell me when I ask why they choose the tough path of day jobs and long nights on the road: “I do it because just like I wake up every morning and need to breathe, I need to play music.” And that’s how writing is to me now. I wake up ever morning and need to breathe, and then I need to write.

Curated, Part I: Introduction

This post will serve as a brief introduction in a much larger topic that I will cover in a series of posts called Curated. The posts will focus on the difference between curated discovery and real discovery in the music industry. Further posts will follow over the next few weeks, but for today, let’s simply set the stage.

Part I: Introduction

This morning I saw a new “music discovery” site that has taken a detour to try to re-imagine visual discovery. I was intrigued by a couple of things on the site, but as a whole, I don’t really think that the term “music discovery” is the right one to use. Let’s get one thing straight before we continue: curation is not and should not be a substitute for choice.

People need to stop using the phrase “new music discovery” when they really mean finding artists similar to the ones they already know and like. That’s not finding “new music;” it’s tracking based on similarities. This is what services like Spotify, Rdio, SoundCloud, and Pandora do. This is curation.

The term “new music” should (and does in many independent circles) denote music that is not generally known in the mainstream. It’s music that is actually new (created within the past year or two), and comes from an artist without mainstream name recognition. This was what “discovering new music” should be. This is what choice allows us to do.

It’s not about finding the other 10 ’80s bands just like Bon Jovi. It’s about finding that esoteric band from Belgium who released their album in 2010 and sounds like they walked out of 1986 (actually, I did find this band. They were called All I Know and damn could they wail). It’s about choosing to live outside the boundaries set. It’s about cutting down all the red-tape. Music is freedom, and freedom is choice.

There’s nothing wrong with liking what you like; but call it how it is—you’re not really “discovering new music” when you’re relying on an algorithm to make suggestions. Curation is a wonderful thing, but only to an extent. Curation is not wonderful when it becomes a substitute for choice. Relying solely on curation is basically how you end up tracking based on similarities. And that is not the same as “discovering new music.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is. Demand more.

And what’s better than curation as opposed to choice? Curation in addition to choice. Things just got very interesting.