27 April

2009: The Blog /Blob is my first blog, a year-long project like this one. On that site a list of music blogs that upload entire albums of others' music is provided, both because of the essay I wrote about "sharity," as these blogs were called, and the significant amount of music I listened to that year having been obtained through such blogs. Since 2009, though, many of those sites have disappeared, largely due to legal pressures, as discussed in the roundtable discussion at the e-zine, The Awl, The Rise and Fall of the Obscure Music Download Blog. Though I miss the ease with which I could, say, hear all 12 discs of the complete works of Bernard Parmegiani, the decline of these blogs, overall, is a positive thing. The number of sites that focused on out-of-print, obscure albums of unknown legal status has always been dwarfed by the sites run by individuals simply copying C D's and giving away the music (as with that Parmegiani set), all the while speaking of the process in euphoric tones. Notice how the title and focus of that Awl article attempts to split "obscure music" sites from the larger "sharity" realm: a premature romanticization of recent history.

A few other issues to consider: first, the assumption that, if an album was released once, but is not currently in print, a listener who happens to own a copy should make it available for others to listen--as if the denial of consumer demands is a problem needing any possible solution. Of course, the "sharity" bloggers don't speak of consumers, or buyers. It's all about the music, right?--until they complain, as in that Awl discussion, about the plight of users having stored hundreds or thousands of files at sites like Megaupload only to see them disappear. How many of these bloggers and their followers stop to think about the effect of obsessive listening, compared to making music? One of the men behind Mutant Sounds, generally considered to be the most prominent of "sharity" blogs, Eric Lumbleau, had his own label and his own band (Vas Deferens Organization) but is more known now for providing low-quality digital copies of others' music via large conglomerates like Google. More recently, having considered ending the site, the Mutant Sounds crew have decided only to post music from artists who have given their permission.

On that note.... Second, you'll notice that, at several of the sites listed below, the bloggers are quick to say that an artist only needs to request that their music not be shared. Does this not sound familiar? You need to opt out yourself, instead of it opting in? Much like the user needs to persistently check his account settings at Facebook, Google, etc., to ensure that a modicum of privacy is maintained? These blogs, justified as they are with grandiose claims of expanding the audience for obscure music, are following the practices of shady corporations everywhere.   

So what sites are still active? As with any lists of blogs, this is far from definitive.

Aussie Music Blog

Awesome Tapes From Africa

The Boogieman Will Get Ya!

Buffalo Tones

The Changing Same

A Closet of Curiosities

Die or D.I.Y.?

Dr. Schluss' Garage of Psychedelic Obscurities

Down Underground

Dusty Psychic Hut

Experimental Etc.

Freedom Records 

L'Invitation au Suicide

Lossless World

Love in Spurts

Meet the Music Traveler

Mesmirization

My Little Bubble...

9 Grey Chairs 

No Longer Forgotten Music

Orgy in Rhythm

Prof Stoned: Rare & Deleted Vinyl

Q Records

Rest in Bits 

Roots and Traces: Spurensicherung 

Schwebeablaut

Stuck in the Past!

Systems of Romance

The Thing on the Doorstep 

Tyme-Machine 

We Fucking Love Music 

Zero G Sound

In addition to the the "go legit" approach of Mutual Sounds (apparently also taken, at least partially, by Microphones in the Trees and Ongakubaka--both of these sites aided by the sad fact that many of the contemporary artists discussed there already give away their music via Bandcamp and similar sites), several other sites have switched to being reviews sites, or the creators of "sharity" blogs have started new such sites: for example, Another Sucker on the Vine birthed In a White Room; and Killed in Cars, which might still be giving away music, I can't tell, it's a mess. Several other blogs, because of the legal crackdown, have also floundered between quitting and refashioning, making a few posts here and there over the last year.