Cory Dransfeldt

'Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift' ›

10.20.14 • Permalink

The New York Times has published an interesting piece on streaming music and the transition from analogue listening, CDs and other physical media. What I find most interesting is the author, Dan Brooks', point about the effort involved in collecting music as versus now simply being able to search streaming services for available releases.

When getting into a band became as easy as typing its name into a search box, particular musical tastes lost their function as signifiers of commitment. What you listened to ceased to be a measure of how much you cared and became a mere list of what you liked.

I used to be (and suppose I still am — to some extent) a fan of heavy metal. Almost all of the bands I listened to released records through small labels or independently with small print runs for each release being the norm. At the time, half the fun was not only finding new bands but actually finding their releases so you could even listen to them. No band is all that great if everyone can listen to them and all that — exclusivity is king and all that (there was a sense of ownership or being in the know that came along with finding a new band and being able to refer fans of similar music to them).

Streaming services have eroded a lot of the excitement inherent in the old process of discovering new music. Now you can follow playlists or immediately stream just about anything anyone recommends to you (there are some notable exceptions — one of my favorite bands, Canadian punk act NoMeansNo, only has a greatest hits compilation distributed digitally). As silly as it is, I get less excited about finding new bands now and I tend to over-listen to releases I'm excited about, burn out on them and move on. As fans, we're less invested in what we're listening to because we didn't make the effort to discover it and the financial investment in a physical release or digital download to really attach us to it. Sure, we are paying for music inasmuch as paying a Spotify or Beats is paying for access to music ... but we're not directly supporting artists by buying those releases, by seeing the artwork, by having to go through the tea ceremony of pulling out a vinyl record and putting it on a turntable.

We have more access to music now than we've ever had, but we're much less invested in it. Maybe streaming proponents are right and streaming services will raise the money spent on music consumption in the aggregate, but I can't help but think we're losing something in the process. We've gained so much in the way of convenience and lost a lot with respect to the experience.

My record collection is no longer a lifestyle, a biography, a status. The identities that I and a generation of fellow aesthetes spent our lives fashioning are suddenly obsolete. They turned out to be mere patterns of consumption, no more resilient than the patterns of production that provoked them.

Streaming has made music distribution far easier for artists and, really, I'm not advocating against streaming or somehow going back to any one physical medium (although I do enjoy collecting vinyl). I just feel as though streaming has stripped something special out of discovering and exploring new music. I hope, sincerely, that that experience is replaced by something else (perhaps music fans will go to more shows — I try to) or maybe streaming services will evolve in a way that produces a unique experience all its own. I'm not disappointed that we're moving past music in its traditional physical form, but I do have nostalgia for the years I spent ordering odd CDs from European metal distributors and anxiously awaiting their arrival in the mail.

Systematic #118: Roderick dot dot dot ›

10.16.14 • Permalink

"The problem with marketing, again, is it seems like a science — when it works. You could say a bought this ad and called that radio station and I did this and that and then and the band sold a million copies. But then the next band comes along and you do exactly those same things — exactly those same things — and it doesn't happen. So you are left wondering what the hell happened the first time. And if you're in a band that that works for and it doesn't work for everybody else well it's very tantalizing for you to say, 'Well, we are great, we are better than other bands.'" — John Roderick

John Roderick's fourth appearance on Systematic has been my favorite so far. Roderick uses The Long Winters' history has a lens to examine recording, touring and functioning as a band. Roderick's experience is by no means definitive, but he offers a good deal of insight in to exactly how hard it is to succeed on any level as a musician. If you're able to, I highly recommend listening through all four episodes in order.

Roderick on the Systematic line:

External links and redirects in Statamic navigation

10.15.14 • Permalink

I put together a fieldset and template that allows external links to be added to the navigation of Statamic sites alongside internal links. To implement this in your site, the fieldset should look like the following:

title: Nav link

    display: Template
    type: templates
    display: Link
    required: true
    type: text

    type: hidden

This fieldset should be accompanied by a template named link.html which will need to be added to your site's theme. The contents of the template are simply Statamic's redirect example.

Now you should be able to create link pages in your Statamic admin panel that can then be added to your site's navigation. The pages created in the panel should create page files that look like the following:

title: Example link page
_fieldset: link
_template: link

Is there an easier or more effective way to do this? Let me know.

Twitter sues U.S. government over surveillance disclosure limits ›

10.07.14 • Permalink

“It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance — including what types of legal process have not been received.” — Ben Lee, Twitter VP

I'll be rooting for Twitter to win this, as unlikely as that may be. The most realistic outcome may be increased pressure for oversight on government surveillance and increased public awareness of the issues surrounding it. That isn't exactly an ideal outcome, but it's something — and I'll take it.

ISPs secretly furious at Verizon ›

10.03.14 • Permalink

Verizon seemingly won a huge victory in January when a federal appeals court struck down network neutrality restrictions on blocking and discriminating against Internet content over fixed broadband connections. But Verizon's lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission could backfire, with the commission now considering even stronger rules on both fixed and wireless networks.

That's good news if I've ever heard it (though I suppose I shouldn't be overly optimistic). Anything that upsets ISPs and, ultimately, leads to stronger net neutrality rules is a win for consumers.