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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Keeping the fire for your hobby

I've found that with my new job I went very quickly from having a lot of free time constantly, to practically none at all. For the most part I welcome this, but it has had some snags.

The main snag is for a while I had a build up of reviews that needed doing as a result they were rushed and it felt like a chore. I also found my passion for Folk music dying slightly. I assume this was because I had such restraints on the reviews that it wasn't fun doing them. Thankfully I had some time to plough through and I am now fully caught up.

I was concerned though that perhaps my love of folk would still be affected. Thankfully I was giving an album called Bare Foot Folk by Ange Hardy to review.

This album is one of the best I have reviewed so far and really helped rekindle that love in me for the genre, it inspired me to give the review a good write, much like my proper standard, and I hope this comes across.

In case you don't know I write for two online magazines, Bright Young Folk and Fatea. They both have completely different ways of reviewing so I need to put a different head on when working on them. Fatea has quite a large catchment working with Folk, acoustic and some stuff I would argue is Indie. They take a more liberal attitude of celebrating most music.

The trouble is I've had to review a lot more music that is outside my interest, which is good and bad as it develops my winder understanding of music, but also I find it harder to put as much 'Umph!' into the writing.

Bright Young Folk has a much closer remit which is much more my area, so I enjoy the music more. The catch then is all reviews for Bright Young Folk are supposed to be neutral in writing, so, like with Ange Hardy, I find music I want to just sing countless praises for, and I can't because the review needs to be neutral. This isn't a bad thing, Bright Young Folk concentrates more on spreading Folk and accepts that a reviewers personal feelings towards a certain album may be different to other Folkies, so Bright Young Folk aims to show what people would be getting. Fatea is more emotional in the writing (but aims for positive, avoids negatives reviews instead choosing not to review something not liked) acting more like a celebration of music rather than simply a platform to find new stuff.

Another plus for Fatea is we get sent the actual review CD, Bright Young Folk sends mp3 files. See my last post to understand why I regard that a plus.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Is the CD dying?

A lot of my peers seem to get increasingly puzzled by the way I always try to buy DVDs and CDs rather than opting for digital downloads. The fact I opt for discs seems to wind some people up to ridiculous proportions as they spew every reason under the sun why I should be keeping with the times.

The arguments they generally use go like this:

- They are cheaper
- It is quicker, you get your album within a few minutes
- They only take up computer space rather than physical space
- It is easier to get them illegally
- It is the modern way to do it

All of these points are valid but don't convince me to swap completely. Inevitably I do have a lot of downloaded music, in particular if I only like an individual song I will download it from itunes, so it is not as though I am completely against doing this.

But my main responses would be these:

- Yes they are cheaper usually, but you get what you pay for, I want a physical object so I am prepared to pay more for it.

This actually leads me to my main reason for wanting the physical disc. I want the possession, it feels more like I own it if I have it stored up on a shelf. It is mine. With a digital download I just don't get this feeling at all, it feels just like another computer file, the same as everyone else's, in way if this file 'mine' my on individual copy, or at least not in the same way a disc is.

Secondly I like to have them on display, with DVDs if me or the better half can't think of something to watch it is easier to just look over the shelf and pick something out that we haven't seen for a while or strikes us. This is harder with computer files, you usually have to dig up what it is you want, and already know what you want.

Similar with CDs. My background with music is I am trying to promote a less popular genre, and my hope is by having them on display people will be curious to look through them. Interesting cases may catch someone's eye and I can tell them about it and just maybe, convert someone.

This is a lot more difficult with digital files because you can't just let someone browse at their own leisure as easily. People do not like to be preached at ESPECIALLY when it comes to music, people get very defensive so it is better to let someone decide they want to try it off their own back.

- It's quicker. Yes it is, but I'm very patient and believe good things are worth waiting for. Plus I quite enjoy the anticipation of knowing it will arrive soon by post. To me that is part of the fun of a disc. I also don't like this whole culture of 'must have everything right now' attitude that modern society seems to go for. There is nothing wrong with it as such, I just personally don't like it.

- They only take up computer space, not physical. See previous sections, but also on an additional note, to me discs and are ornaments, I want them to take up space because without shelves full of CDs and DVDs my room would look very bare and empty. Then again I suppose that is what everyone else uses books for... oh wait...

- Easier to get them illegally. I hate piracy. I believe it kills our movie and music industries so I will always pay. Folk music is struggling because of piracy, I support these bands who don't make as much as big pop stars. I help them the way I can, buying their music legally. Plus yaknow... key word is illegal...

- It is the modern way to do it. Yes it is and no doubt in years to come I'll be forced to swap completely or some new platform will arrive. Hopefully CDs wont be totally dead and will be able to exist along side new platforms as CD and Mp3 (for example) currently do. Besides I'm very old fashioned for my young age.