<this is a living document to evolve but the tenets will remain>
It’s not impossible to avoid facebook (instagram), yahoo (tumblr, flickr), google (youtube, android, everything), apple, microsoft etc in 2016, but pretty damn difficult. None of these things are good for humans and they are especially shit for artists, especially older ones who operate in the broom closet of the sub-basement of the dead horse beaten entrails of cannibalised underground ‘scenes’. After having various accounts locked on multiple music and social media sites because contrary to their hot air about your “safety” they don’t actually support randomised anonymous access, and losing all our recent tour “events”, I finally gave up succumbing to the fake need. So I’ve just stopped.
But here is the rub, all the metrics and the analysis of what was working on social media, WASN’T. For instance on our bandcamp, I am still getting the same (or better) plays per day, some downloads every week, and a few of those per month might even donate, all without wasting a single hour/day/week of my life trying to be cute or even visible for that matter on “social” media. I used to see a number of entries to our bandcamp music from facebook links, but they were exceptionally bad value insofar as they didn’t actually DO anything, not even download music for FREE. Some amazing quality traffic comes via facebook but only because it was shared from somewhere orginating outside the over alogrithm’d craposhere, ie from lovingly openly and honestly curated places like https://don-quichote-net.blogspot.co.nz/2016/08/c2-phlegmatic-ep.html. Now this will be a little more challenging during a new release launch, but again, the last release I spent literally weeks of time working facebook and got overwhlemingly more response to “it’s coming” than to “it’s here” *crickets chirping*. Think on that for a tick. On the latest release almost all actual download of music response came organically from Bandcamp and previous supporters (THANK YOU), real life suggestions, and from a number of web, blog and search sources originally OUTSIDE of facebook/twitter hole. The trick is going forward just as it personally failed with social web, is how to get new people to even give you an ear in, because statisically, once people find our bandcamp, they are usually fierce independent music supporters who usually check out and often donate for more back catalogue.
Bear in mind these releases for years have been avaialable free or by donation so really WTF facebook peeps you won’t even download something from your “friend” for FREE to help with visibilty? I’ve had the same domain for over two decades and the number of people I’m not in physical contact with, old friends and music buddies from facespace that have checked in considering I disappeared (twice) in quick succession…0. Is the web just that big and life that busy? Maybe, but I think academically speaking it is much more an indication that corporate social media truly has nothing to do with “connecting” friends or ideas and everything to do with infinite transient ego strokes to keep the masses complacent and ignorant that they are the product. Unless lucky, really lucky, flush with time or money, or dodgey you simply cannot bend that system to ethically work as a platform to invite sharing of creative work. The liberal pluralist narrative from the media and corporates means everyone is a “content creator” and the social internet is intentionally and effectively pollution that is getting too hard to sift against drip feed algorithms defined to keep you in the dark. Through the non-social web, I am hugely greatful for the durable and sustainable relationships I have with collaborators and a number of supporters who continually give my work a chance and ironically do their best to help share on the social web, but alas, the echo chamber is real.
On principle, I have and will never deal with digital aggregators and the corporate streamers. It is simply a kick to the groin to anyone thinking they are doing a solid to an artist by paying for music when most of the time, the artist truly gets fuck all and I’d rather give away which ironically, social media makes it exceptionally hard to do! And in terms of getting new people to even listen to our shit, the free or donation model is much less shit than dealing with schysters and middle-men and at the end of the day, requires less showers.
Therefore, I have reclaimed my time on the internet, my irl personal space and time and here on this “blog” we have a place where I can quickly post something of interest to myself or project status, it shoots the rss feed into the new basic bands page, and I can get back to doing actual things rather than waiting for it to never show up in supposed friends’ feeds for them to maybe click a stupid tracking button. To be sure, social media works if that is your full-time job or you have carved out a cutesy niche with a bunch of hangers on, but I can’t afford the time or the degradation to the soul for either. Life is short, art hard! No matter how you spin it, it simply cannot be punk rock to feed the tracking machine with you and your “followers” digital lives, so I’m out.
Yes I realise to embed bandcamp player there may be some google font or analytic scripts running from bandcamp’s side of things, and I don’t quite know how to get rid of youtube yet because holy shit does it have ALL the things in the shallow net, but for now, savvy people can block some of google’s assholery (at a minimum please install privacy badger add-on for firefox). But other than some legacy or reference embeds all my new web and art projects will be to the best of my ability free from evil wherever possible. I realise some people will say they that pervasive cross domain tracking on infinite share buttons is the future today and I’m just salty I couldn’t get 500 viewers on my live cam show. Spend 7 minutes flicking though some of that shit and you should have lost all hope for humanity to avoid catasrophic demise. Maybe you do fine “promoting” yourself or your art on the corporate web. I don’t care if you want to use the stuff and of course people will share my work to the wider social web, fine, I’ve just had enough with the existing paradigm, and I prefer for facebook and google to not own or define my material, events or identity. I have been working towards a free and open model that works for me and helps me feel decent about not feeding the machine, or our insane dependence upon it, if at all possible. I honestly don’t know how exactly to invite others to join me because neither the big corporates nor the transient giant killer apps/sites have been on balance, anything other than a waste of time for me. Certainly a few awesome people get connected via corporate social media, but in my experience at a ridiculous price of time and sanity thus relegating the ideas, art and culture you might have shared with them to the backseat while you constantly manage online promotion. I will retreat to the broken VHS deck and make my noises and if anyone wants to come along for the ride, cool potatoes!