curtain, or: mp3 dot gone

nov 23-14, 2003.

Everyone knew it would happen. Nobody knew when. Now one knows.

"On Tuesday, December 2, 2003 at 12:00 PM PST the website will no longer be accessible in its current form," an 'important announcement' issued on november 13th read. "CNET Networks, Inc announced today that it has acquired certain assets of, Inc. [...] [P]romptly following the removal of the website, all content will be deleted from our servers and all previously submitted tapes, CD-ROMs and other media in our possession will be destroyed."

That is a shame. I wish somehow it would be possible to archive the site's content. Of course the files are not owned by the company, but by the people that uploaded them. Often they did that hoping to cybercatch some ears. But most of it hardly got heard, except by those that had heard it already.

Someone should archive that gigantic collection of sound files (allegedly there's over 750.000 streaming and downloadable songs, and another approximately 300.000 tracks hidden from direct access due to the 'only 3 for free' limitation imposed earlier this year [ a total of more than a million! ], from over 250.000 artists - that is, artist-aliases, as many artists created several different artist-pages; me myself was three of them). Recorded - and most of it fairly recently - all over the world. The amateur stuff. The dorm room freak outs. The 'recorded in my bedroom' songs. The high school bands. All of the 'I just bought myself an electric guitar and here is what I do with it ... (Hi mom !)' tracks. The tens of thousands of 'sounds just like X' and 'trying to sound like Y' recordings. But also, yes, I found them: the occasional gems, the originals.

I'd say this is what's sitting there, though not for much longer, on's servers: it's this past decade's "noise made by the people". had all of it. Or, at least, a lot of it. And it is not so much some of it in particular that interests me. It is "the whole chaotic noise together".

It is probably true that, after the first net-boom years of illusion, in some sense (and in many one's e[ye][ar]s) became a 'dump', frequented mainly by dumpsters, used to 'dumping' for free, and even being paid each time someone picks up a piece of (their) dump. Which might have been OK. But not without a decent amount of proper 'traffic'. Traffic there was, but not to 'dumpsters' pages. The whole 'business' idea was wrong, and impossible to adjust - certainly not through the series of ill-timed and clumsy adjustments as applied at's over the past year and a half ... But the 'boom' had given the site so much momentum that the dump just kept on growing.
Well, I love dumps.
And I really do think's dump was as priceless as it was unprofitable. So much so, that really nobody can be found who wants to pay for it.

But before someone over there in San Diego hits that 'erase' button, wouldn't it be fun to organise an event - half an hour, an hour, maybe more - with loads of terminals, each of them, simultaneoulsy streaming, out loud the playlist of a different, randomly chosen, artist? Pop, punk, techno, folk, classical, metal, bluegrass, jazz ... The more, the better. In the bigger cities those 'mega'-cybercafés would be pretty suitable spots for such a happening. Each terminal playing back over its own built-in speaker set.
... "The whole CHAOTIC noise together" ...

[ :: The San Diego Union Tribune :: The Register :: Tidbits :: ]

[ added 23 nov: ]

Michael Robertson,'s founder, apparently is trying to convince Vivendi to allow the Internet Archive to make a 'snapshot' of the site and host its music collection. I think it would be great if that would work out somehow. The Archive is an obvious and appropriate place to lay to rest. On the other hand, the legal implications of such a 'move' are not very clear, and obviously Vivendi would want to be covered against any possible 'attacks' and 'claims' from copyright owners. Of course they realise, unfortunately, that deleting will be the easiest (and most of all: the cheapest) way 'out of'.

[ march 2004 ]

"Auction house Cowan Alexander announced the unloading of former online music star's remaining earthly possessions..."

[ Wired News, march 09, 2004 ]

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