15 March 02005

Classification of online music resources

After four months of keeping my bookmarks on Furl, I thought it was time to reflect on some of what I've collected — particularly in the music resources topic.

I created the music resources topic for items — web pages, databases, print, radio, TV, film/DVD, or anything — that are about music. That includes anything in the tradition of liner notes, reviews, artist interviews and 'paramusical' elements of recorded music like sleeve design.

My set of music resources links runs to 91 items at the time of writing. I've now reviewed and classified all these items (before anyone says anything, yes, I know that using a system that allows easy browsing using tags, like del.icio.us would have made this easier than it is with Furl). This is a work-in-progress research exercise at the moment, like my taxonomy of 'making of' features.

The biggest surprise for me was how many classifications I needed to cover all the bases. I was expecting maybe eight or nine, but ended up with nearly twice that number.

The two largest classifications are fairly predictable.

Those are the big ones. But the interest for me is in the range of other resources that don't fit into either of these classifications.

What does all that show? Let's get the disclaimers out of the way first: I know that some of my classifications overlap or are open to question, but I'm making no claims to positivist truth here; and I'm not making any claims about being 'scientific' or representative, since I was never aiming for that; the selection is heavily influenced by my whims. Nevertheless I think it's safe to draw a few conclusions.

  1. While MP3s may not carry as much rich information as record labels and covers used to, the sheer volume of music-related resources readily available to a music fan is clearly much greater than it was in the 'good old days'.
  2. The challenge, then, is to find creative ways of linking those resources to the digital files of the music they relate to. There's an opportunity to think out of the box, if you'll pardon the pun, about how to package music and present the digital equivalent of the CD or LP box set (see my earlier critique of one digital box set and my specification for software to help link music resources).
  3. Many of the web-based music resources are produced by fans, 'amateurs' and public service broadcasters — there is little commercial activity in this space. Telling a good story about a piece of music brings it to a wider audience and can increase sales. Is there a missed opportunity here?

Making these classifications will influence my ongoing collection of resources, and may lead to further investigation of particular areas. You can view the collection any time, subscribe to its RSS feed, or suggest something I should add.

Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Curatorial, Music and Multimedia on 15 March 02005 | TrackBack

Hi, an interesting site, I will make a point of browsing it.
Have you come across my site KentFolk ? - partly an online calendar/gig list for Kent folk, blues, jazz, cajun ... music, partly a resource as to who the Kentish musicians are and current venues, partly a photo and MP3 log of what happens in the county.
cheers, Beau

Posted by: Beau Webber (KentFolk) on 18 January 02007 at 8:32 PM
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