Question and Answer

Hello to all of the dedicated readers of this blog. I am requesting some ideas from you guys on how to make this blog a place that is more like a music community. When I first started Eclectic Grooves back in October of 2006, I had delusions of grandeur that it could become a thriving community for music junkies to share their thoughts/ideas about music. However after being in operation over a year-and-a-half, this has not been the case. Now, I realize that generally people download music and forget where they got it from later, and that leaving a comment doesn't even cross their minds. But, I have to say that the ratio of comments to downloads is pitiful lately. There has been two comments posted on the Ornette Coleman live show I posted on here, and it has been downloaded over 200 times. How am I supposed to know what you think of the music if you aren't leaving comments?

I know that other blogs like And It Don't Stop and Hippedetrippi have decided to go private with an invite-only basis for visitors. The idea is that you let 30 or so visitors in at a time which creates a community of like-minded listeners. I don't know if this is the right answer for me, but I might consider it if people like the idea. I would prefer to keep things the way they are, because I want to share music with as many people as possible.

A couple friennds of mine said that they loved the blog, but they couldn't figure out how to listen to the music. Typically I use file-sharing services like Sharebee, Massmirror or Mediafire to upload the music, because I don't have the money and resources to have my own file server. I realize that it would be much simpler to right click on the file and download it, but I am not at that stage yet. I will start uploading zip files for entire albums, since I have received feedback from some folks saying that they didn't know how to unzip a .rar file. Also I have uploaded single songs in the Box widget in the top left hand corner. If anyone has other suggestions for presenting the music on here, I am definitely open to suggestions.

I am looking to my dedicated readers for thoughts/suggestions on how to create more of a community of people who are interested in learning more about music and sharing their thoughts on their favorite bands, record labels, local scenes, etc. I have every intention of continuing on here, but receiving more comments will definitely inspire me to post more frequently. There won't be any new posts on here until I start receiving some feedback from you guys on the topics at hand.

Comments

tom_pd said…
Hey I really dig your blog, found some great music here. Your night time mix especially!

Cheers for the music and keep it up!
Hey Kev. Let me give you just a bit of insight into the whole comment thing. Personally when I post a mix, I usually get a few comments on how the mix was recieved. I'm not too offended by this because the main thing is putting the music out there. In my opinion, the statistics are what makes a blog popular.

I am noticing that most bloggers are putting their download links in the comment section, which usually prompts visitors to leave a comment since they are already there. You may want to try that approach as an alternative to going private.

I for one enjoy the various selections that you offer. I don't get the opportunity to visit regularly due to being busy, not to mention the fact that there are so many different blogs out there, but I do try to acknowledge the fact that I did visit (especially if I download something), if just to say thanks for doing your thing.

I hope that you will get more positive responses and continue to do your thing.

Peace and blessings.
Bill said…
Thank you for the great music! I generally dont leave comments because I have nothing interesting to say--keep up the good work!
rich said…
I understand how you feel. It's one of the reasons that I got away from uploading music. I didn't mind so much the fact that there were few to no comments; it was just the negative ones that stood out. Either I only heard from that one guy in ten that couldn't unpack the file or someone would complain about the bitrate.
Often someone would ask for a completely different album than the one that I posted, but that's fair game and often someone would step up with the file in the comments. That was always gratifying and fun for everyone.
I think a lot of people just surf around too fast to comment, whether it's courteous or not.
It's also so damn time consuming as well. I like how yours is very original and consistently well written. And if I didn't say thanks for the Ornette boot, thanks!
heather said…
gabba.cc (if its still around) is a british music site that has an interesting set-up where you have to sign up as a member (free and open to anyone)in order to download. anyone is free to comment and vote on any of the songs on the site.
most interestingly is that members are awarded points on comments and voting; an accumulation of points leads to the ability to also post songs...
you may not want other people posting, and i don't have the technological know-how to tell you how point systems work on online sites...but there are some ideas, at least, to instigate community participation...
heather said…
i forgot to mention that i enjoy your site; visit infrequently (trying to cure my internet addiction), do download, but never post comments....usually due to my inability to express why or how much i like something.
all the best!
lakecog said…
kev,
sometimes i think people have too much to look at, listen to, do these days. too many choices. the sheer volume of music, movies, and information means we're always on to the next thing. that, and as said, many people aren't good at expressing themselves. it's human nature to want recognition for something we've created. many blogs have the same experience and i believe that's why many of them fold. internet participation can be as personal or impersonal as one wishes, and given the choice, i think most people take and run. even if they don't mean it like that.

with so much of music being homogenized on radio, itunes, and in stores these days, your blog and others are bastions for something different and eclectic. being different has always been a lonely game, but you can be sure you're affecting people with your music, comments or not.

cog
basso said…
Hi Kevin,
thanks for your comment @ the growing bin that directed me onto your amazing blog. I really enjoy the variety of different musical styles over here.

That comment issue is really frustrating for most of the guys spending their time ripping and uploading. In my last post I've tried to get some help (info) by the downloading fraction and actually 2 of 800 downloaders gave something back.

Back to your blog:
How about giving out the download links on request?

cheers,
Basso
basso said…
Dumbo forgot the follow-up's hook.
SpankyMonkey said…
I guess I'm guilty as charged - though I am trying to do my own blog to pay back for some of the great music I've dicovered here and elsewhere (underdiscovered.blogspot.com) - usually I'm at work and posting comments is typing not clicking which I haev little cause to do! Also the problem is that I only listen to the music many hours/days after I download and coming back to comment requires discipline. I think members only is a good think though I think that you should be able to request an invite.

As for communities of likeminded people - it would be great but with so many blogs out there it seems a little optimistic - a lot of poles and russians post through actual forums which encourages chat - maybe a widget that duplicate the text of posts in a forum that we all sign up to with links back to here for downloads and stuff (maybe sorted by genre) might encourage a more communal feel - with so many blogs closing (tunestop eightfires ablazeola etc) its needed.

I'll have a think about a widget and location for a forum if it sounds like a good idea - the problem with blogs it that the comments are hidden where as a forum is a bit more open to chat.

PS Love the whirling Dervish got me into some new artists in a jiff...
Miles said…
came to your site via closet of curiosities. as a fellow blogger, i wrestle with the same dilemma and don't know that i have a viable solution for you. i'm planning to experiment by bribing people into a response by offering a prize (ie: post a music mix with an obscure and untitled bonus track at the end. whoever is 1st to guess the name & artist, wins a cd of my choosing after privately sending their mailing address). pathetic, isn't it?

for the most part however, i'm pleased by the number of hits & downloads that my site receives, despite the overall lack of wider reader response. although feedback & acknowledgment is greatly appreciated and always valued, i've come to realize that in the digital age where one doesn't need to work very hard for their music fix, free music downloads are considered standard operating procedure. in my time, i had to go across town to my favorite record store, root through the bins, consider my $ budget, get back home, unwrap the disc, lower the tonearm and transport. that process makes one appreciate the music so much more. but i'm sounding like an old mad here, "i remember when clark bars were only a nickel!!" the point is, our interests have been made that much more accessible to us via the web. it's a double-edged sword. easy availability = under appreciation & devalued worth, the scourge of the western world, the u.s. in particular.

you may find this post of interest:

http://birdswithbrokenwings.blogspot.com/
2008/01/q-with-author-of-birds-with-broken.html

good luck to you! i look forward to perusing your site, and will leave comments!
dudu said…
First of all - thanks for the music and the texts.

My comments

1. People often don't have an immediate verbal response to the music offered. Unless they were already looking for it, they might be intrigued by your description or curious. They download, they listen, perhaps later, they enjoy or not. in the flow of things, the time for a comment rarely comes.
A "mechanical" "Thank you" might be enforced or at least promoted, but I very much doubt that you want that.

2. Your blog is a regular or semi-regular place to be visited by people who have bookmarked it - ie, the music is one they like. They also visit other blogs, forums and communities, sometimes close in spirit to yours - how could it be otherwise ? It's only logical people don't remember where they downloaded a particular album from. On the other hand, they think "Eclectic Grooves is a place where I can find great music".

3. Communities already exist. You can create another one of course, but I think it would have to be a forum. Why on the other hand not be more active in an already existing one, like skafunkrastapunk or jazzbabel for example, and perhaps introduce a somewhat different direction with your particular flair ?

4. Of course, what inspires you for posting music is not for me to say. As for me, not a blogger, in SoulSeek and torrents I don't expect feedback. I like putting in circulation music otherwise marginal - if and when some kind of comment comes, it's a bonus but not a motive. The main difference here is the trouble you take to introduce us to the music, to lead people who know nothing about it to become curious. Whenever I have written comments or descriptions for music uploaded, I have enjoyed the process for me and I imagine that some people find it a door for something they like, perhaps a lot. That's the best I can suggest to you, I don't know if it is enough.

That's it for now - again, thanks for the great music.
thisistomorrow said…
hey kev! thanks for the comment, i'm glad you like the funk!
i can understand your feelings about the whole download/comment thing. some of the tracks i post get over 1000 downloads, but no comments. people just don't appreciate the fact that they're getting all this music for free and that most of the bloggers are buying the music they post. i thought about going private, but i want to present and share all these forgotten gems.
anyway, thanks for all the amazing music you share.
mike
Kelly said…
I know I forget at times that there are real people pulling the strings back there. Sometimes I think I honestly believe that the internet as a manifestation of the creative collective (un)conscious gets taken a bit far and I want to correct the way I handle and appreciate this. Since it often transcends(?) time and money it proves to be a different dilemma then getting music in the past... less real maybe but there nonetheless. I have lots of tinkering to do. I will try to express appreciation more; however poorly worded!
Pekis said…
Hello,

Giving music to the people is simply beautiful, and you know it's good.

If it's for free (great in our $$$ world !), it's for free, even without people's answer ... but you've done well.
tswift98 said…
Don't let it get you down! I haven't even been to this site and it is cool..........I like the idea of leaving a link in your comments section and prompting the user to leave a comment about the stuff that they just downloaded........it's a great way of receiving thanks. Thanks for all the great gems you share with us.........much appreciated!!!
privitization of art is a very bad idea.
Anonymous said…
thanks for the music.
Kevin said…
Well I thought about just dedicating a post to some of your ideas, and I may still do that. However, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that I really appreciate the kind thoughts, feedback and suggestions that you have posted here.

Here is a summary of the thoughts/suggestions from the readers of Eclectic Grooves:

1) Put links in the comments section to inspire people to post a comment while they are accessing the download link. I just posted the Cecil Taylor links in the comments, so we'll see if this method makes a difference

2) Sign up as a member to the site(free membership) to receive download links. Members are awarded points on comments and voting; an accumulation of points leads to the ability to also post songs.

3) Give out the download links on request through e-mail.

4)Widget that duplicates the text of posts in a forum that we all sign up to with links back to here for downloads and stuff (maybe sorted by genre) might encourage a more communal feel

5) Bribing people into a response by offering a prize (ie: post a music mix with an obscure and untitled bonus track at the end. whoever is 1st to guess the name & artist, wins a cd of my choosing after privately sending their mailing address

6) Be more active in an already existing forum like skafunkrastapunk or jazzbabel and perhaps introduce a somewhat different direction with your particular flair

Thanks again to all of you for your thoughts and suggestions!

Cheers, Kevin
Anonymous Coward said…
Hey... I saw your blog just today while searching for some music by Howlin' Wolf. In recent times I've discovered that I can find amazing music from blogs. And one like yours where you get a) music I love, and b) great reviews of that music, are really wonderful. I feel so guilty knowing that I have been browsing blogs for almost a month now looking for stuff I like (jazz, classic rock, Hindustani and Carnatic, African rhythm, etc.) and haven't left comments only on one or two blogs. I never realised that I should actively comment to show my appreciation for people having shared music, and to continue discussions about the music.

So, here's my bit for now... I'll wait for the Howlin' Wolf album to download, and will leave a comment in the appropriate blog post. (Additionally, I shall also go about exploring your site.)

Thanks again for the wonderful job you're doing of sharing.

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