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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Perchance to Stream

Just a quick update on the introduction of streaming audio to Disquiet.com. Apparently streams are much more popular than I’d even imagined.

In the short time, less than six days, since a new streaming audio service — “Listen?” — was introduced to this website, one of the first two mixtapes/playlists has become the most popular page viewed on the site in the past month. That’d be the series’s second entry, “Guit-ronic Mix: 6 Solo 6-Strings,” which is all guitar-derived quiet noise and glitched-out melodic fragments. The first Listen? entry, “Inaugural Mix: Beats, Drones, Surface Noise, Ether,” is doing well, too. I hope that the websites of the musicians and labels whose music is represented in Listen? are seeing a correlative uptick.

I don’t really look at stats much — much of the music I listen to has, I fear, a fan base that wouldn’t fill my backyard (even if it weren’t raining), so “popularity” is somewhat unrelated to my endeavor. However, in relative terms it can be a useful means to gauge the interest of readers, so as to better serve ’em. Initial sense: Streaming audio? Great. Thematically linked streaming audio? Even better. OK, more to come.

Of course, the reason I launched Listen? here on Disquiet.com wasn’t to test the value (in terms of popularity) of streaming audio as a means to boost traffic. (Streaming audio was also added, in the same time frame, to the weekdaily Downstream entries.) It was because I’d become convinced, in conversation and correspondence with friends, musicians, and so forth, that a playlist or mixtape was another means to accomplish this site’s goal. That goal is to provide context for (“to provide context for” being a polite euphemism for “to promote”) a particular realm of music and sound — summarized for the sake of concision as “ambient/electronic,” but in actuality broadly combining electronically mediated composition and performance, generally meditative audio, and sound-related art.

All of which makes it all the more rewarding and meaningful that the theme-based Listen? entry is doing particularly well. Of course, it may help that the theme in this case is guitar, and not, oh, refrigerators, or glossolalia, or traffic, or the hum of the inner workings of old laptops.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. Brian
    [ Posted February 26, 2009, at 1:20 pm ]

    That is indeed good news. Disquiet has intimidated me for years since I couldn’t possibly manually click and listen and download and look for everything and yada yada. It’s SO great to have these “listen” streams where I can turn it on and go back to drawing.

    And oi vey! Comments! Thanks Marc, this is all good.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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