New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

Moving Past Free Downloads

The Downstream category expands – starting with Taylor Deupree's ongoing 2014 Studio Diary

The Downstream category on is getting a slight adjustment. Henceforth, it won’t be restricted to freely downloadable music; it will expand to include freely streamable music, and space will be allocated, as always, for freely downloadable work, especially music and sound intended for reuse via a Creative Commons license.

A little background: Since August 2003, almost 11 full years — some 3,989 days — this site has published 2,268 entries in the Downstream category. A lot has changed in that time. For longtime Downstream readers, and listeners, and subjects, it may be a surprise to learn that initially the section wasn’t restricted to downloads. There were even some videos early on. In any case, the Downstream quickly became focused on freely downloadable music, with a long run emphasizing music released by netlabels, and then on music hosted by

The thing is, listening today is quite different than it was a decade ago. Back then, today’s cloud infrastructure was just getting started (Dropbox wasn’t released until 2008, a full five years after the Downstream started), free downloads were rare, and full streams hadn’t really taken off as a normal part of everyday listening.

Today, many of the best artist-oriented repositories of music, notably SoundCloud and Bandcamp, are built with free streaming as the core of the service. People mourn the decline in music sales but the fact is that even freely downloadable music doesn’t have the appeal it once did. New business and technological models are trying to anticipate and keep pace with the manner in which culture is consumed and created. There are many nifty approaches — a key one is Bandcamp’s mobile app, which automatically makes any purchased music available for unlimited streaming. It’s an interesting concept: you’re “buying” the music, but the real benefit is the hassle-free addition of the music to what someone somewhere with a white board probably would call your “listening workflow.”

The rise in free streaming as a means to promote music while retaining some control over its dissemnination has led to massive amounts of experimental and interrogative music being uploaded and shared. Expanding the Downsteam to include such work is a big part of this decision.

A case in point is Taylor Deupree’s ongoing 2014 Studio Diary, which is housed at It currently contains two and three quarter hours of freely streamable music, consisting of some 71 tracks. They are each lovely, tiny little sonic gestures, ranging from cloud formations to glitchy beats, each a sketch, a notion, and no doubt potential source material for Deupree’s future commercial releases (he runs the label 12k).

And so it is with Deupree’s work that I initiate this shift in — this expansion of — the focus of the Disquiet Downstream. As of today I’m going to retire the “free” tag and replace it with two new tags: “recommended stream” and “free download.”

Follow Deupree’s 2014 Studio Diary at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe

  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of
    December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
    There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at

  • Ongoing
    The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm:

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.
    0507 / In DD's Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.

    Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 511 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts