Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Fri 10th Aug, 2007

Musical melange

I've started to listen to Jamendo's quantity of Creative Commons licensed music, via the very nice plugin for Rhythmbox written by Guillaume Desmottes. It seems to be very heavily used by European contributors, and the sheer quantity of music there makes it very attractive for people wanting to put music in their own Creative Commons licensed productions. Downloading is via BitTorrent or eMule, which is also a nice touch. It does, however, (borrowing Jeremy Clarkson's turn of phrase), have a few problems.

The chief among these is basically no quality control. You get quantity, but finding the needle of quality amongst the haystack of frankly ordinary offerings seems to be mainly reliant on you listening to everything. The genre descriptions won't help you - misspellings, random extra spaces, miscellaneous capitalisation, accented characters, and genre labels that read like short novels (what ever 'Alternative Pop Rock Trance Drum and Bass Hip Hop' is, it's certainly not well defined) just get in your way. And it's not just the labelling - there are tracks there with so little musicality that they even make my awkward, simplistic offerings look good. Add to this the feeling that, as an English-as-an-only-language person, I am seen as a minority by some of the artists and it leaves me thinking that Jamendo is a community that understands itself, but doesn't bother to make itself accessible to others.

This is not to say that that there aren't some good artists in there. So far I've found Atomic Cat, Bad Loop (which I knew about before), and the amazingly excellent psy-trance of Quantica. Thanks to Rhythmbox's ability to search on a genre ('Trance', in this case) and use that as a playlist to sample the entire collection, I continue to trawl through Jamendo looking for good artists to use for future Creative Commons mixes.

(Footnote: it appears that Quantica has put a no-derivatives license on their music. They also run their website entirely on Flash; so I feel very little interest in conveying my approval (financial or otherwise) to them at all.)

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