Hard work - Hard site

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Hard work - Hard site

Postby ptalbot » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:44 pm

DISCLAIMER: It's going to hit hard where it hurts, so if you're sensible, please look away.
DISCLAIMER 2: It might get lengthy. It's a summary of the reflections I had from my experience of the site. Call it hard love if you will.

It's been almost 2 weeks that I've joined this site and I've been reviewing quite a lot of songs in the meantime.
I wanted to tell you honestly how I feel about it in the hope that this will give you an idea of what an outsider's view of the site can be (albeit a passionate one about music in general), and whether it might trigger some changes or not.

I'm starting to get disabused and the least I can say is that this is hard work...
For a few hidden gems, I also heard a lot of crap, sorry to say!

For me it's really hard work to get passed the lo-fi sounding recordings, for example...
You can call me an audio snob (I probably am) but I have a hard time with shrill sounding recordings, or hissy stuff from 30 years ago cassettes or plain inaudible stuff, or recordings that sounds like they've been done in the garage during a rehearsal with one mic in the corner, or a combination of all of that. I see people apparently manage to do that, and it's amazing to me.

Is it lack of good gear? Apart from the obviously old recordings, I doubt it.
Nowadays, any cheap recording interface, a pair of SM57 (for example) and a basic interest in audio engineering would give you better sounding recordings than a good 50% of what I heard (I'm being generous).
Should I strain my ears and go pass the horrid sound and try to look at the rough stone and guess what a beautiful gem this could possibly be?
Would that really be helpful? I wonder...

About old recordings, I know you've told me before that they were added at first to beef up the content of this site. Fine.
I wonder if they are still necessary though. I question that. I have tons of old cassettes tapes from the 80s but I would certainly never dare to put them out there and force them into anyone ears, however good the songs could be. If I judge it was a good one, I might attempt to record it again.
Truth is, from an external POV, this doesn't help the site looking like a lively place (I know it isn't right now... but anything that is enhancing that feeling is bad IMHO). It hurts the image of the site and make it look like the graveyard of old dreams... Not that engaging, don't you think?

Also not all the bad sounding clips I heard fall in the 'oldies documents' category as far as I can gather. I feel I cannot honestly say to a guy with a shitty sound that his song is great and that he should pitch it to major labels. That would be misleading and untrue.

One other thing that I'm very much doubting the more I think about it is the necessity of the charts themselves... Blasphemy?
I'm not even talking about the fact that, yes, they move too slowly, and I understand that you need quite a lot of reviewer and regular contributions to change that, but is the principle of it altogether a good thing?

I'm listening to the top songs in round 2, and I can't say that I agree with most of them being that featured, I've heard better things that are not there... Not enough reviews, you'll say, ok... and of course it's a matter of taste and I realize that, but that's exactly my point. This can only be the reflection of people taste, and there's nothing more subjective than that... so... why rate based on something that is so highly subjective?
I find that the simple idea is a bit screwy TBH.

And please don't tell me that you've modelled the whole thing upon a defunct garageband site. Who cares? Is it dead or not?
Instead of emulating something that might have work I don't know how many years ago, but is no longer, why not do something different?
Why hold on to a concept that has not given that much of a good result in the end? I get that the BRS must have been hard work for Gregg to code, and being a programmer myself, I can understand he's not prepared to put it in the bin and start from scratch...
But truly, no newcomer will give a shit whether you're emulating that old system. None.
My gut feeling is that you're too much attached to it, but for the wrong reasons... Blind review, yes, ratings and charts? Hum...

I imagine a majority of people here are from a rock sensibility, and however hard you try to like a rap song (I know I have trouble with that), you will never rate it objectively. I know there are categories, but what I'm saying is that when I go in the Folk category for example, I judge it from my own background (which is rock and jazz), not from a Folk POV.
I can maybe say that this sounds to me like a cool Folk tune, but it could well be that a real fold fan would find that it's fake and shitty. I could say it's not very original, because to me most folk tunes sound more or less the same, with a very tried and true chord progression, while another more Folk oriented guy could come and find it really original... how do you quantify my view from his??? There's no truth as such and a good one for me is possibly a shitty one for someone else... So how useful are the ratings really?

The open reviews I think are ten times more useful, and there's much more value to it IMO, because at least you get to know what the reviewer said, perhaps also understands what angle he looked at your song and then it's up to you to see how much you're prepared to take on board or not. There's a huge value in that. There's practically none in the charts.

I'm saying all this because I know that I'm coming at a relatively crucial time in the life of this site and that a big shake down is needed if you want it to live and prosper... What I'm saying here is probably painful and believe me I'm not getting any pleasure from it. I'm just stating what seems obvious to me with my outsider's perspective. I'm not emotionally linked to this site in any way (yet), but I got to know it enough in 2 weeks that I feel I can speak about it.

I don't want this to spur any endless debate but perhaps a healthy questioning about the goal of the site and the means put into practice to achieve this goal... right now they don't match IMHO.

Just some food for thoughts and my little $.02
-Patrick
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby cjdenecia » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:41 am

ptalbot wrote:DISCLAIMER: It's going to hit hard where it hurts, so if you're sensible, please look away.
DISCLAIMER 2: It might get lengthy. It's a summary of the reflections I had from my experience of the site. Call it hard love if you will.


pat, I will speak for me, and in turn to a certain extent, for the site and probably some of the members; past, present and future.

your opinion(s) do NOT hurt. I've been messing around with music for over 35 years. had some success, some failure. been lauded, been booed. been told YES! been told NO. agreed with opinions worth noting, disagreed with opinions worth noting. same for opinions not worth noting. seen what it takes to make it and seen what it takes to insure you don't. done some formal study of the music business and have some personal experience at various aspects of the music business. etc etc blah blah blah ... I think many who've graced these pages and those that preceded them have similar stories and probably feel similarly when I say ....

thanks for your input. really. but (isn't there always a but in these sort of discussions?) .....

ptalbot wrote:It's been almost 2 weeks that I've joined this site and I've been reviewing quite a lot of songs in the meantime.
I wanted to tell you honestly how I feel about it in the hope that this will give you an idea of what an outsider's view of the site can be (albeit a passionate one about music in general), and whether it might trigger some changes or not.


I have underlined the important 2 words in your statement above. then there's the flip side of that coin ... where an outsiders view can be quite different. and though later on you point out that you aren't interested in hearing about garageband, its success in some ways was undeniable and its failure had nothing to do with it's concept. the number of members who were active on that site proved its worth and its demise was more a product of greed and an agenda of its purchasers far different than its creators. it is my belief that those who believed in it still exist. whether or not they can be brought here now was and still is my topic of the day. I went over the numbers of what I think would make us successful in those threads so I won't bother to reiterate now.

and to be sure, I have questioned our own agenda and our sanity in continuing on with the concept of audiopolis myself and whether it's worth pursuing. in my heart, I know it is while in my mind, I question how it can be accomplished in a practical world. finding its followers, young and old, of all degrees of the spectrum is a difficult game. but the people who don't meet your description have in the past, proven how passionate they were about the system. fact.

ptalbot wrote:I'm starting to get disabused and the least I can say is that this is hard work...
For a few hidden gems, I also heard a lot of crap, sorry to say!


I'm not clear what disabused means but I can say throw out an old saying .... if it were easy, everybody could do it.

which is a problem with all music, but especially with what has been always been indie (the old school definition of the word). over the years, I've been across the web, here and there and even tho - not everywhere, to as many online OMD's as humanly possible without treating it like a full time job. I've been used as a filter, and as a reviewer. and I'm here to tell you that by and large, every site that houses simply independent music is far more crap than cream. I haven't even really done much than look at the site you hail from but I promise you, if I did, no matter how good the production values of the music there might be, I would find that a great deal of the music itself, the songs, and the performances to a lesser extent - were equally substandard. but I am rarely fooled by great production, into thinking a song has great worth. nor by performance. if my favorite icons write and record shit, I'm sure it'll sound good and it'll be flawless, but I won't be able to hide my dislike of the song if it's not up to par.

this, is an independent music problem, not an audiopolis problem. hell, if you wanna be real about it - it's a music problem as the same crap exists with all music signed by labels and music making its way to the top void of majors by shrewd indies.

we can't fix what we didn't break. at least not by ourselves. and that will always be true.

ptalbot wrote:For me it's really hard work to get passed the lo-fi sounding recordings, for example...
You can call me an audio snob (I probably am) but I have a hard time with shrill sounding recordings, or hissy stuff from 30 years ago cassettes or plain inaudible stuff, or recordings that sounds like they've been done in the garage during a rehearsal with one mic in the corner, or a combination of all of that. I see people apparently manage to do that, and it's amazing to me.


it's not amazing to me. it's real. I too, have big problems listening to much of it. and I have indeed aired my own dirty laundry in this way, with some really awful recordings but then again, I left my ego (from that perspective) at the door long ago. I'm not ashamed of what I've done and I don't want anyone else to be either. music isn't simply about perfection, it's about how it makes you feel. and the simple joy of making it. listening to it and living it. it's rock and roll and it's dirty. and bad. and bad ass. and trying to do it - is for everybody. the chips always fall where they may depending on a great number of variables. and the "sound" is one of those variables and does influence the win or lose aspect of things. but without the bottom of the curve, there is no top. somebody has to lose when somebody wins. and the losers can learn why they lost and if production is one of the variables, more power to those that have the guts to learn by showing. and sometimes, the learning comes from historical data. and can be fun for at least a few people even tho many may suffer from being exposed to the inferior product. bless'em, I think they'll live.

ptalbot wrote:Is it lack of good gear? Apart from the obviously old recordings, I doubt it.
Nowadays, any cheap recording interface, a pair of SM57 (for example) and a basic interest in audio engineering would give you better sounding recordings than a good 50% of what I heard (I'm being generous).
Should I strain my ears and go pass the horrid sound and try to look at the rough stone and guess what a beautiful gem this could possibly be?
Would that really be helpful? I wonder...


in our system, one doesn't have to endure much ... 30 seconds of listening, a few clicks and then a few words and if it kills ya that much, ya move on. do I wish every song was worth listening to??? of course. who wouldn't. but that's not the nature of music on any level. if you're talking about more than production. which is of course, what the big picture of music is all about. on the other hand, I do understand again, how some people don't have the makeup to listen to horrid sounding "gems". that too, isn't easy and might only be for those interested in potential vs polished. but for every (for lack of a different definition) production snob, there's a potential snob to match out there. who's right? that's a debate that I've been on both sides of for many years now. there is a happy common ground but who's gonna judge and how unless the songs are presented to the panel?

ptalbot wrote:About old recordings, I know you've told me before that they were added at first to beef up the content of this site. Fine.
I wonder if they are still necessary though. I question that. I have tons of old cassettes tapes from the 80s but I would certainly never dare to put them out there and force them into anyone ears, however good the songs could be. If I judge it was a good one, I might attempt to record it again.
Truth is, from an external POV, this doesn't help the site looking like a lively place (I know it isn't right now... but anything that is enhancing that feeling is bad IMHO). It hurts the image of the site and make it look like the graveyard of old dreams... Not that engaging, don't you think?


they are still necessary. I know you've done a lot in two weeks but I can't expect you to understand the workings of the site and the little idiosyncrasies which make me say this and at this moment, I don't have the time nor the will to explain. all I can say is that yes, the old shit should remain. as far as daring to show my worst productions from decades back ... sorry, I either don't have your ego anymore or you don't have my humility and I am probably the worst offender in pure numbers of songs from the past displayed here. that fact troubles me cus I don't want this site to appear to be MY vanity site but I am willing to risk that to keep the numbers up plus, I'm frankly, as I said, just not ashamed of my earlier exploits. I do draw the line of course, I have another 100 songs from even further back I will never show, but mostly cus the songs suck and not just cus the performance and productions are bad.

as well, I assume you've simply made an error in wording when you say a person is forced to listen to any of them. there's no militia holding guns to heads here.

as far as it appearing to be a graveyard, well, it has always been my opinion that new people would rather hear something crap than nothing at all. and if the site only held new music, the number of reviewable songs would be halved or less at this time. obviously some simple math says that as new people enter, if all they upload are new tunes, the ratio will decrease. that's what we banked on originally and I'm not prepared to move off our goals of song numbers to appear all sparkling and new but skint. I still believe the natural progression of things will be that these old substandard recordings will fade into the past naturally with fruition.

ptalbot wrote:Also not all the bad sounding clips I heard fall in the 'oldies documents' category as far as I can gather. I feel I cannot honestly say to a guy with a shitty sound that his song is great and that he should pitch it to major labels. That would be misleading and untrue.


you may have misunderstood the job of a reviewer. it's not a reviewers job to tell anyone to pitch anything to labels. not is it the reviewers job to lie to the reviewee. luckily, you have done the job right. and if you're assuming others won't or can't ... well ... this won't be the site for them and they'll probably figure that out rather quickly.

ptalbot wrote:One other thing that I'm very much doubting the more I think about it is the necessity of the charts themselves... Blasphemy?
I'm not even talking about the fact that, yes, they move too slowly, and I understand that you need quite a lot of reviewer and regular contributions to change that, but is the principle of it altogether a good thing?


there needs to be some some of comparison. it's like youth sports from some years back when competition and scoring was first thought to be wrong. that's nutty. we compete. how else do we judge? what other form of validation do you suggest? without some sort of song placement, what is the gain from the system? besides the reviews themselves? which by and large, singularly, won't be enough.

ptalbot wrote:I'm listening to the top songs in round 2, and I can't say that I agree with most of them being that featured, I've heard better things that are not there... Not enough reviews, you'll say, ok... and of course it's a matter of taste and I realize that, but that's exactly my point. This can only be the reflection of people taste, and there's nothing more subjective than that... so... why rate based on something that is so highly subjective?
I find that the simple idea is a bit screwy TBH.


you clearly do not understand that the relationship of the rounds is kinetic. and it clearly depends on far more action to show its worth. the very nature of the system has shown me with such little activity, how incredibly exciting the charts can and would be with more reviews. as little as 100 reviews per week would move songs from position #339 to #5 and from #16 to 160. ratings occur with as few as 3 reviews. a round is 10. a lot can happen over 7 reviews. and by and large, hopefully, this subjective system will yield accurate averages.

and as far as subjective results, if a reviewer is really good, that will be accounted for in our scoring system. if a reviewer isn't, then, with luck, in the end, it'll wash out as an equal playing field. plus, it's the basis for all reviewing of all kinds. people do score with their own skillset and preference windows in tow. on everything. expecting a system like this to transcend that simple fact is probably asking a bit much ...

ptalbot wrote:And please don't tell me that you've modelled the whole thing upon a defunct garageband site. Who cares? Is it dead or not?
Instead of emulating something that might have work I don't know how many years ago, but is no longer, why not do something different?


my first response is simply that we want to to emulate the excellent system we have tried to revive. we weren't interested in doing something different. if we had been, we would have. and in fact, if you had known of garageband and you'd known of how many people were left dazed and confused as it ended without member reason, you might not be so quick to stand in judgment. plus, lots have done something different. and frankly, their results haven't really been any better than ours. sure, they have 700 non active members doing a little here and there but if that's the success story? how different are they from us really. especially when you consider that our main problem is that nobody knows we're here.


ptalbot wrote:Why hold on to a concept that has not given that much of a good result in the end? I get that the BRS must have been hard work for Gregg to code, and being a programmer myself, I can understand he's not prepared to put it in the bin and start from scratch...
But truly, no newcomer will give a shit whether you're emulating that old system. None.


ewww .... whoops. that's where you showed that you're just a tad too fond of your own opinion pat. NONE? you are wrong. in fact, you're nearly turning me up a notch with that. making me think I should make you a bet for a years salary, quit my job and market this to hells end.

ptalbot wrote:My gut feeling is that you're too much attached to it, but for the wrong reasons... Blind review, yes, ratings and charts? Hum...


we are attached to it. it is what it is. and for all the right reasons. again, at this moment in time, I don't have the ability to go over exactly what the charts can mean and what they can be. but suffice it to say, it's a proven entity in the real world. good or bad, right or wrong. and besides, without them, what is the payoff?

ptalbot wrote:I imagine a majority of people here are from a rock sensibility, and however hard you try to like a rap song (I know I have trouble with that), you will never rate it objectively. I know there are categories, but what I'm saying is that when I go in the Folk category for example, I judge it from my own background (which is rock and jazz), not from a Folk POV.
I can maybe say that this sounds to me like a cool Folk tune, but it could well be that a real fold fan would find that it's fake and shitty. I could say it's not very original, because to me most folk tunes sound more or less the same, with a very tried and true chord progression, while another more Folk oriented guy could come and find it really original... how do you quantify my view from his??? There's no truth as such and a good one for me is possibly a shitty one for someone else... So how useful are the ratings really?


you have simply just explained to us what your reviewer restrictions and limitations are. you haven't spoken for anyone else. especially people like me. and many other far more diverse listeners. there are many others that you have described but it's a big world with all types and besides, music isn't something that is isolated by genre. especially in 2014. don't let your age blur your vision. I pride myself in the fact that I don't. join me.

ptalbot wrote:The open reviews I think are ten times more useful, and there's much more value to it IMO, because at least you get to know what the reviewer said, perhaps also understands what angle he looked at your song and then it's up to you to see how much you're prepared to take on board or not. There's a huge value in that. There's practically none in the charts.


that is all a horse of a different color and it does indeed have its place. but it's not us. and it seems to be in complete contrast to you saying the blind system is good. which is your opinion here? the quick answer to all of the plus aspects you list is that there are plenty of negative aspects to the open review as well. do I need to list them or aren't they as apparent as I think they are? many sites have died completely or become irrelevant because of the open system. dating back to the first ever ... mp3.com. to suffice, honesty is compromised.

ptalbot wrote:I'm saying all this because I know that I'm coming at a relatively crucial time in the life of this site and that a big shake down is needed if you want it to live and prosper... What I'm saying here is probably painful and believe me I'm not getting any pleasure from it. I'm just stating what seems obvious to me with my outsider's perspective. I'm not emotionally linked to this site in any way (yet), but I got to know it enough in 2 weeks that I feel I can speak about it.


again, no pain. just an obvious difference in philosophy and intent. and yes, your participation over 2 weeks entitles you to speak out. and it's appreciated even tho I've debated it point by point. and you may even be right on certain points in some way. and I and we will consider things based on your writings ... but at first glance, it sounds more like you would prefer us to be something we never wanted to be and probably won't ever be. we are what we are. we have functionality problems and some very obvious marketing problems but we are honest and real. and to us, that's probably gonna always trump popularity. unless sanity prevails.

ptalbot wrote:I don't want this to spur any endless debate but perhaps a healthy questioning about the goal of the site and the means put into practice to achieve this goal... right now they don't match IMHO.

Just some food for thoughts and my little $.02
-Patrick


nothing here spurs anything but endless debate. that too, is who we are.

but thanks pat, you're a real contributor. seriously.

cj
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby cjdenecia » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:06 am

btw pat, I know you've happened on a whole lot of stebs "experimental" songs as of late .... that's gotta be tough. as he knows, I am not completely in approval of his flooding the site with so many first thoughts.

I've always hoped that a landslide of other songs would come along and bury some of his work but it ain't happened yet. so sorry.
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby steban » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:24 am

I'm not going to discuss every point, Patrick, but I do want to speak about a few things.

First, I have some of the worst music uploaded here in performance and production. I'm the guy whose band sounds like they're in another room with the door closed! I am not offended by comments like that either. But the truth that the hurts the most is when the words can't be understood. Lo-fi is not bad, but unintelligible is a bummer. I'd like to do better, without going overboard, and it is not easy. That I will lose more pairs than win is part and parcel of poorly produced and performed songs that perhaps are in the wrong genre. But as I see it, there must be losers for there to be winners.

So most likely I will have a lot of songs in the bottom of the charts and lucky to have even one make it to round two. That is OK by me, and who else ought to worry about that?

The charts themselves, however, the second level, it is not as easy as it may seem, but the way they work is pretty slowly. GB was the same way. A song would advance over years into round 4 or 5, I forget the highest round they ever got to, but it was not exciting for anyone who got to round 3, just got so slow.

That is why there needs to be some other faster resolving contest/s and recognition/s always going on in tandem with the big slow moving BRS. We do not have the Alternative Song of the Day, The Review of the Week, The Worst Rock Song of the Month, we have none of that, and I'm going back to GB again. Their contest dragged on as the years passed, but the minor badges one could accrue were freshly earned and constantly changing. I remember how a song one reviewed could be also nominated for a variety of awards on the review page. I won several Worst Song awards over time, but occasionally a Most Original Lyrics or what have you, and by offering so many such public nominations, they were able to create other charts for each of these awards.

We need more reviewers, but we need more timely acknowledgements as well. I remember everyday checking to see if I'd won a Best/Worst award. They even allowed one to nominate reviews as Best or Worst I believe, and these also were featured on the front page for a short period, and the badge was yours forever.

I'm not saying we just need to bring back all that GB stuff, but on a daily level it was pretty cool. The contest was anticlimactic, though, in comparison. It, like ours, needs more climax. I think, even with many more reviewers, it will need more climax. Perhaps it could have annual winners, top songs in 2014, round 1 or 2 be damned. Just something that prevents any songs from stagnating forever at the top of the chart. Perhaps move top annual songs into a top all-time chart, but the same songs would not appear on multiple yearly top songs.

We are collecting a lot of statistics on lyrics, melody, arrangement, guitar, drums, bass, vocals, mood, etc etc. We could create a top song of the week in every category! Hey, right now a single review might earn such a mention, but the object, to stir the pot, would be achieved. As the reviews pick up, these rewards would be harder to get, but they'd still include a lot more people in the process.

So maybe what we have here now is a solid foundation to do a lot more. BRS collecting stats, creating winners, and we just need to tap into that database for all it's worth. And here's the thing- the really good indie songs, wherever they live right now, can win here. And non-musician reviewers can find some cool stuff as well. First, collect the data, and then slice and dice it.

To me, this is why your opening hard work/hard site conclusion is so accurate- we are just not fun enough yet, and that is what we have to evolve into. It can't be sold as BRS only, not enough fun by its lonesome. But if we add the other ideas, we have something.

Lastly, the forum style review is possible for some of the fast paced ideas, or maybe a hybrid of it. I think any mini contest needs a forum thread to be discussed as it plays out. I am hoping we are already in the process of making some concrete suggestions for all of this.

And we who are here now banging out the ideas are going to have a site the indie music world has never seen when we are done. And then the app. Top secret.
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby ptalbot » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:02 am

cj, thanks for your answers, I will not quote everything and reply point by point, this would be too lengthy I'm afraid.
I will just add comments on a few things, in no particular order...

No, no one is holding a gun on my head and forces me to listen, but I think I would be a very bad reviewer if I was judging a 5 min song on 30 s listen, who knows there might be the best thing I have ever heard in the last minute of that song? And I think I would be cheating and not respecting the band by doing that. I expect the band in return to have some respect for the reviewers.

Yes, I will only share something I'm reasonably happy with and think is listenable and believe me, I have no claims to perfection and am the first to agree that some of my stuff is not that great, and will tend to agree with critics.
But I try not to hurt the ears of my listeners... (hopefully! :)), and to me that's just a the respect I owe to them...
Call that ego if you want.

Now honestly, I'm not sure I'm that wrong saying that no one coming to this site without prior knowledge of another system will care what it's emulating. I really don't see why they should... No, I'm not that fond of this opinion. It's just the one I have. No need to bet. ;)

As to having a bias of some sort about production and sound, I probably have, I said so already.
To me a great song with a demo sounding recording will always be a demo recording. My bias is that if I want to hear live music, I go to a live show, if I want to hear good music at home, I'm expecting it to sound like a recording.
But anyway every one has some sort of bias, one way or another... you too.
No matter how hard you try to give an objective opinion, you can't, and if you think you can, I think you kid yourself.
I'm not saying this is wrong. Just that basing a chart system on what can only be biased just seems bit weird to me when I think about it.

I don't understand what you are saying there though:
if a reviewer is really good, that will be accounted for in our scoring system. if a reviewer isn't, then, with luck, in the end, it'll wash out as an equal playing field

Does that mean that depending on the rating of the review itself by the band, there is some sort of weight applied to the scores?
Sounds pretty sophisticated to me, and if that's the case, great point. Not obvious though and probably worthy of a FAQ question.

I've told you, I think, what I value about the BRS. To me this is the blindness of it, the surprise of it, which allows you to give a first listen reaction to someone's music... This is something you can only give (and thus receive) once when listening to a piece of music, and I believe this is priceless.
Someone who has no attachment to your music, and will react (with its own bias as stated above, but that's just unavoidable) will have no reason not to be honest about it. Yeah. I like that. I like the idea a lot.
The charts, I don't care much about them, and I'm not sure they are adding such a value to the site TBH.
Competition, you say? OK. Fine.

All of the above is just difference in POV and that's perfectly fine... You're in charge and I trust you to have enough experience to know where you want to go with this and believe that it's the best way... Let's say I just stirred the pot to see what was in the soup! ;)

But the 'obvious difference in philosophy and intent' and 'you would prefer us to be something we never wanted to be and probably won't ever be.' is not clear to me...
From your home page:
We are dedicated to the independent musician with the primary goal of helping each member improve their song-craft. Through member reviews, community discussions and other avenues, we strive to help everyone succeed in what they do musically. Regardless of their current level of achievement.
and from you whole ''Mission statement" page as well, I gather that the philosophy and intent is to help indie musicians get better and exchange.
I strongly adhere to that philosophy, I think that's great!
I don't know what could have led you to think that I would want to change that. I don't think I said anything against it.
I'm not asking you to sell out either, although in terms of marketing, you probably will need to, up to a certain point, but this is where your philosophy should guide you.

What I said in probably too many words is that some of the means to put this philosophy in practice (in particular the charts) didn't look to me exactly in phase with it, and thus I was offering my (obviously biased) POV.

Keep it up!
-Patrick
Last edited by ptalbot on Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby ptalbot » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:16 am

steban wrote:First, I have some of the worst music uploaded here in performance and production. I'm the guy whose band sounds like they're in another room with the door closed! I am not offended by comments like that either. But the truth that the hurts the most is when the words can't be understood. Lo-fi is not bad, but unintelligible is a bummer. I'd like to do better, without going overboard, and it is not easy. That I will lose more pairs than win is part and parcel of poorly produced and performed songs that perhaps are in the wrong genre. But as I see it, there must be losers for there to be winners.


I must say honestly that a lot of what you do is a mystery to me! :)
And I don't mind crazy stuff, really, I don't do it myself but one of all-time musical hero is Frank Zappa.
He's done some crazy shit over the years. A lot of it!
I cannot say I'm fond of 100% of what he did, not even do I understand it all, but I love a good part of it and his musical passion and skills put it on top of the better musicians/composers out there for me. His musicianship and attention to details and production is way up high.
And if you ever pull out something with a fraction of that, however crazy it is, I will be a fan of yours too!

steban wrote:That is why there needs to be some other faster resolving contest/s and recognition/s always going on in tandem with the big slow moving BRS. We do not have the Alternative Song of the Day, The Review of the Week, The Worst Rock Song of the Month, we have none of that, and I'm going back to GB again. Their contest dragged on as the years passed, but the minor badges one could accrue were freshly earned and constantly changing. I remember how a song one reviewed could be also nominated for a variety of awards on the review page. I won several Worst Song awards over time, but occasionally a Most Original Lyrics or what have you, and by offering so many such public nominations, they were able to create other charts for each of these awards.

We need more reviewers, but we need more timely acknowledgements as well. I remember everyday checking to see if I'd won a Best/Worst award. They even allowed one to nominate reviews as Best or Worst I believe, and these also were featured on the front page for a short period, and the badge was yours forever.

I'm not saying we just need to bring back all that GB stuff, but on a daily level it was pretty cool. The contest was anticlimactic, though, in comparison. It, like ours, needs more climax. I think, even with many more reviewers, it will need more climax. Perhaps it could have annual winners, top songs in 2014, round 1 or 2 be damned. Just something that prevents any songs from stagnating forever at the top of the chart. Perhaps move top annual songs into a top all-time chart, but the same songs would not appear on multiple yearly top songs.


I agree with that. Which is also perhaps why I don't see that much value in the charts.
More interaction, more ways to feature such and such aspect of indie production, more ways to get things moving and have people come back and check out the site is what is needed.
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby suedepudding » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:15 am

When I started on GB around 2004? I had no experience reviewing music. What I did know was, at the time every other site was just scratch my back, I will scratch yours. As far as I know this is still the only system that removes all of that from the equation. And, its been said in this thread the feedback you can get from a blind review is like no other...

Anyway, to make a long story short, GB in many ways made me a better songwriter / producer like no other website could. I was never aiming to please all the people all of the time, but writing reviews and receiving them was really inspiring to me. I wanted to find great songs...I wanted to find bad songs and tell people how to make them better. I wanted all kinds of opinions on my own songs, and I wanted to know how they stacked up against other songs. I got all that and more, that is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to help set this place up after the demise of GB in 2011??. It was one of the first big programming tasks I ever attempted, however I was really familiar with the GB system and had tons of help along the way from people here. I thought the BRS concept was to priceless to let it just go away into the ether..

In the end, all we are really looking for is musicians that feel the same way about the system. Musicians looking for a place where they can get an honest opinion about their music. Musicians that want to get involved in the process. And, believe me I know the system is not every one's cup of tea. You need a thick skin, but at the same time be open minded enough to deal with all the feedback your getting and giving.

Does that mean that depending on the rating of the review itself by the band, there is some sort of weight applied to the scores?
Sounds pretty sophisticated to me, and if that's the case, great point. Not obvious though and probably worthy of a FAQ question.


No, the rating has no bearing on the score... only the five mandatory questions and the preference. GB weighed there system extremely heavily towards the preference. They actually called it a preference engine.
Here the score is tallied after each round pretty much like this...

Code: Select all
$current_grand_total = $total_pref_points * 2 +  $total_songw_points +  $total_orig_points +  $total_mship_points +  $total_emimpact_points +  $total_production_points;


The preference is more like 30 percent of the final score.

I'm not saying this is wrong. Just that basing a chart system on what can only be biased just seems bit weird to me when I think about it.


To me, any music chart is going to biased by its very nature. GB's charts were heavily biased towards what people thought would make it to the radio and please the general population. I saw some of the most banal songs make it to the top of their charts, but if you dug in a little deeper you could find some awesome original sounding music all over the charts, especially in the upper 30 percent or so IMO. That is one of the reasons why we took away the heavy weight on the preference.. again their system had 95% of the score came from the preference choice.


That is why there needs to be some other faster resolving contest/s and recognition/s always going on in tandem with the big slow moving BRS. We do not have the Alternative Song of the Day, The Review of the Week, The Worst Rock Song of the Month, we have none of that, and I'm going back to GB again. Their contest dragged on as the years passed, but the minor badges one could accrue were freshly earned and constantly changing. I remember how a song one reviewed could be also nominated for a variety of awards on the review page. I won several Worst Song awards over time, but occasionally a Most Original Lyrics or what have you, and by offering so many such public nominations, they were able to create other charts for each of these awards.


I miss all that stuff as well. I am pretty sure I even put some hooks for stuff like that while I was doing a lot of the initial programming. I do think it would work much better with a lot more songs and reviewers.. right now the system is still to small to me to really bring any weight to those features. However, its a chicken and egg thing.. would have all those features in place attract more people to the system? Probably... I do remember that GB added a lot of those features along the way. I also know they got a ton of people involved in the initial system with the promise of stacks of cash for the chart winners, in the form of record contracts etc. Although all of us vets know it was pretty much all hyperbole when it came right down to it..

No, no one is holding a gun on my head and forces me to listen, but I think I would be a very bad reviewer if I was judging a 5 min song on 30 s listen, who knows there might be the best thing I have ever heard in the last minute of that song? And I think I would be cheating and not respecting the band by doing that. I expect the band in return to have some respect for the reviewers.


What you can do, if there is enough songs available for you (in your case probably not ;) ), is to refresh the review page if you really cant offer the band anything in a written review. To be honest I used to do this all the time at GB. I also tried to be balanced, which I think you are as well.. some of my favorite reviews are when I could slay one aspect of song but honestly praise another.
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby Krispy » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:09 am

suedepudding wrote:What you can do... is to refresh the review page if you really cant offer the band anything in a written review. To be honest I used to do this all the time at GB.

Ah, the joy of the back button! I certainly do that from time to time. Sometimes I just can't face a Stebs song versus another Stebs song. No offence of course, Steven. ;)
However Stebs songs, I find, are often good for inspiring story or screenplay-type reviews. And he seems to enjoy them. :?

I do agree with Pat though that there is a lot of baffling content. But although it's nice to wax lyrical about something beautiful, it's also fun to take the piss. I don't think, for example, that all The Trouser Cops songs are meant to be taken seriously, I'm pretty sure he/they are just curious to hear what someone will say about thirty seconds of distortion and shouting.

Despite appearances, I do find reviewing a challenge; sometimes I just sit there for the first two plays waiting for inspiration. But it would be worse if all the songs were shiny and perfectly formed and radio-ready. It would then be really easy for me run out of things to say.
If I started taking it all too seriously I would probably stop doing it.
To save time, assume I know everything
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby ptalbot » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:26 am

Yeah. Probably I'm taking it too seriously, but music is likely one of the few things in my life that I ever did... :D
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby HUD » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:24 pm

The GB model worked great as cj says; the site's demise happened when the owners moved their focus away from being "champions of the indies" to iLike.com, taking their stash of music files, mixing in pay charges for commerical stuff, and finally pulling the plug on GB.com.
It was quite the thrill to follow the progress of one's tune on the charts, and to finally advance to rd 2. Audiopolis, quite admittedly, doesn't have the same quality in its round 2 due to the low volume of material.
I'll admit that I share your frustration, Patrick, getting review songs that sound like they were shat out with very minimal effort, which far less excusable than lack of awareness. The latter sort are those for whom the more advanced can provide much useful information, for the former who will continue to go back and jack it off again & again, they really do bog down the system. I suspect no one cares to go into the Experimental genre for fear of all these landmines of shitstink, where a few gems waste away in neglect.
But the model has massive potential, and I think perhaps, Pat, you'll feel better about it when your songs get their stars and proper placement on the front pages of the AR overall charts.
And I promise to get serious about reviewing myself (any day now ♫ ).
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I recognized the fields where I'd once played
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I'd laid
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby ptalbot » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:50 pm

Yeah, I admit I do get scared of venturing in the experimental pastures.
Knowing what I've heard sometimes in the rock or pop category (not even alternative!) I got a bad feeling about this...
I'm willing to admit that there might be hidden gems in there, but will I have the patience of an archaeologist to uncover it?

As to feeling better if my tunes were in the charts, I'm not sure, honestly I care much more about honest reviews than being featured there.

Really, I feel my frustration was
1/ coming as much from bad tunes heard repeatedly (might have been a stroke of repeated bad luck?) - I felt that maybe I had been too hard on some of the first songs I listened to, based on the average level of what I heard in total,
and
2/ from feeling how little was happening here...

The first issue I reacted upon maibly, but it's quite possible that the biggest issue is the second one, and this is only coming from a lack of members... which brings us back to square one: how do we get more people here?
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby KJB » Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:34 am

Patrick, I don't know your original intentions but the reviews were only one part for me. I'm not on here much but I often just browse the bands and pick songs from there to listen to as well. My music on here dates back 20+ years, production quality "rare" but what gets me with music is the emotion so that is what drives my opinion.
Last edited by KJB on Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby ptalbot » Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:34 am

Fair enough KJB!
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby jaymz » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:18 am

I'm gonna have to upload more songs to give this site some credibility!


:D
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Re: Hard work - Hard site

Postby jaymz » Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:28 am

Well I tried. Then the site wanted reviews. Then i tried to do blind reviews but nothing was available to review. I suck :(

ever wonder what Ali and Hadi are up to (other than rolling in billions of dollars)?

http://code.org/

pretty cool. good for them.
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