Blipper since: November 14, 2008
"Music is one of the most powerful forms of expression and they are not even my own. I just borrow them, very gratefully of course."
Pete Dulin: What part of the world do you live in?
GR8FL: I live in Lewes, DE, a sleepy beach resort town in the winter and a very busy tourist attraction during the summer.
Dulin: What is the appeal of Blip.FM for you?
GR8FL: For the first 8-10 months on Blip.FM, the appeal was participating with a musically-sophisticated international community in a real-time, music-sharing environment. There was something so alluring about being able to “tweet” messages via song that became almost immediately addicting for me. Even though there were spoken/written language barriers, music seemed to transcend this as we found shared common ground.
Unfortunately, a lot of this changed when imeem was introduced. I came to learn the rest of the world was “treated” to 30-second snippets. Blip.FM tried to compensate for this by also introducing video blips (through YouTube) but the music quality was dreadful and the little screen to watch the video held no appeal to me. No longer did it seem like a nice, cozy music-streaming site, but more like an us vs. them, depending on who could hear what. And v-blips held no attraction for me due to the compressed bandwidth and generally poor audio quality. Many blip DJs from different parts of the world left and still haven't returned. Though there will always be attrition followed by a new wave of people, what has come in their place has not really impressed me. The current game seems to be badges and reblipping reblips of reblips. Sigh... I'm still chasing after that combination of good music, good feeling, and wonderful people from all over the world that once was a big definition of Blip.FM for me. Maybe it will come back and maybe it won't.
Dulin: What are some artists that you have discovered on Blip.FM that others should know about? Why?
GR8FL: There are so many that I have discovered on Blip.FM, but a few include One eskimO, Monsters Of Folk, Jarvis Cocker, and Pulp.
Dulin: What song or artist do you never tire of hearing? What is special about that song or artist?
GR8FL: This includes The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
Dulin: You've began blipping about two weeks before I started an account. Yet, you have nearly five times the number of listeners (not that it's a competition). Why do you think you've attracted so many people?
GR8FL: This one makes me laugh. Have you also compared the number of songs you've blipped to me? I think I have been much busier on Blip.FM and that would explain the numbers.
"Blip.FM is an international community with many customs and philosophies."
Dulin: You've uploaded lots of songs on Blip.FM that appear in searches. I think that's a very generous act given the time it takes. Why have you uploaded so much music?
GR8FL: I've upload music for a number of reasons. The first reason was to make available songs that were not available through Blip.FM that I was listening to and thought others would like. The second reason was to make available a complete track rather than a broken sample track or one where the quality was awful. But the main deluge of uploads really started in May 2009 when imeem appeared. I attempted to balance what was only available via imeem or through video.
There now is a downside to all this uploading and one that gives an interesting discussion, if not in this interview, then elsewhere. The server that I upload my MP3s to has been served with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice. In turn, the web server has advised me that my account is in jeopardy of being terminated. This is the second time I have been told about infringing on copyright material. I find this whole business of copyright violations infuriating. First, I make no money from this. In fact, it costs me money to pay for the server to store all these files. It also takes time to tag, upload, and register in Blip.FM as well. In Blip.FM, all I am doing is streaming the song. I have since learned some folks gone out of their way to find the actual URL of the MP3. Instead of downloading it so they can keep it for themselves, they are simply linking (like an ugly tick) to the file on the server and stealing bandwidth from me. Second, if anything, I believe the artist is being promoted, not stolen from, by having the music blipped.
But the real issue is who is hosting the song and who is liable. I am just a small cog in the big mess of thieves out on the Internet. My only interest was to stream some tunes. Blip.FM has no interest in hosting these files either as they stopped shortly before I signed up. Much of what I have uploaded includes rare B-sides, out-of-print material, defunct labels – much of which you won’t be hearing on commercial radio.
For the time, my music is offline. I need to figure out where to put it so nobody gets in trouble.
Dulin: How does music, whether playing/listening on Blip.FM or elsewhere, affect your behavior, reflect your mood, or express your personality from day to day?
GR8FL: I am so much happier listening to music whether online on Blip.FM or otherwise. Music can shape a better mood, frame a more sorrowful one, and just add a bunch of exclamations where none existed. For me, music is one of the most powerful forms of expression and they are not even my own. I just borrow them, very gratefully of course.
Dulin: You've shared comments about etiquette on Blip.FM. Why is this important for online interaction?
GR8FL: Online interaction is so much more fun when people get along. I have been doing Internet activity for a long time and while there is no "correct" [behavior], there are a few norms of social interacting that I have learned along the way. With body language and non-verbal feedback being absent during online communication, we really have to rely more on carefully crafted words.
Dulin: What are some of these courtesies that new blippers might want to know and use?
GR8FL: Just like any new social situation, it is good idea to check out the climate before leaping. In other words, see what people are doing before you do any blipping. And some golden adages include treating others the way you would like to be treated, remember there is a person on the other end of your message. Be mindful that Blip.FM is an international community with many customs and philosophies.
Dulin: Since you began blipping, have you had any experiences that surprised you? Please explain.
GR8FL: Yes, I was really surprised at how musically rich the Blip Nation was. Part of me thought this would be a Top-40 like experience, and I am so glad I was wrong in that assumption for I never would have stayed around.
Dulin: Blip.FM involves online interaction with others that live throughout the world. Do you feel a sense of closeness with others on Blip.FM?
GR8FL: Yes, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few in person. No matter what ends up happening, I will always be grateful for this most wonderful experience via Blip.FM to meet new people – so many varied and interesting people. For that reason alone, my life is so much richer.
Dulin: Does this interaction lead to understanding? Misunderstanding?
GR8FL: Yes, some thought I was a man in the beginning. I had to change my avatar and do some offline/online corrections that have since been cleaned up.
Dulin: If you could blip one song that could reach everyone on the planet, what would you choose?
GR8FL: John Lennon – "Imagine"
Dulin: Any other thoughts to share?
GR8FL: Yes, thank you for asking me to do this. It has given me a good opportunity to think about Blip.FM.
Pete Dulin is the co-publisher and editor of www.presentmagazine.com and writes freelance for magazines, websites, and newspapers. Always looking for the next great song, he can be found in the Blip Nation at http://blip.fm/slipperydistortion. He unleashes profound non sequiturs at Twitter.com/petedulin and publishes creative work at www.petedulin.com.