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Audio Refugees • View topic - Hard work - Hard site

Hard work - Hard site

This forum is for reviewees and reviewers and all comers to discuss various aspects of Audiopolis reviews. (contribute at your own risk and be sure to actually DO official AP.org reviews!)

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

you can't handle the truth.

nor do you want to ...
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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

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

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Re: Hard work - Hard site

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

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Re: Hard work - Hard site

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

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 ♫ ).
As I returned across the lands I'd known
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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