A self-hosting, music-hoarding, album-guy - I'm an online tribe intersection

Group talking We’re all individuals. But sometimes being pigeon-holed can be to our advantage.

I’ve slowly realised how my interest in music; its listening, its storage and its curation, can be fragmented by online “tribes”.

Tribes are common across the major social media platforms. Groups or Pages on Facebook, Subreddits on Reddit, subject based hashtagging on Twitter, Instagram and the like.

Being of a technical bent, and inherently distrusting of Facebook, I’ve tended to rely on Reddit as one repository where I return for discussions amongst “my tribes”.

What I’ve noticed is how I have been self identifying my own interests in music along subreddit lines. The advantage of this is a ready supply of interesting articles, suggestions for new projects and better ways of doing things.

For starters, in terms of music listening, I’m an album guy. In general I listen to whole albums (whether that be LPs, EPs, full soundtracks or compilations), not individual tracks. I still consider the overall album as the most important artistic output from an artist and my favourite albums are those which have consistent themes or tone and feel “more than the sum of their parts”.

Well, there’s a subreddit which tends to maintain similar philosophies.

I have a collector tendency. My other big hobby, before I quit my full time job and ran out of money ( ;-) ) was wine. I loved cataloging the wine I had bought and grouping it by style, region and so on. I’d use the data to plan future purchases, taking into account consumption patterns and what I and my family would like to drink in the future.

I have the same thing for music. I love grouping music by year (especially), genre, artist and more. The best thing about music, unlike wine, is that it doesn’t disappear! But underlying that desire is a requirement to store music in an appropriate manner, optimised for analysis. There are a number of subreddits for this:

r/musichoarder is, for my tastes, a little shady and openly discusses piracy which I am not a fan of, so feel free to give that one a wide berth if you like…

Finally, curating and hoarding music tends to imply you are taking responsibility for the hosting of music storage and music related services. This seems in direct contradiction to the wider mainstream move to streaming services, yet I’m happy to take that responsibility.

It turns out there’s a name for this - self hosting.

And there’s a subreddit for it too - r/selfhosted.

So now I’m in the position where I’ve found online communities that reflect my own interests and I’ve begun to more-strongly define myself along those community delineations. Is this dangerous?

You must’ve heard of the filter bubble. This is where our interests, beliefs and values shape what we see because of the incentives of online platforms, and so we just have those beliefs re-inforced, even if they result in negative outcomes.

Has my gut preference for self-hosting blinded me to the advantages of streaming? Does my preference for albums mean I waste a lot of time listening to filler when I might actually enjoy embracing more immediate musical stimulation? The easy answer is to keep trying new things; new genres, new platforms, new experiences. The hard answer is actually trying new things, because day-to-day that can be a little… exhausting.

Do you consider yourself a free-radical or a tribe member?

Thanks to unsplash-logoKate Kalvach for the image above.
tags: selfhosting albums

The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.