My first encounter with music was an old record player at my grandmother’s house. It was not the kind of record player that most people know. It was a huge apparatus the size of a house. It was partly automatic and also housed the 7″ vinyl records, a radio, the amplifier and the speakers. It must have been quite the conversation piece at the time and probably the first of it’s kind in the suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark. My grandparents were also the first to get television in the area and their home – a huge country house – became like a local movie theater for years. But for me, it was all about the music.
Inside the brown cabinet were records by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and, well, Cliff Richard and the Shadows. All records purchased by my mother, who was a young woman at the time. I would play the same songs over and over again. I was not even a teenager at the time, but for a kid like me there was nothing better than putting on She Loves You and dancing and singing a long.
Later, as a teenager, I would get my own stereo including a record player and a compact cassette player. The record player was mostly used for playing hit singles in the beginning. The cassette player was for taping music off the radio and making compilations for girlfriends.
In the seventies, when a new 7″ single by your favourite artist came out, you would play it to death. My first single was Metal Guru by T. Rex. I most have played that a thousand times. And I still listen to it today.
Other great singles from the era included tons of singles by The Sweet, Slade, Gary Glitter, David Bowie, David Essex, Roxy Music, 10cc, Mott The Hoople, Sparks and…ahem…The Osmonds.
Eventually I began listening to albums and soon discovered blues music, classical music, jazz music and other non pop music that did not use the single format.
Working in and later owning my own independent record shop in Copenhagen, I remained faithful to the single format and kept playing and selling singles in the eighties and the nineties.
Then the CD arrived and the single format really began to suffer. Of course, we had CD singles, but they were not the same. Sticking in CD singles in a CD slider was just not as fun as playing those vinyl records.
Then the MP3 arrived and suddenly you were discovering songs again. But the MP3’s were rather soulless as a format, they were often illegal, and they were scattered all over the place at various dubious destinations. iTunes came and we began to buy the same songs that we already owned on vinyl and CD (and sometimes even cassette tape, too). It was a revolution but it was still not like playing songs in the old days.
Today, music is delivered by streaming services. The services are often shareable, like the tracks from SoundCloud and YouTube. I found my self listening to songs again. On repeat. Over and over again. Like your are supposed to with a good song. Really getting into it. I was home.
The stream of a song basically consists of either a link or an embeddable code that you can post on your own blog. Being a former record collector, record shop owner, and (don’t get my started!)…I began to package the song files with additional digital content relevant to the song. Besides the music, I included a text introduction from Wikipedia or a blog, the music file, cover art, sometimes lyrics and concert information, remixes, music videos, photographs, official links, you name it.
The blog single was born.
I know find myself listening to these blog singles over and over again. Like I did with the records at my grandmothers house, my record player in my room at my parents house, in my record shop. The single was back.
Today, I publish blog singles every day on a vast network of music blogs. And this time around, it is even better than in the old days where we were a couple of friends hanging around the record player. Because now, I can share the music with the world and I daily make new music friends from everywhere.
Now, not only can I enjoy my love for music personally but I can also share it with other people, who love music as much as me.
This is one of the songs I shared today.
That generates some interesting charts mixing genres, old and new, and music from several countries.
I tried to make a Wikipedia entry for ‘blog single’ but the format is not acknowledged enough yet, so it was deleted. But now, many people use the term and other bloggers use the format, so I will post a re-entry, including a link to this blog post in the near future.
You get much more into a song when you listen to it isolated instead of in a constant flow from a CD, an MP3 player, an iTunes dashboard, the radio or a streaming service.