Got No Friends

After over a year of procrastinating, I finally got around to creating a page for myself on MySpace.com. Okay, I haven’t uploaded any music yet, but I plan to over the weekend. After poking around the site a little, I discovered just how many of us composition-types are represented. A blanket search by genre reveals around 10,000 self-identifying classical music practitioners. Cool.

As voyeuristic as it sounds, I’ve been poking around people’s profiles, in particularly the “my friend space” section. Being a MySpace newbie, the only friend I have listed is that ubiquitous Tom guy—he’s got to be some sort of ploy concocted by big brother to put a friendly face on tech support, right? Tom has over 58 million friends; I on the other hand “have 1 friends.” [sic] So you can understand why I was a little jealous pursing former NewMusicBox part-timer Rob Wilkerson’s list of friends, which is 500+ strong and includes folks like Björk, The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, and Fiona Apple—go Rob! It’s not like I’m into fame worship or anything like that (although I have to admit that I was little excited that Kyle Gann actually typed my name on his trusty computer keyboard a couple of weeks ago), but I am quite impressed seeing that you can’t just add friends at will without the whole invite and approval protocol. Just to be clear, this little musing isn’t some elaborate plea for more MySpace friends—those desperate emails are already in the works, so be on the lookout folks—because I’m perfectly fine with friendlessness as long as it’s confined solely to the digital realm.

For those of you out there who haven’t planted your flag on MySpace’s virtual real estate yet, what are you waiting for? As things stand at the moment, you’ll probably rack up more page views and give more people the chance to hear your music on MySpace as compared to NewMusicJukeBox—something my fellow American Music Center coworkers are plotting to change. The theory goes: Marketplace sensibilities run counter to modern composition practice, i.e. the general public hates what we call new music. Eh, there’s no accounting for taste. Clearly, NewMusicJukeBox isn’t designed for casual web surfers anyway. Its users typically posses a sophisticated musical vocabulary and visit the site with a specific reason in mind. Makes me wonder how our music got to be so non-frivolous?

The way I see it, casting a wider net never hurts, even if page views, rankings, and friend lists never amount to any new fans of my own music. But hey, it’s not much of a time investment involved, so I decided to give the general public yet another chance to love me. While I may be late in hopping on the MySpace bandwagon, so far I have no regrets (and no friends).

One thought on “Got No Friends

  1. alexshap

    Aw, I’ll be your friend, Randy!

    And soon, so will about 268 other folks, at least :-)

    I’ve been on MySpace just a few months, and although I haven’t been especially aggressive about gathering new e-friends, my little collection grows. A few I actually know in the physical world (what’s that? isn’t everything that matters on the web now?), but most I’ve never met.

    One of the things I enjoy about the process, voyeuristically I suppose, is that when I’m asked to be someone’s “friend,” it introduces me to them and to their music. It’s really wonderful to see all the creativity that’s out there, in every part of the country, coming from lots of people who might not be on the same radar screen that I’m on. I find it completely heartening. And sometimes, I discover a true gem.

    My experience in the MySpace music arena has been really positive so far: folks who might not have stumbled onto my website get to e-meet me and hear clips of my music. They show up at performances, they order CDs, and the musicians among them buy scores. How cool is that? And I’ve had conversations with at least one MySpacian about a possible commission. So, just like NewMusicJukebox, our own websites and blogs, and all the places where our enpixelated lives are linked, I think MySpace is a magical tool for us all.

    Of course, if the web ever were to go down, we might all risk suddenly being… sniff… friendless. Composing is, ultimately, a lonely pursuit. Sigh.

    :-)
    Alex Shapiro

    Reply

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