Burn the Library of Alexandria — Or what the fall of SoundCloud meant to me
Sometimes my scope and meta practise as programmer and my work in other artistic fields heavily collide. In programming I think about concepts and potential mega structures that maintain themselves in the future and provide proper infrastructure for information and “ART” or “content” flow between “PEOPLE” or “consumers” or “COLLABORATORS”. In the art I am merely a user of those technologies currently at hand. Usually they have major flaws. (like blogging on facebook, but that’s another story)
The fall of soundcloud truly is inspiring to me. An enthusiastic community project, actually not backed by a community for it being centered around a faulty business idea.
Why do I believe Wikipedia still exist and can actually call for philanthropist’s support each year? Because it is Open Source, it truly embraced remixing and collaboration with all the downsides and does NOT TRY TO CAPITALIZE besides maintenance.
SoundCloud on the other hand is a great example on how it surely fuels a party for a short time. (yes short, because I spent 6 years of soundcloud, I put my first tracks there in early 2011) but does not provide the mindset to build something sustainable. (I started uploading and maintaining content to the internet in 1998, with Perl scripts and early php on free servers that are all long gone. but since 2005 I host content on my own servers I pay for every month. There is files there that are twice as old as soundcloud, just to get a dimension of what I am trying to point out.
It failed me as an archive it, entirely. As the misconception of RAM or some may call it memory will doom our generations knowledge. Its like we build in burning down the Great Library of Alexandria into our librarians DNA.
WHY DID WE BECOME SO LAZY TO HOST ON OUR OWN SERVERS? WAS IT FOR THE FAME?
In the free internet, you have institutions like Archive.org that saves snapshots of websites, NOT of platforms that run behind paywalls, etc. I still find content there once in a while that I thought to be doomed forever.
Digital real estate is definitely going to become an important domain.
SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Spotify BeatPort, iTunes, Amazon, those are not our archives, they do not want to help us preserve culture, they are here to capitalize on us lisiting to crap and loads of crap that drains the last piece of mind out of us!
It’s time to refocus again, and see the vanity of it all…. good night!