The internet is full of “The Internet Is Bad For Musicians” articles. Whether it be the lack of income streaming brings, or Youtube's recent plans for screwing over indie labels, or… well if you've spent anytime on the internet you know what I mean. So here is a small good news story that only exists because of the internet.
A few weeks ago, I spent a lovely 5 days in Barcelona with my missus and an old friend from back in Canada. And we didn't spend a penny (or pence, for you English readers) on accommodation. How is this possible? Well, many years ago, I became internet friends with a dude named Lieven on Myspace (you might know him better as A Singer Of Songs). We eventually became IRL friends: putting vinyl out into the world, driving a van around Europe, and most importantly, me crashing several times at his pad.
During those Myspace years, in the same fashion that me and Lieven became acquainted, I also became internet friends with a guy named Tyler Butler. Where me and Lieven had thousands of kilometres of land and ocean between us, me and Tyler actually lived in the same city. We even played an open mic together (he was much better than me, which is probably why he still plays music and I just talk about other people's).
Fast forward back to the not too distant past… after I posted some pictures from my recent trip to Barcelona on Facebook, Tyler sent me a message saying that he was going to Barcelona in a couple weeks and was wondering if I had any recommendations. I sent him a map and Lieven's email address.
Besides being a fellow DIY musician and knowing the best places to get proper tapas, Lieven also had started doing something called Indies Keeping Secrets (with a few other lovely friends I wouldn't know if it weren't for the internet), which is a cool thing where they put on secret shows in secret locations all around Barcelona.
You've probably worked out what happened next (given the Soundcloud track above, the picture below, and the general obviousness of what I was building up to).
If you haven't worked it out, here's a quick summary: a musician from Canada ended up playing a lovely house show on a rooftop in Barcelona during his European vacation. And this happened because the internet is not all doom and gloom for musicians and music lovers. There is so much really great stuff that happens (and can happen) because of it. Hell, even me telling you about this little story wouldn't have existed back in the day (and I had to stop myself several times from going on a bunch of semi-related tangents). But it seems like people focus more on how nobody buys as many CDs as they did when way too many people were buying N'Sync CDs instead of how cool it is that stuff like the above little story are happening (and able to happen) all the time.
So the next time you're reading another depressing article about how everything is fucked, just remember that not everything is fucked. Focus on all the magic little things that are going on. And more than anything, remember that the internet can either be used to fuck or unfuck things. I guess it can also be used to complain about how things are fucked or rave about something unfucked happening. Make sure you're on Team Unfuck.
[ sorry grandma for all the f-bombs in that last paragraph ]