BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS: Working with, and without, the Internet

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First Posted: 5/13/2013

Last time we spoke, I wrote about the importance of Record Store Day and briefly touched upon a simple but important subject that I would like to elaborate on today: the Internet and music.

It’s not breaking news that the Internet has completely revolutionized our day-to-day lives. I have been traveling throughout Europe for three weeks, and thanks to my tiny, sleek computer phone, I have been able to talk, e-mail, and even video chat with people 3,000 miles away. While it’s practically impossible to think of life today without these little gadgets, I think there should be some important thought put into these tools.

I often get asked how I feel about the Internet’s presence in music today and how it has helped our hurt the music community. I honestly feel like this is always a trick question. Today, we have the greatest and fastest communication tools. In 2008, Title Fight booked our first ever tour with Tigers Jaw all through the social network MySpace. We were able to contact people from all over the East Coast who were able to put shows together for us in basements and fire halls. This was our first jump into touring and our first time playing outside of Wilkes-Barre.

Besides the luxury of contacting people, bands are fortunate enough to self-promote with ease. Within seconds, a band’s demo can be released online and anyone from Moscow, Penn., to Moscow, Russia can hear it. Just the other week, a new band from Wilkes-Barre called Grin released a three-song demo online, and this week Strength For A Reason streamed their new EP as well. To me, it’s admirable to see a band put up new songs and let them speak for themselves. You can tweet, retweet, or tag your way into getting thousands of views, but it seems almost impossible to “get anywhere” without that.

It’s hard to say that these are bad options for bands to use because they are so easy and so effective. But the thing is, if you look back on our area just 10 years ago, there were shows happening and being promoted by flyers at the mall and by word of mouth. People like Bobb Mac were booking shows by calling strangers’ phone numbers that they acquired, and he still continues to book events today like the art show he is holding at Utopia on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre on May 18. While the means have certainly changed, the mentality hasn’t.

It’s hard to pick exactly what I feel is the drawback because just when I think something is causing a problem, it seems to offer its own solution. Maybe I’m just nitpicking at something that is irrelevant, but it’s clear that things are constantly evolving. Perhaps people said the same thing when people started using computers to record instead of analog tape machines.

In high school, I took a photography class. Now while this was well into the digital age, we rolled our own film, developed our own negatives, and then printed the final product. While we could have done this with a digital camera and Photoshop, we learned how to operate the equipment that today seems obsolete to some.

I think this is the most important thing to learn. While you can use every technological gadget to your advantage, it is best to understand that you can still do everything without it.