I think all of us agree that despite the first hit song on MTV back in the day, video actually did not kill the radio star, though perhaps the internet has changed the landscape so that more stars can rise, and radio is no longer the sole vehicle of spreading an artist’s music. Now MTV doesn’t even play many music videos anyway. So the marketing world is still learning. While the visual can enhance the auditory, there is still something to being able to close your eyes and just listen, or just listen while you do the dishes, fold laundry.
Cue YouTube. But even that isn’t what it used to be, and if you are unlucky enough to have an ancient laptop like mine, it takes longer for videos to load anyway. Movies didn’t kill the reading of novels either, and thus far while there is a place for Kindle and Nook, e-books did not destroy printed books either, despite those who may argue the contrary. The playing field has changed, that’s for sure, but it’s good to have more options rather than fewer, isn’t it?
As the old saying goes, the one constant is change, and it’s good to keep options open, be flexible enough to stretch and grow. It’s part of the fun actually of finding new ways to bring poetry into people’s lives.
You may have noticed that though I used to do a lot of my poetry readings on YouTube, lately I have been using mostly audio, particularly the SoundCloud format. YouTube lovers, do not worry, I will still do more videos, but as fun as that production is, it does take more time, and not simply because of all the visual elements that need to be edited, but also because frankly, YouTube isn’t as easy to use as it once was. Almost every “upgrade” there has seemed a downgrade to me, with less intuitive controls and defaults. For instance if I go to your YouTube channel, I am going there to see what videos you have made. I am not interested, at least not at first, in what other videos you have clicked like, or commented on. Yet that’s the default they use. It’s truly annoying.
I still hold out some hope that the website will get back some of what made it great, being an easy way for the unknown persons out there to get their work and passions online. Sadly the big names are more and more corporate these days, and it’s harder and harder to get noticed if you are first starting out. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, but even the YouTubers who started and became big will tell you that it’s not so easy to build that kind of audience there anymore, and that YouTube is no longer the user-friendly place it once was. Heck, even subscribers don’t get notifications like they once did. Tons of content there, but not much seems streamlined or easy to follow. I’m constantly bombarded with suggestions (as if I’m on Facebook!) on YouTube to watch content that is really of no interest to me, but I have to work, click and search to find the stuff I’m actually subscribed to (click that link above for another YouTuber’s explanation).
Well, that’s my view of it, particularly as it involves my interests in poetry and fun videos with my family. Better for me to have a writing hub like this on the Dad Poet, and make use of what resources are out there, including YouTube and SounCloud. As I said, I still will use YouTube, unless something better replaces it, and I will probably do a feature post here about some of my favorite YouTube poets and readers, but lately I’ve just been having more fun with SoundCloud. It still has that feel of newness and adventure, but there is just so much content available.
I follow some favorite musicians like Mary Cigarettes and my future sister-in-law Katie Kelly, as well as some favorite NPR programs, including A Way With Words, and programs from the Poetry Foundation. And speaking of the Poetry Foundation, they have a project on SoundCloud called “Record a Poem,” and many of my readings there have been submitted and accepted to that project. It’s fun to follow, and heartening to realize that there are many more lovers of reading poetry out loud than you might have imagined.
Recently I shared with you my elation upon finding two of my poems recorded by SoundClouders Francis Uku and Ygor Raduy, and today I want to introduce you to this talented artist who incorporated my recent reading of Jack Gilbert’s “A Brief for the Defense” into his piece. What a thrill and an honor to play a part in such a skillfully produced piece of music! Thank you, Rainer. And thanks for helping to restore my faith in art and in innovation.
For my original recording of Jack Gilbert’s poem, and the text, click here.
- SoundCloud’s Push To Be The YouTube Of Audio…and beyond (VIDEO) (sallyaboutsocial.wordpress.com)
- Beginners Guide To Using SoundCloud (hypebot.com)
- Sound Advice from the Founder of SoundCloud | PandoDaily (pandodaily.com)
- 5 Ways To Promote Your Music With SoundCloud (hypebot.com)
- SoundCloud, BandCamp and all of that (news.eshac.com)
- How MTV forced rock stars to be sexy (salon.com)