Well, here we go. I finally got around to starting a blog. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, but kept putting it off. I’m still learning how to use the blogging tools, so bear with me. Things will probably change a little in the beginning until I figure out exactly how to do this.
The recent change at T61 was definitely a punch in the gut for me. I got up at 2:30 in the morning on Jan. 20 and thought, as long as I’m up, I might as well get started on the Refined Taste quest and see what the newest uploads looked like.
And what did I find? A giant blown up picture of some chick, music playing that I didn’t ask for, mysterious symbols for controls and no FAQ to explain them. At first I thought the site might have been hacked, when it hit me. They had been talking about a redesign, one I had been looking forward to in fact. But this was such a huge change I was bewildered. I spent a little time poking around and found out there were still quests, but you couldn’t really do them anymore. I figured out my group had become a channel, and saw a few confused posts on the wall, before they discontinued the wall. Others were just as lost as I was. What the hell was going on? I felt uneasy, but I thought, maybe they’re working on things and it will get better. So I have to learn a few things about the site? I can do that. I went back to bed.
I woke up and realized it wasn’t a nightmare. They really did turn the site I loved into something almost unrecognizable. And the more I explored, the worse it got. They had taken away Recently Submitted, so you had to take the songs they fed you. Walls were taken down so we couldn’t talk to our friends anymore. Artists couldn’t talk to us anymore. Almost all communication cut off, just like that. That’s what really killed me. As hooked as I was on the game, I suddenly didn’t care about it anymore. I just wanted the community back.
And I realized the phenomenon that I thought might be the future of music was over. They killed that phenomenon on purpose and replaced it with something that looked good, but was actually boring and safe. Just another Internet radio.
It has been over a week and I have pretty much worked my way through DABDA – the stages of grief:
Denial – How could they destroy something so special? Something that was becoming such an important part of my life? I spent several days clicking back on the site, thinking maybe, just maybe they would come to their senses and change it back.
Anger - I’ve ranted and raved on the T61 Facebook page, in the comments of all the smarmy, possibly paid-off blog articles. Not that it did any good – all was ignored as usual, or just deleted – but it made me feel better.
Bargaining - In between the ranting, there was a certain amount of begging I suppose. Maybe if we showed how much we really cared, they would listen and bring it back?
Depression - I’ve been really disappointed, and really sad. Sad for me and the lost ability to find and promote the new artists I was so excited about on T61, sad for the artists who suddenly lost any way to talk to us or get their music heard on the site.
Acceptance – I now realize it’s not going to be the same as it was. Sam and James made their decision for financial reasons. I happen to think it was a disastrous business move and that they’re going to lose everything in the end, but they’re committed. They’re not going to listen to us just because we used to respect them and love their site fanatically. We’re just numbers to them, numbers that can be replaced by other numbers.
But guess what? At the same time as I was learning to accept that the T61 wasn’t going to come back, I realized with growing joy that what that site started was NOT over. People have been flocking to other music sites like www.uvumi.com and www.stereofame.com. People – listeners and the artists they love – are turning up on Facebook with their T61 avatars and nicknames. Shawn Douglas (aka lostraven) put together a wonderful website, www.movementsixtyone.com, so the T61 diaspora can keep up with the latest events and connect to one another. And it really does feel like a diaspora. Like a group of people with a common culture, looking for a new homeland.
It is obvious to me that the T61 environment gave birth to something that took on a life of its own, something you can’t kill just by turning a switch. It created a new mindset. We got used to a certain way of appreciating music interacting with one another and we aren’t ready to give it up. As I got immersed in the T61 culture, I increasingly felt like I was seeing the future of music. And you know what? I haven’t changed my mind about that. The trends that took place on the website were revolutionary. The music site we used to love might not get to be a part of that revolution, but they really can’t stop it.
I’m not sad anymore. I’m excited.