Boy, I really sounded like a curmudgeon yesterday (see below). And because of that, I've received a couple of defensive emails from PMA winners.
My bitching about MySpace seemed the sorest point. Anna Cole of Anvil Chorus, the band I singled out for sending multiple weekly bulletins, rightly pointed out that you can always delete a friend/band if you don't want to receive their "myspam," as a friend of mine calls it.
I think bands should hustle and pimp themselves, and if MySpace provides an easy, viable way of doing that, go for it — just be prepared for jerks like me to complain. The book of etiquette on this issue will take a long time in writing itself. It's important to remember that, ideally, you want people to notice you because your music's great and not because you're the best in town at stuffing virtual flyers in their inboxes.
Case in point: In the Pines (holy shit, that song up on their profile right now is good). Almost without exception, every time I see this band, I overhear someone praising the show. I also often have people tell me they were blown away when they saw the Pines for the first time last week or whenever. Granted, I'm not their MySpace friend yet, so I don't know how they are about bulletinating. But big kudos to them for going from Best New Act nominee last year to Best Folk winner this year — and for making one awesome picture up on Phocas.net. Is it just me, or does Brad Hodgson look like Gordon Downie of the Tragically Hip? (Is it just me, or has anyone else even heard of the Tragically Hip?)
But back to the issue at hand, I'm obviously talking myself in circles. Shit, I can't give the definitive word on MySpace promotion (if you can, post a comment, please). For music critics, MySpace has become invaluable for finding out about unknown bands. That's why I started an account. Then I got hooked up with old college friends I'd lost touch with. All good for starters, but this egocasting, as it's becoming known, doesn't feel healthy. For me, it's like having a little mannequin of myself up in public somewhere, always needing maintenance to keep up with trends, a little speaker in its throat announcing my tastes to anyone who passes by. Forget Terminator robots — the machines are going to enslave humanity by reducing us to paralyzed, twitching, neurotic lumps. I frequently come close to MySpace suicide, but then something comes along and reminds me how useful it is at the moment.
So, bands: Have a MySpace. Use it tastefully. And remember, it's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't wanna live there.
I'm now on the third repetition of that In the Pines song. I think I'll add it to my profile! Weeoo!
Oh, and to anyone who uses mass cell phone texting to communicate about events: Stop Or We Will Kill You. I encourage everyone who receives a message from a DJ about some upcoming gig to return that text at 5:30 in the morning with the message: "Hey, bro, sorry I missed your show!!! LOL."