I am happy to announce the launch of my newest project MusicDetour: The DFW Local Music Archive! This website is both a local music archive and a music community. UTA faculty members Dan Cavanagh, Micah Hayes, and Chyng-Yang Jang work with me on the project, along with the UTA Library and UTA Radio.
MusicDetour is a project where I hope to put the rubber to the road between my research and practice. Major record labels exploit musicians through recording contracts that strip away musicians’ rights. To overcome this exploitation, MusicDetour aims to give musicians a nonprofit platform to build a fan base, distribute their music, and analyze data about who their fans are.
The archive itself uses an Omeka library server to store music along with metadata about the music and the performers. It will preserve all genres performed in the DFW Metroplex and serve as a free public resource. While the focus right now is on DFW, we will be expanding to Texas, USA, and the world (don’t hesitate to contribute wherever you are). Local musicians create music that often is not recorded or the recordings are not stored. This is a wealth of cultural creation that is lost every day. By archiving this music, MusicDetour will serve as a permanent record of local music upon which new culture can be produced. All music in the archive will be freely available to the public online.
As the site develops, we aim to reinvent the way we produce music, and culture more broadly. The larger project will serve as a hub for local musicians and fans to interact. Under the current culture industry model, large corporations control cultural production. This limits access to music and changes the content of that which is created. Culture is the process through which people make meaning out of things. Cultural artifacts are derived from previous cultural artifacts, but as we demarcate boundaries around music through the industrialization of culture, we foreclose the possible creation of future forms. By using metadata to draw connections between musicians, fans, visual artists, actors, etc., the website will develop a community and facilitate connections. These connections will help develop an alternative cultural model to the culture industry.
We realize that this is an ambitious undertaking, and much of it runs counter to how we think music should be valued (free music?). However, we think that it will be a meaningful start to rethinking the recording industry in a way that values people over profits.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and feel free to contact us to contribute music.