Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MySpace's 2003-2015 Song Deletions, And How This Impacts The Sault Metal Scene

Today, I wanted to address the recent news that broke concerning the apparent loss of songs posted to MySpace between 2003 & 2015 due to a "server migration project." Many international news sources have been covering this story in the past few days (BBC News is one example), with varying degrees of skepticism as to MySpace's motives and handling of the content, and estimates say that up to 50 million songs have been lost as a result. As someone who frequently visits and researches social media pages featuring local bands, I know first hand that this isn't a shocking development for a couple of reasons. In recent months, readers will recall that we had acknowledged the demise of PureVolume and CBC Music's independent band page services, and neither was actively used by current local bands as it was. MySpace was very much in the same boat, as newer social media websites and applications have taken precedence in this regard.

As well, I know first hand that the media players on MySpace haven't worked in months and months, appearing to show musicians' uploaded songs, but never playing them, so I think that their "server migration project" is not a new development. Truth be told, local band pages that I have visited on MySpace today mostly look how they did before the news broke. Many photos still load, but videos don't appear to, and songs are apparently lost, despite appearances. When MySpace first had it's major layout overhauls in 2013, I backed up band pages that I could in a text document for research purposes, but alas, I am too late in 2019 to back up music, unless they can re-locate material from the server migration. With a couple of exceptions, MySpace was not a going concern for current local bands hoping to promote themselves in the mid-late 2010s, but this news does force me to make some noticeable changes to our band links.

A number of the local metal, hard rock, or punk artists that we linked on the SMS via MySpace were primarily because of their song postings, and if there's no described or substantive photos there, or official pages on other sites, I can't justify keeping them linked on here, as I only link to bands whose official page still has music, videos, or useful band information. If you see MySpace links on the SMS after today, it's either an oversight, or I felt they had enough content to remain listed.

For this reason, I am reluctantly removing these acts from our inactive Sault Ontario band links: The 12 Gauge Ready, Andrew Angelic, Bankshot, Bill Satchels, Bin Hawdon & The Taliband, The Bottom Half, Brad Example & The Role Models, Brendan Christie, Dark Salvation, Divinity Collapsed, Dreamscape, Eden Plague, Face First, Faithless Sin, Fitswitch, The Fury, Glunk!, Good Morning Gorilla, The Hangdowns, The Harsh Heads, The Joe Falco Experience, Lee Maines, Nite Wulfe, Out Of The Mouth Of Babes, PYSS, Room 206, Sneaky Pete, Squirrelboy & The Smiling Giraffes, and When They Fall. For Sault Michigan, I have removed these acts: A Shade of Light, BlisteringBane, Deprecor, From The Ashes Of Angels, Gentlemen's Bet, The Grape Slushies, Mike Libertoski, Monkey's Uncle, Mugwort, Orb, Outshined, Riot! By Night, Savage Roar, Self Control, The Slackjawed Rats, and Weed.

I also dropped Mitch Sirie's solo act The Sorrow Fields from our active Sault Ontario links, as Mitch surprisingly doesn't have an active online page for them elsewhere, but this is still an active project.  Regarding our "Other Sault Ontario/Michigan Metal Links" sections, I didn't have to remove anything there, aside from Sault Michigan's Klusterfunk Studios, best known to readers from Clownsack recording albums there. Also, I have replaced Scofflaw's link with their Facebook page, and if any of the above bands have an official, self-created page that I locate on another service, I'll definitely bring them back (Wayback Machine/Oocities archives, fan sites, news articles, and YouTube channels don't count.) Of course, there are some MySpace pages that remain linked, but this is predicated on no more deletions or "server migrations" causing any losses of data, or perhaps even an artist deleting their old page intentionally. We'll keep you posted when/if anything is found or learned.

While MySpace is still alive, it's a shell of it's former self, and any changes the site made in 2013 to make the service more music friendly just served to strip away anything that made it interesting for musicians before then. I can count the local bands who actively maintained their MySpace page in the mid-late 2010s on one hand (Destroilet is a good example), but even their page's songs don't work. In The Sault Metal Scene's earliest days, MySpace was our most important source of local band pages, and while Facebook would supercede it by the turn of the 2010s, it remained an important resource until band profiles were wiped out in 2013. The customization options, friendly culture, and wide footprint of 2000s era MySpace made my early Sault Metal Scene work so much easier, and I can still remember how much a profile's "Top 8" friends could create a rabbit hole trip to even more relevant bands and projects. For reference, here's what's left of The Sault Metal Scene's MySpace page.

I wish MySpace had warned users in advance that their old materials may be deleted, which would have gave me time in 2017 or so to back things up, but what's done is done. Hopefully everyone out there has backed up their media on MySpace (or just never deleted it), but if my hand must be forced into cleaning up our band links, at least things are more current and relevant for content across the board. Check the above links and your preferred news outlets for more on MySpace in 2019, and stay tuned for more news and notes on the SMS soon! Thanks everyone!

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