This Is Islet: The making of a fan site

Islet live. Photo by @edhombre

I’m at Un-Convention in Swansea this weekend. Lots of talk with lots of interesting people about the independent and grassroots DIY music sector. It’s held in a cafe/bar called Monkey in the central city, and in the evening, bands play.

I’m here with a bunch of people I know from these sorts of things – and I’ve been spending a fair bit of time hanging with the very clever Ben Walker (@ihatemornings), who you know as the guy who wrote the Twitter song.

One band played last night that blew me away. And I don’t just mean I liked them, or really loved their gig. They BLEW. ME. AWAY. I can’t remember being this excited by a band in years. Possibly decades.

Ben was excited too. We came back downstairs, had a beer, and raved about how amazing they are. We were instant fans. So we went straight online and looked them up.

We Googled: “Islet band Cardiff” and various other combinations of the band name and their city of origin. Nothing. They’d played one support gig for Shonen Knife (how cool is that?!) – but no website, no MySpace, no nothing.

And we were stuck. They had no CDs for sale. Nothing we could do. We just didn’t know how to be Islet fans.

So we made them a fan site


Is Cloud Computing the Future of Music?


I received an email over the weekend asking my thoughts on this blog post, in which the author predicts that along with your operating system and your software, your music collection will soon be housed entirely online – somewhere in ‘the cloud‘.

The idea is essentially that with increased download speeds, bandwidth capacity and online storage, there will be no need to ‘own’ music. Everything you want will just be available to listen to, presumably for a monthly fee.

According to the post:

You’ll no longer store your music files on a hard drive or flash drive but rather in a cloud of servers scattered around the world. Your net-devices will access your library collection wirelessly, streaming from remote servers. Exchange your Notebook for a Netbook because you’ll no longer think about downloading music files to your computer… you won’t need a massive storage system anymore.

I’m sorry – but why are we still having this nonsensical conversation?




Cherrypeel is the democratic music revolution, apparently. And by democratic, they don’t mean that it brings access to the excluded and disaffected; that it levels the playing field so that the powerful elite are not unfairly advantaged, or that it gives power back to the masses – but rather, it’s democratic because it has voting in it.

Visitors to the site can vote on songs. Most popular songs get recommended to other listeners. You can upload your songs to it and people can vote on them too. Add songs to your playlist, and stream them from the site.

Less a democracy and more a beauty pageant? A great way to help the best of the best rise to the top? Powerful means to promote your music? Interesting opportunity to discover more music you’ll like? What is this place?



Ooizit is a social networking site aimed at promoting UK bands to UK audiences. That’s pretty much the whole pitch.

What do you think? Do we need another social network? Do we need another site for ‘unsigned bands’? What’s great about Ooizit? Do you use it? What does it do that sets it apart?

Is audio fidelity important?

I’ve talked about making different file sizes available for download before. We’ve acknowledged that there are differences of opinion on the topic. For some, OGG is everything. For others, 128k is sufficient and makes things better for people with slow connections.

For some (myself included), in most instances and for most practical purposes, a 320k mp3 file ticks all the boxes. Most of the time.

But the question I often get confronted with – and it’s one that raises some real passion – is whether people (that is to say, civilians) actually care about audio fidelity anymore.




Jamendo is a site on which artists can give their music away to audiences for free, under a Creative Commons licence (which can, of course, include prohibitions against people using that music in a commercial context elsewhere). Fans can make a donation if they wish, but there is no requirement to do so.

Fans get free music via mp3 download, or complete albums via BitTorrent or eMule — and artists get access to a whole community of people that might otherwise never have found them.

Do you need help giving your music away for free? Is Jamendo a solution looking for a problem? How is this useful to you? As usual, let’s have your review of this site in the comments.