To embed or not to embed?

April 28 2012

For some reason, most of the best classical music blogs – On an Overgrown Path, Entartete Musik, others – rarely embed YouTube video (or audio-with-images). Bob Shingleton at OAOP calls those who do “creatively challenged”. Andrew Morris at Devil’s Trill agrees and says that he feels “slightly ashamed” when he does it, as if it was a sleazy personal habit. Alex Ross quotes YouTube often. Why can’t a blog be a scrapbook of things you like?

I don’t want to write a music blog. Others are doing them better than I could. But I don’t want to leave music out of this history blog. At a certain level of my psyche, I refuse to make a distinction between music and history. I don’t even have a “category” here for music.

I often embed music and other clips. Like most people, I usually don’t credit the original uploader. If one gives picture credits, one should give YouTube credits. And there is the question of the legality of some clips on YouTube in the first place. But I choose to regard that as a matter between Google, the uploader and the music industry. And yes, sometimes I realise that I am posting a clip because it is easier than writing something.

Embedding is sharing, like putting the clip on YouTube in the first place. I prefer YouTube to Spotify. Music must be shared, one way or another. I hate headphones. They are a negation of sharing. Air, not only eardrums, must vibrate. Sometimes I have things to say about the piece I am posting. Sometimes it is directly relevant to history.

Is it presumptuous to expect someone to stop what they are doing and listen to something just because you have posted it? Yes, just as it is to expect them to read what you are writing. You owe it to them to use as few words as possible.

This is a Gesamtblogwerk. Music is part of the great river. People can listen or not.

But there is a missionary element too. I’ve spent hours trying to get tone-dead (I wrote that, not tone-deaf) people, and those with different tastes from mine, to listen to things, usually unsuccessfully, and this is partly the last shred of those hopes. That may make me a bore. It doesn’t make me “creatively challenged”.

4 Responses to “To embed or not to embed?”


  1. Over the past couple of years I’ve been seeing blogging in general drying up, a lot of the interesting, content-writing people switching over to pure chatter on facebook or google+
    But I am greatly in favour of the Gesamtblogwerk. Please keep it going! And be as free in your inclusions as you wish. Embedding sound or video or pictures simply makes them more reachable: I don’t see it as a sign of anything but concern for your readers.

    • davidderrick Says:

      Richard, Thanks, as for all your comments. I don’t even do Facebook.

      OUP will presumably soon start selling Toynbee in electronic editions to the few who will pay. The Somervell abridgement is already available electronically in the US via Barnes & Noble.

      Having scanned Toynbee’s works, they will send a bot round the Internet looking for people using them.

      Actually, they should be paying me, since the way to sell things online is to offer some of them free in order to tempt people to buy the real thing.

      Solution: buy Toynbee rights before they do this? They will have been cheap until electronic publishing got going. Toynbee’s large works are unreprintable as real books.

      But really, this is fair use. So yes, I do plan to keep the Gesamtblogwerk going.

      David

  2. davidderrick Says:

    As Toynbee would have said: “They have ears, but they hear not” (Psalm cxxxv.17).

  3. davidderrick Says:

    Why does nobody in London go to the online Naxos Music Library, which offers anyone with a library ticket a vastly greater, if different, selection of music than, say, YouTube? Because of the feeling that they are alone, that nobody else is listening.


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