A Luddites Music Guide to the Net

So, you've finally taken the plunge and decided to plug your computer's modem into the phone jack. You've gotten an account with a local service provider and want to track down all of that useful information that you've been told is just waiting for you.So what are you waiting for?Tapping into the resources of the Internet and its peripheral services can be mind-boggling at first. The World Wide Web, Usenet Newsgroups, e-mail -- it's all a big blur to the uninitiated. Hopefully, the following information will serve as a useful introduction to some of the places music fans can search for the answers to their questions. Please note that, depending on what service provider you use and your particular surfing software, the process of finding this information may vary.USENET NEWSGROUPS These are thousands of special areas where people go to exchange information on specific topics. After users have made their way to the newsgroups (with software such as Windows Trumpet Newsreader), they simply select the special area where people are talking about a certain subject and voila!This is not an area where people "chat" back and forth in real-time. Instead, people post messages to the group. Someone else logging onto that area later on will see the previous messages, read the subject listings for each message. If there looks to be anything of specific interest to them, they can click on it and read the entire body of the posting.For example, if I am looking at messages in a group dealing with jazz, I may come across a message which has the subject, "Kenny G in Concert." Since I have no interest in this artist, I simply ignore this message. Further down the list, the subject "Anthony Braxton's new CD" may appear. At that point, I click on this line and see the entire message. If the person asks "Has anybody heard the new Anthony Braxton CD?," I can do one of three things: Go on to reading other messages; post a "follow-up" message which will, in turn, appear in the newsgroup for all to see; or reply to the person directly to their e-mail address (listed at the top of the message).How does one find a specific newsgroup? This is relatively simple but can also prove to be time-consuming. If the software you're using, allows you to search for specific groups, you can simply click "group" and then "subscribe." You will then get a screen listing all of the newsgroups. Since there are many thousands, you'll probably want to narrow down the search.For example, if you're interested in Iggy Pop, put your cursor in the "search" box and type in the word "Iggy." In the blink of an eye, a list of newsgroups containing the word "Iggy" will appear. Click on that name to add it to the list of newsgroups you'd like to see every time you fire up Newsreader.(I can tell you from personal experience that there is only one newsgroup with the word "Iggy" in the title and it is called "alt.fan.iggy-pop.")There are many newsgroups devoted to musicians and bands. Most can be found in the listing which starts with the term "alt." They're in alphabetical order and are also subgrouped into other categories. For example, you will find musical newsgroups under "alt.fan." and also under "alt.music.", so you'll want to check both lists. There are also musical groups and genres listed under "rec.music."So if you are interested in a specific style of music (as opposed to an individual artist), you can often find newsgroups to meet the bill. For example, if you're interested in ambient music, you'll find a group called "rec.music.ambient." But, if you're interested in only the ambient music of Brian Eno, check out "alt.fan.brian-eno." You'll find that newsgroups devoted to specific artists are generally pop music oriented; a reflection on the demands of people within the Newsgroup system. A single group called "alt.fan.rock" would be too crowded to accommodate everybody wanting to exchange information about subjects ranging from Pearl Jam to Buddy Holly.There is really just one jazz newsgroup which is called "rec.music.bluenote" (no, it doesn't only deal with the Blue Note record label). As far as classical music is concerned, there are groups on sub-genres like "rec.music.early," and "rec.music.opera."WORLD WIDE WEB (WWW) The Web is the one aspect of the Internet which often gets the most attention. It's a sprawling network of information both useful and useless. Here one can find everything from movie clips to research into Iceland's educational system. Web "surfing" can be done with a lot of software, but the most common kinds are Netscape and Mosaic. If you know a specific site where certain information is found, you can easily type in its address (called a URL), hit "enter" and be on your way to that location. In the beginning, however, it is most likely that you will want to find an on-line listing of places to visit. So check out "Yahoo," a site offering directories of categorized information.Once you've fired-up your Web software, type in the address "http://www.yahoo.com/" (without the quotes) and hit "enter." You will soon be whisked away to one of the Web's most useful locations.The initial page offers a list of various subjects including arts, education and entertainment. Next to the word "entertainment," you'll see TV, movies, music, magazines and books. Click on "music." That gives you a new listing, specifically of music topics including archives, artists, awards, books, composers, genres, history, instruments, labels and sheet music.Now click on the word "genres," which will call up a list with such titles as classical, Cajun, computer-generated, flamenco, jazz, polka, progressive, reggae and many more. This is your link to other sites on the Web. (If you had clicked on the "artists" category instead, you would get a screen with the letters of the alphabet. With more than 4,000 listings, you have to click on a specific letter to find artists with names starting with the letter 'K,' for instance.)Congratulations! You have now entered the electronic world of music information. From this point, you can research musical topics, exchange ideas, download sound samples or just waste time. The biggest caveat? You're most likely being charged by the hour for this privilege.SIDEBAR: A brief list of World Wide Web music sites* Addicted To Noise: http://www.addict.com/ATN/* Ambient, Rave, Techno music: http://hyperreal.com/* "Blues Link" links to blues sources: http://transport.com/~firm/bluzlink.html* Classical performer info: http://www.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Genres/Classical/Artists/* "Country Connection" archive: http://digiserve.com/country/* Disco links: http://www.msci.memphis.edu/~ryburnp/discoweb.html* Electronic music: http://lecaine.music.mcgill.ca/~berger/cec_home.html* Industrial Music: http://www.industrial.com/~silence/industrial.html* Internet Underground Music Archives: http://www.iuma.com/* Music Research sites: http://www.music.fsu.edu/research.html* New Albion contemporary classical music: http://newalbion.com:70/* Rap & Hip-Hop: http://ubmail.ubalt.edu/~rmills/hiphop.html* Reggae: http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/jammin/* WNUR Jazz Archive: http://www.nwu.edu/jazz/* World Music: http://www.unik.no/~robert/mizik/mizik.html* Yahoo (search starting point): http://www.yahoo.com/

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