Welcome back to The Midnight Cafe. As you can see there have been a few changes made, but mostly it is the same old place where you can find lots of great music. I did want to highlight what is different and explain the changes made. So here we go.
Bye, Bye MP3: This is probably the biggest and most dramatic change on the site. I will no longer be posting MP3s except when there is no lossless file to be found. I know this is problematic for some. It is something I had been wanting to do for a long time but kept putting off so as to not cause problems. But after putting my blog down I decided that when I came back I would make this change. There are many reasons I am no longer sharing lossy files but it mainly comes down to two things: time and space. It takes quite a bit of time to convert lossless files to MP3s and to add information to them like Artist Name, Song Title, etc. Not having to take that time means I can spend more time sharing more music. While MP3s are significantly smaller than FLAC files they still take up space, and when you are storing thousands of shows like I do those smaller MP3 files add up to quite a bit of space.
I am truly sorry for anyone this inconveniences. I know some of you don’t have the bandwidth or the Internet speed to download lossless files easily. I know some of you don’t really understand how FLAC works and just want to have an MP3 you can put on your device and play. Please do feel free to add comments asking for others to upload MP3 versions of any shows or for advice on how to convert the lossless files to MP3.
Images: For those of you who don’t know the reason I took The Midnight Cafe down was due to me getting some nasty e-mails from a shady sounding law firm over what they said were copyrighted images shared on my blog. Ultimately I ignored them and they went away but it scared me enough to make this site private. Even so I’m going to be more careful about the images I post. Going forward I will only post images that I think should be safe. This includes cover art that comes with the concerts, or are easily found online. Also posters or tickets from the shows themselves. I will not be posting photos taken from the shows unless the photographer has given me permission.
That being said I absolutely submit my formal request for any and all art you all want to make. If you make your own cover art for these shows and want to share please send them to me. I love including images in my posts and I’m sure others would enjoy your art. I would also love to get some handcrafted images for my artist pages and other posts.
Artists Pages: I generally like the blog format but it does have its drawbacks, the biggest of which is its poor organization ability. Blogs by design show you the newest posts first and push older posts to the bottom of the page and then to other pages and into obscurity. Eventually, posts become so old and are so far back into the page list that they are virtually impossible to find. Categories and tags help but even then they appear in order of more recently posted. So if you click on the Bob Dylan tag you will still have to scroll through multiple pages to find a show I posted months ago. The search engine works, but then you have to know exactly what you are searching for.
To help with this I have created artists pages. Each artist will have their own page where I will list out all the shows I have posted from them in chronological order. A few of my favorite artists have their pages broken down into separate years. This way if you are trying to collect the Grateful Dead’s spring tour from 1981 you can easily see all the shows I have posted from that tour. I think this will be very helpful.
You can find the master list of artist pages by clicking the tab towards the top of the page.
Sharing: Because this blog is now private you will not be able to share my blog links publicly. I would also request that you do not share my Amazon links in public spaces either. Feel free to share them with friends via e-mail or any other private means but I would like to keep them off public blogs, social media sites and forums. If you want to download my shows and upload them to the hosting site of your choice and share that publicly that is perfectly fine. I just don’t want my Amazon, etc. links to be publicly viewable.
Bye, Bye Reposts: Before I started using Amazon to host my shows I used free accounts with just about every file hosting site out there. Often these sites would delete my shows without warning. This left loads of old posts with bad links. I periodically tried to go back and fix those bad links by uploading the shows to different hosting sites. When I would do this I did a new post entitled Reupload Bonanza. I did this in order to allow everyone to know that I had reuploaded the links. Sometimes the new links would go bad causing me to do yet another repost. There are some shows with at least six different reposts!
I have decided to delete all the reposts. I will be copying any comments made on a repost and pasting them into the original post. I think this will make things easier to manage. Having only one post per show simplifies things a great deal. This will also keep the conversations about a show on one page versus multiple pages where it becomes difficult to keep up with the conversation.
From Private to Public:. As you have all seen when you make a WordPress private anyone who has not been given access receives a generic message when they come to the site. As far as I can tell, you cannot edit or modify that generic message. When I first decided to take the site down I didn’t want everyone to see that generic message. I wanted to let everyone know what was happening. To do this I had to make every individual post on the blog private and then write a new public one letting everyone know the deal.
I decided that this was a good time to do some light editing to the posts. As mentioned I have deleted reposts. I’m also removing all of the “bootleg bonanza” silliness from the titles, cleaning up the image links, etc. As I have thousands of posts this all takes quite a bit of time. I’ve been working diligently on this project these last many weeks but there are many shows to go. I will continue to add in new posts while at the same time trying to edit old posts and make them public again. So, if you are the sort of person who likes to scroll through the pages of my blog you will continue to see old posts reappear.
As I am adding in these old posts I will be adding in new Artist Pages. As you can see this makes the blog look a little goofy right now. Scrolling through the first few pages you will find many an Artist Page and not so many new posts. Eventually I’ll get through all those old posts, but for now you’ll just have to deal with it. On the bright side, you might just find shows you didn’t know I had posted.
Shows of History: Those old posts are daunting. There are so many of them. At first I was randomly choosing old posts to clean up and make public again. Then I decided it would be fun to search for all the shows that I have posted from a given date. On December 3, I would search for all the shows that took place on December 3 and edit them for public consumption. In doing that it seemed fun to collect those shows in one post as a way to highlight them.
One of the good things about reposts was that it gave me a chance to highlight old shows for people who missed them the first time. The new Shows in History posts should do the same thing.
File Factory/Mediafire: I love Amazon Drive. It has worked really well for me and I’ve received very few complaints. The only drawback is that it is a little expensive. You all have kindly given me some money in order to offset that cost, but I hate asking for it. A few weeks ago I realized that I had a pro account with File Factory. They periodically put on a sale and you can get a pro account quite cheaply. I bought one so that I could download shows uploaded by folks over at Guitars101 or other music blogs. With a pro account downloads are super fast. That alone made it well worth the money. A pro account also gives you unlimited storage space. As a test run, I’ve decided to use them for certain shows.
I will continue to use Amazon for my major artists (The Grateful Dead & related, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, etc) and for most of the shows that have already been uploaded to Amazon. But for other artists, ones I don’t post that often I am now using File Factory to host them. It is a trial run and if I get too many complaints about it then I’ll switch back to Amazon for everything. Please do leave me comments about this.
In that same vein, I recently discovered that I still have many active links via Mediafire. Back in the day, I set up half a dozen accounts or so with them (free accounts gave you limited storage options, so when I’d fill one up I’d create a new account). God bless ’em, but they are still chugging along even though I haven’t used Mediafire in years and years. For the time being, I’ll still let them host those shows, though eventually I’ll get around to reuploading them to Amazon/File Factory.
Alright folks, I think I have said enough. I hope you enjoy the new site.