Music is an experience. It’s a vehicle to another dimension. It pokes and pulls at you right in the feelings. Why would you read about music, when you can listen to it?
In his 33⅓ book on Big Star’s Radio City, Bruce Eaton posits that the scarcity of information surrounding the band actually helped him enjoy the music more. Without being distracted by trivia about the band, their personalities, or explanations of songs, the only meaning he gleaned from a track came from the music and lyrics. Anything more than that is static interference.
This makes sense to a point, but obviously even he didn’t stick to that argument for long, having written a book on that album. Anyone who picked up a biography about a rock god, subscribed to a weekly music rag, or lost hours perusing liner notes knows exactly why reading about music can be just as valuable as listening to it. I have a feeling you might be one of us.
Because music is such a transcendent experience, you always want more. You want to know what went down in the studio that led to that genius guitar lick, what was going on in the songwriter’s life that yielded such dark lyrics, what makes our musical heroes seem so other.
Without the stories behind the music, it’s harder to understand the nuances of the music itself, the context of certain albums, ideas or themes some artists center their entire careers on. For better or worse, as a society, it’s rare that we let things speak for themselves. It’s human nature to want the gritty details.
As much as the internet has done for us (we wouldn’t both be here at this very moment without it — so thanks for that, internet!), it hasn’t done a whole lot for longform writing, deep thought, or teasing out ideas into fully developed conclusions. This type of thought and writing still seems to be reserved for print.
Music criticism can help reveal details in the music that we may have missed or put that swelling feeling you get when your favorite track comes on into words. It arms you for arguments with differing musical opinions. Or maybe it even introduces you to an album you hadn’t quite reached for yet. Magazines are able to anchor releases to a very particular time and space in music history. Genre compendiums introduce us to new worlds of music — or solidify and celebrate our love for a subculture.
This is where Bookogs comes in. Bookogs is working on cataloging as many music biographies, memoirs, lyric collections, photography books, magazines — any and all printed volumes with music at their core — as possible, then connecting them to the artists they’re associated with on Discogs. “Bibliophonic” is our week-long submission drive for all music books. It’s a call to arms for music fans and collectors. Add your music books to Bookogs!
For this submission drive, we’re aiming to get 1,000 music books added to Bookogs. Get involved and watch your name ascend the leaderboard as you get what’s on your shelves into the database, track the progress on the goal, and check out the latest music book additions. You can also keep up with us as we publish daily articles about how music books helped build the Discogs Database, what it’s like to write a biography on one of rock’s biggest bands, the changing role of music magazines in a post-Spotify world, and more.
What Does This Have To Do With Discogs?
We’re all here because we’re passionate about music and the physical experience of stuff, right? We’re also concerned with cataloging, tracing, and preserving music history, giving proper credit to the artists, collaborators, and people whose names aren’t at the top of the bill — whose names might even be buried several hundred pages in — and building on the release data warehoused in the Discogs Database.
If you’re a big music fan, your collection probably doesn’t end with records. It probably includes many music books (as well as film and posters, but that’s a story for another time). By bringing the books about your favorite bands and artists into the Discogs Database, we want to close the loop for music fanatics, add another dimension of music data, and thread it all together with narrative.
Your submissions can make the difference. Get your music books off the shelves and into the database, and help music fans like you discover more about the artists they love!