Hello all! Just a heads-up to let you know I'll be back to blogging again very soon, so get ready for some jumbo sweet treats for you to sink your teeth into.

While you're waiting...

... I'd recommend checking out these blogs:

  • Babette's Feast - Blog by Zoi Zoi DJ extraordinaire, Mimi La Twisteuse. It hasn't been updated in a while but scan back through the posts for rare French freakbeat, 60s garage girls and boys, and other assorted treasures and curios. All presented with flair, style and wit, as you'd expect!

  • The Go-Go Club Social! - The name says it all! 60s party tunes from around the world, some yé-yé girls and various other fun odds and ends. This is such a welcome addition to the music blogging community. It's EXACTLY the type of new blog I like to see spring up. Original commentary, courteous crediting of the comps that initially brought us some of these rare songs, loving highlighting of just one song at a time - in other words, all the right moves for an ethical blog that's a pleasure to peruse. And let's not forget, fabulous taste in music and pictures, too! Take note, anyone thinking of starting a blog.

  • Verlorene Mädchen - German for 'Lost Girls', this is Jens' brilliant blog on exactly that - shamefully forgotten girls of the German 60s pop scene. Anyone who's ever braved the masses of awful schlager you have to wade through to find that rare 60s German girl pop gem will appreciate this blog immensely. This is the best 60s German stuff I've heard - not a dud among the offerings here! (Update: Jens now runs Beat Fräuleins).

... And these sites:

  • Ready Steady Girls! - A labour of love by Graham Welch, whose superb article 'Dolls In Deutschland' you may have read on Cha Cha Charming. The article is another must for those wanting to find quality German girl pop. Even better, Graham's expertise and devotion extends to girl pop from all of Europe. Ready Steady Girls! spoils us with bios, lovely pics and rare audio clips from obscure and better-known female singers from Germany, France, Italy and England. A wonderfully thorough resource for retro girl pop lovers, there's plenty there to keep you busy for hours!

  • YéYé Land - Mentioned a couple of times before at Spiked Candy, it's had some exciting updates lately. There are some well-written reviews that give you a really accurate idea of how yé-yé songs you might wish to explore sound. Best of all, you'll find lots of scans of original articles on Yé-Yé artists - including a Chantal Goya article contributed by yours truly! Many of the articles have been translated into English, which is great news for non-French speakers wanting to find out more about their favourite yéyé singers.

... And some of my other spaces on the web:

The video above features early French rock'n'rolleuse Nicole Paquin.

I want to talk about a couple of changes around here. Spiked Candy will probably continue more like it has been the last few posts, less frequent but much bulkier in content. There are a few reasons for this. For one, I just wanted to keep improving this blog and make the content something I'm proud of. I've always tried to make this blog about encouraging collecting and directing readers to sources to find out more about artists, but I didn't write much early on. I wanted to but it was a challenge because of my illness. It's been a big deal that I've been able to articulate myself better in recent months and write the type of entries I've wanted to. My health has not improved as such; it's more like a skill I've slowly learned back and that I can use as long I'm managing my condition. It's not always easy and certainly not something I can do every day or even every month. But regardless of how infrequently I may post, I'd rather continue to do quality over quantity.

Secondly, there is the issue of fair use of intellectual property on music blogs. I don't know how long music blogs can continue being relatively unhassled about copyright issues, and it does worry me. I'd like to be able to argue fair use if I were challenged, and as far as I understand, this could definitely be argued more easily if the focus is on written commentary. I know many people don't have an ethical issue with sharing music through blogs - and neither do I, if the blog is responsible and respectful toward the artists - but good intentions would not be enough should the shit hit the fan. I don't consider my earlier, less content-heavy posts unethical because I was encouraging buying the material (or offering out-of-print items) and still included some commentary, but I think to be in the clear legally, I'd have to get away from any tone that suggests the primary intention of this blog is to give away music.

Third, I personally want to feel I can justify my place in the music blogosphere by feeling I have something really worthwhile to offer. Gazillions of new MP3 blogs are popping up all the time. Anyone can set up a blog and hyperlink to a music file. The increasing proliferation of audio blogs makes them a changed entity as a whole. I don't consider my blog an island, but rather part of a community of music blogs and I feel a responsibility as such. Earlier, when there were only a tiny handful of blogs you could find similar music on, I think it was enough to be putting rare or little-known music out there. Now I think the bar has to be raised. Especially since many of the newer blogs are unaware of - or unwilling to comply with - the understood code of ethics in audio blogging. See this archived article for an excellent outline of these ethics.

Learning & listening: more fun than just listening!

Speaking of this, there's another change on Spiked Candy. I'll no longer link to any blogs that either plagiarise content or post entire albums (or way too many songs from them) that are still in print. (Email me if you find I've missed any such practices in any sites in my links). I would hope my readers would care about the issue of plagiarism and know the difference between a blog that involves hard work in researching, writing and making sure credit is clearly given where it's due and those that pass off others' hard work as their own. If you like the music I post, then surely you have an appreciation for originality. And I'm certain my readers would be too sophisticated to echo comments I've read on this issue around the web that blatantly say "no one goes to an Mp3 blog to read, you go there to download stuff". Anyone reading this who is thinking that - here's a tip: Soulseek. You'll find everything you find on blogs there, and you won't have to worry about our pesky thoughts. Although, of course, you won't even be reading these words!

Apart from the more obvious unethical practices, I often also see lesser offences that irk me because they don't seem in keeping with a respectful way of blogging. These include posting songs (still in print, and often on indie labels) the blogger dislikes (and ridicules in the post) just to complete a themed set of songs, not mentioning something was found via another site, allowing the impression a song is a rare vinyl rip the blogger's gone to an effort to share, when in reality it's from a compilation, and any display of an attitude of trying to outdo other bloggers, seemingly motivated by attaining popularity. I wouldn't necessarily remove a blog link for these things, but I'd like bloggers to think about these issues. We need to blog with respect for the artists and labels whose music we post, and with respect for other music bloggers.

Responsible blogging should be done simply because it's the right thing to do, but it should also be considered that showing a disregard for others' intellectual property may threaten the sustainability of music blogging. It wouldn't be fair if the ethical blogs were impacted negatively by the non-ethical ones.

Links: The Torture Garden's thoughts on the changing Audio Blogosphere; 'Listen. And Learn' - Boston Globe article on mp3 blogging; MP3 Blogs and Fair Use.

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