Everything I Love on The Internet Dies!

03/03/2022

I'm currently writing this as I'm downloading all of my music from Bandcamp in FLAC format after seeing their recent acquisition by Epic Games, of all things. I loved Bandcamp as an independent provider of DRM-free music. I also would have never thought they would sell-out to a tech behemoth because of their identity as a safe service for musicians to share and sell their work. In their acquisition letter, Ethan Diamond calls Epic Games "champions for a fair and open Internet," and this is all I need to see to know this is another humdrum case of an independent project throwing themselves at gobs of cash for maximum upward velocity. Maybe they wanted to bail for a handsome payout? I will never know, but Bandcamp has died. It isn't palpable to anyone who just goes to the front page without reading the news, but that's exactly the strategy. Bandcamp will be a corpse that imitates its old self for branding while it distorts into something inconsolably separate from its identity. Expect Bandcamp to not prioritize freedom anymore, and to see features incrementally being revoked to make it more profitable in 'The New Web.'

But, everything I love on the internet dies, and I think it's safe to operate under the pretense that everything you love that exists on the internet will die. Internet users take the services handed to them supposedly for 'free' and treat them like they're features of the internet. The truth is that the thing you load up tomorrow could be totally different from what you saw today, and there is nothing you can do about it. That seems like a tautology, since you don't own Bandcamp or Youtube or Reddit or whatever, but it's easy to fall into a sense of security with things that appear to have consistency. So, see this as a reminder. No matter how much you 'trust' an entity, and no matter how big it is, and no matter how consistent it may seem, if you don't own it, it will die. Death isn't just the thing going offline. The service doesn't have your interests in mind, and it won't hesitate to mutate itself beyond recognition when money or VC interests are in the question. Everything you call a 'platform' or 'service' will functionally not exist in a decade.

The internet was about a bunch of entities coming together to share. Instead, it's turned into a bunch of entities tuning in to the same channel, under the impression that the hand that feeds them will come back. Combat this culture by making your own website, and hosting your own things for your friends and community. You are still free to reap the benefits of the internet yourself, and have security in the things you actually own.


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