Yesterday, 9 July 2013, was the first of the planned annual Harkive days. The project aims to gather a snapshot of how people are listening to music by asking them to share their day via blogging or social media.

It’s an interesting proposition – capturing changing trends over time not only on how we listen, but when we listen.

There were plenty of high profile music journalists and broadcasters sharing their examples and the hashtag on Twitter was a really interesting read. It sounds as if it’s gone well – more than 1000 contributions on the day and more coming in, this being just one of them.

So the world was listening, but what did I hear?

I suspect my own listening habit is slightly out of kilter with the norm – partly because I listen to such high volumes of music for my work with Louder Than War but because I also actively seek out formats that are less popular such as cassettes and vinyl (although both have made a slight resurgence).

Keeping the diary – some of which I tweeted but is here in full – made me more aware of what I was doing and the formats I was listening on. And it made me think about a post by Phil Rumens called Ding Dong and the Digital Divide on how digital exclusion starts to be cultural exclusion.

I’d strongly recommend his post here but in short he surmises that if you don’t / can’t / won’t listen to music digitally you’re in danger of being cut off or limited in choice due to the demise of the local record store. This is probably extra true of rural areas.

It also made me think of an equally recommended post by Andrew Dubber called Deleting Music revisited about how much music is being lost. He proposes a project to digitise music – not just popular, big selling stuff – but the stuff around the edges, the master tapes sitting in vaults that no-one has access to. It’s a project to catalogue and keep the musical ephemera, as much a part of culture and society as anything else, before it decays to dust without being heard.

Listening diary

So two posts of digital music stuff there for you but here’s my┬ácontribution to the first Harkive here’s my listening diary for 9 July 2013:

07:00 – 08:00 The radio is on in the kitchen while the kids have breakfast. I’m not really listening to be honest, it’s background noise, not because I’m uninterested but because I’m getting sorted for the day. It’s tuned to 6Music.

08:00 – 09:00 The commuting hour. I drive to work and on a Tuesday my toddler is also in the car. This morning we listened to a five track Beat Mark sampler on cassette (yes, my car still has a radio cassette player) that the band gave me after a gig on Sunday night. We also listen to a bit of Tim Burgess’s Oh No I Love You More on my iPhone via the car stereo and together we sing a couple of nursery rhymes. I imagine I’m pretty niche in listening to tapes in the car these days.

12:30 Lunchtime at the day job (no music played in the office) and I listen to a track by a band I’m writing about. It’s on Soundcloud and I listen via headphones from my iPhone. The band is Prizefighter, the track Museum Island, the article about them here.

13:00 Don’t know where it’s come from but Blame it on the Boogie is persistently going round and round my head.

16:00 (ish) Office windows are open and a car stopped outside blares out some unidentified beats.

17:30 – 18:15 The backwards commute. Toddler back in the car we listen to the first tape I reach when I delve into the glove box – appears to be a home made compilation from around 2002. Windows down in the sunshine we hear some britpop classics – Oasis Live Forever, Longpigs On and On and Gomez Tijuana Lady. We also hear Portishead, Cornershop and Sneaker Pimps? It’s a bit random to be honest.

20:45 – 23:00 Most of my listening for pleasure or Louder Than War (the two aren’t mutually exclusive by the way) is done between 20.30 and midnight on week nights. It’s after the kids have gone to bed and my other half has gone to work (usually, not always) so it’s time I can just listen to whatever I like or whatever I need to.

Tonight I listen to the A side of Beat Mark’s LP Howls of Joy which I bought at their gig earlier in the week. I also listen to the new Scott and Charlene’s Wedding / Fawn Spots split single on CD and an album by Whitemoor on CD. I’m writing the review of the Whitemoor album so it involves a bit of skipping back and forth to go over things in my own mind. I then stream a load of stuff that’s appeared in my inbox, tonight that’s on my phone but I’m pretty changeable about using that, a netbook (yeah, I know, tablets are the new thing) or the Mac.

I watch videos by Secret Colours and Max Raptor as well as tracks by Altered Hours (who I’m working on an article about) and Bentcousin – I stream one on Bandcamp and one on Soundcloud.

It’s probably a pretty average listening day for me to be honest. Some evenings it’s loads more individual tracks and downloads, some nights it’s just albums but it’s always a mix of formats. I’ll be interested to hear what the wider Harkive picture shows and see how this changes in the coming years.

You can visit the Harkive website for more info.