Thumbnail image for fugazi22.jpg
Michael Ackerman
Fugazi are giving away recordings in a similar project, the Fugazi Live Series.
Researching the material for this list , I stumbled across

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Today Reverb Recommends Checking Out TheBandBrokeUp.com (And Sponsoring a Seattle Branch of the Site)

Thumbnail image for fugazi22.jpg
Michael Ackerman
Fugazi are giving away recordings in a similar project, the Fugazi Live Series.
Researching the material for this list, I stumbled across a site that sparked my interest in a major way. It's called TheBandBrokeUp, and is a resource for defunct bands who want to share their recordings with their fans and anyone else who wants to listen. It had a nifty interface, a disarmingly funny about page and... oh, I'll just let them speak for themselves.Take it away, guys:
So... the band broke up. Maybe you put out an album or two, and you think they're really great. But that was 12 years ago, man. Maybe you have 478 copies of the CD you released last year, before your keyboard player went to grad school in Kentucky. I suppose you might be able to sell them. Right?

Did you make the mistake of actually putting out... (gulp)... a cassette? For shame! Face it, unless you've transferred it to mp3, no one is never ever never going to listen to your album again. [...]

Let us help you. What if you just gave your songs away to people who otherwise would probably never hear them? What if they were to fall in love with them?!

Like we said, let us help you. Send us your music and we'll put it up for people to who want to hear it.

Initially I thought anyone with a past discography could upload their recordings to the site. But then I noticed the word "Nebraska" under the title. Yup, TheBandBrokeUp is currently only hosting albums of bands from Lincoln and Omaha, chronicling the scene from 1981 to the present. I was initially disappointed, but then I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have a satellite site for the Northwest music scene?

I spoke with founder Dan Jenkins, whose band Ideal Cleaners fortunately doesn't qualify for inclusion on the site, via email. He said he and co-founder Randy Duerr came up with the idea over beers one night, and always considered the possibility of expanding it to other states. "I'd love to have one master TheBandBrokeUp page and a list of cities, each having their own sub-site," he says. "Of course, that would take some time to set up and time to run/manage, which would be hard for us to do."

"This was mainly a way for me to share the wonderful music of the scenes I've been participating in and loving for about 20 years," he says. "It almost seems to me that in order for this to grow in an honest way, someone in each city would need to run their own portion of the site. Someone with an intimate knowledge of at least part of the scene(s) and a real fondness for the music of their city," he says, noting that it would probably not be hard to find someone who fits the bill.

Funding such an expansion might be a challenge, he admits, concluding, "Doesn't Bill Gates live in your neck of the woods?"

There's at least one Nebraska ex-pat who would like to see the site expand to Seattle: Michael Jaworski, talent buyer at The Sunset and a member of The Cops and Virgin Islands. He has a lot of respect for Jenkins' dedication to documenting the Lincoln and Omaha scenes, he told me via email. "I've spent some time on the site and have downloaded music from bands I grew up seeing and it's been a pleasure to track down digital copies of some records I only own on vinyl or cassette," he says.

"I think the idea of expanding it to other cities like Seattle, and beyond, is a really cool idea," he says, noting that the site's format gives music fans and historians a well-organized format to track down records from a particular scene. But there are some potential roadblocks, he points out.

As a former participant in the Omaha music scene, "I would potentially consider putting up records that I was personally involved with, but there are some potential logistical challenges," he says. "For instance, if the the record I released is still being distributed by a record label, the chances are I could not legally give away music without the consent of the label and that distributor. I would imagine that would not be possible, as labels and distributors are slogging it out to get by these days... With that said, if you were in a band and don't care about making money and don't have any potential legal tie ups, and all of your other former bandmates agree, I would say go for it!"

Jaworksi submits that while Fugazi are undertaking a somewhat similar project to archive all their past live shows and make them available to fans for a small donation, they're not giving away their actual releases. He also mentioned that it might be interesting to somehow tie together Rachel Ratner and Keith Whiteman's Seattle Band Map project and TheBandBrokeUp, which I think is a really cool idea.

In conclusion, whether you're a former Nebraskan, member of a defunct Seattle band, or just a fan of music history projects, TheBandBrokeUp is sure to be of interest. When last I heard from Jenkins, he said he and his co-founder were seriously discussing expanding the site to other cities, but were once again running into the problem of funding. Got a pile of money you'd like to pitch in? Know of a better way? Email them.

 
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