Strand of Oaks featured on eMusic & Pitchfork (video)

If you read 17 dots, the eMusic blog, with any degree of frequency, chances are you’ve heard of Strand of Oaks (Tim Showalter). His second album was an eMusic selects title.

Strand of Oaks clearly has other friends in the music blogosphere. His latest video is featured this week on Pitchforktv. Check out an embed below.

Sure, 17 dots’ posts can sometimes feel like long form commercials for its parent site. But that’s nothing new, and nothing to get too disturbed about. During the heyday of brick and mortar record stores, Tower Records’ Pulse filled this role; but it also was often a good read.

Just making this comparison reminds me of what we’ve lost with the folding of a number of record sellers. While I greatly appreciate the convenience of online vendors, they haven’t replaced the experience of browsing – of digging through the bins and finding something unexpected. I’m grateful that several indie record sellers – Princeton Record Exchange, Vintage Vinyl, Other Music, Academy Records – have managed to weather the storm thus far.

Of the digital vendors, I’ve come closest to the interactivity of the live browsing experience with two: Insound and eMusic. eMusic isn’t a perfect model. I’m no great fan of their new pricing scheme – cash instead of credits – and wish that they’d let you rollover your cash at the end of the month instead of having to scramble to finish off your allotment.

But the site is an important foil for some of its bigger competitors. In particular, eMusic has been doing a good job highlighting artists who might not get noticed in more mainstream venues. Indeed, showing off artists like Showalter instead of bubblegum divas is one of the best reasons to favor eMusic over big box vendors. If that’s 17 dots’ role in the digital marketplace, I’m willing to abide its occasional commercial-like content.