The third edition of COMMON is now live!
As the dust settles on show cancellations around the world, the music community is looking for deeper ways to connect. With borders shut for the foreseeable future, we can expect an exciting pivot towards local artists and grassroots projects to strengthen local scenes when – and how – shows resume. Grassroots is also shaping up in the virtual world. Among the various initiatives geared towards creating more sustainable revenue structures in the digital realm, currents.fm stands out as a vibrant project and music-discovery tool.
What is currents ?
Currents is a fresh and fluid artist-friendly alternative to playlisting and consuming music. The community-driven platform welcomes artists, labels and independent curators who collect sounds on their own channels. Music is directly embedded from main streaming platforms like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Apple Music and Spotify, providing a broad selection catalogue. Followers may choose to support a channel or artist by subscribing for free or for a discrete monthly fee. Artists featured on playlists therefore receive their standard streaming payout, as well as any additional income from Currents subscriptions.
“Currents celebrates the context around music and embraces the playlist as a collaborative, expressive and ultimately human medium”.
What’s different here?
A community-based website mirroring the complexity of listening experiences through a growing array of tools and functionalities. These reflect the many ways in which social and cultural fabric around listening is built. Sophisticated classifying mechanisms for playlists into folders. A more human-centred curating experience. More direct access to tastemakers, and the selections made by artists. Playlists can include notes, interludes and commentaries from curators, allowing a form of storytelling that algorithms cannot generate. A more circular social and economic flow through the website, where anyone can contribute and virtual event call-outs are open.
What is COMMON?
One of the currents.fm initiatives includes COMMON – an inclusive online gathering place for performers and music lovers.
Common was designed as a modulable online space to diffuse and connect over music in various ways, as a “digital public square” aiming to generate more sustainable revenu for artists, collectives and grassroots music communities. Its architects include clubbers, coders, filmmakers, producers, DJs and creatives. Launched over a month ago, this Halloween marks COMMON’S third virtual event.
The platform is free, but users can contribute by subscribing to Currents channels or donating through tipchains, a payment that is then re-distributed among artists. Users can bounce between rooms and engage with artists and audiences in chatrooms.
This edition’s lineup features an eclectic mix of selectors. COMMON’s programming gives room to different collectives and organisations, who host their own space as they wish. The result, musically, is non-prescriptive, surprising and full of propositions, from house to grime to leftfield, reaching across different intersections of genres with passion.
On the line-up
The Por Detroit collective, a Mexico-City-based roving party “inspired by the underground gay dance clubs of early 90’s Detroit.” Their mix selections, flaunting mellow to high-energy groovers, resolutely call for movement.
BoDiEs, an events and media fundraising platform, will curate a room with heated contributions from djhotwaterbottle, Syn, Roo Honeychild, DJ Egg, Haus of Sídhe, Fast Muzik and Hardcore Queer Action. The BoDiEs performers and cultivators hail from Ireland, a chance to peek into a subsection of the country’s queer talent.
The “Experts in weird shit” over at Surefire Agency will house a room of their talents while VR Party mavens at Escape 01010101 will present Red Planet, a VR party and visual exposition curated by Peruvian Artist and DJ N3t4, featuring a selection of video art from creators around the world, from China to Ecuador.
Very active on the currents platform, the female:pressure crew will play around their extensive catalogue of recent releases from their community members. The collective and information hub is built by an international network of womxn, trans, and non-binary artists working in electronic music and digital art. Volunteer contributors publish annual reports on gender proportions in the music industry – you can check out the 2020 FACTS survey results here. The Radical Sounds Latin America Festival, below, is one of their featured performers.
Lastly, the COMMON and commmmmmon rooms are the platform’s own curated space, seeing a playful rotation of artists across the electronic spectrum, including Eric Cloutier, Miguelitooo + Thor’s Meat, An Eldritch Abomination, Chamberlain Zhan, Florence To, K_DALLA_, Chelidon Frame, DJ Shannon, Diamondstein, Kudeki, Blazers Over Turtlenecks, [MONRHEA], Bottlesmoker, Data Recovery. Lots of new names to roam.
By developing programming through co-curation, structured around meaningful exchange, Common proposes an event model that espouses the cards we’ve been dealt with. It doesn’t replicate the linearity of virtual festival streams, but puts its resources back towards community members who can access, curate, comment and engage more directly. It gives different grassroots communities, labels and collectives a virtual platform for them to exhibit as they see fit, without over-structuring their creative output. It gives the listener agency to support artists and organize their music in a way where others may benefit from the selections too, feeding back into the budding circular economic model of the website.
Griessmuehle Berlin’s first international resident DJ Xiorro, performing the Surefire Room
Supporting emerging talent is at the root of the site’s values, and it’s a stellar way to spend a confined, full-moon Halloween.