Stillepost Lost

The loss of Stillepost disconnects Toronto's music scene

Back in early November when it was announced that Stillepost, the Canada-wide music-community message board, would close its virtual doors via a locked thread in the "General" category of their forums, it came as quite the surprise to its 11,784 registered users, including myself. True to its word, the site officially shut down on December 31, 2010.

Stillepost was a meeting ground for people to discuss upcoming events and all things music. It played a pivotal role in connecting musicians and, some would argue, helped launch several careers, as well as connecting all its users in a bizarre online world that helped develop many real life friendships and even a few marriages. It truly was a place for people in their respective music scenes, mainly Toronto and Montreal, to meet, debate, and share - the epitome of an online community. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it's role in the Toronto indie scene is rivaled only by Wavelength, the long-running concert series.

Mind you, that community was far from perfect and there are many reasons why it met its demise, the most obvious being financial support, as Stillepost was run by volunteers and relied strictly on user donations to cover web-hosting fees. A decline in usage no doubt played in to that with October 2010, the month leading into the announcement of the board's closure, witnessing the least activity in the forums existence.

One must wonder how much social media took away from the site's hits, with more and more promoters and bands relying on Facebook to promote their events, as well as every day users spending time on the one-stop friend hub, deflating people's interest in exploration and real life connectivity with their music scene. In a recent interview with EYE WEEKLY, Owen Pallett, a Stilleposter himself, said, "Facebook doesn't allow for any kind of expansionism, it's almost as if you're closing yourself off to the world, in terms of what gigs you're going to be [planning and attending]. That was what was so valuable about Stillepost in its heyday; it was not about reading hilarious Matt Collins posts, rather, it was about going on and checking the show listings and seeing what's going on tonight."

I couldn't agree more.

A few replacements have risen from the ashes: Culture Coma, for starters, is where the address now forwards you to and was started by two former members from Montreal, "Mr. Bishop" and "Harmoun," who are looking to build a similar community based around artists and show listings. Toronto users might look towards n3rdal3rt, which was started by former members based in the city. There's also the exclusive, invite only, as well as The Tickle Closet, a straight-forward design based on the original boards layout. So, there are options. Will any of them succeed? Time will tell.

You see, Stillepost represented an interesting shift, a middle ground for music fans that wanted to enhance their scene by interacting on a day-to-day basis, and for Toronto, that meant finding out about new bands, the hottest gigs, and the best venues; real life destinations that supported our city and the creative people within it. Stillepost utilized the internet and helped bring people together in real life, promoting artistic credibility with indie morals, allowing people to really feel apart of something special. It was a place for information, conversation, inside jokes and connectivity, which is something that, sadly, Toronto's music scene seems to be pushing further and further away from.

Toronto continues to produce top-tier talent, something we, as music fans, should embrace with open arms and be excited to discuss and share. And Stillepost's closing won't change much about the music itself in Toronto, but there is certainly a void left regarding how fans interact with one another and finding that commonality that makes the appreciation of music so rewarding. That shouldn't be taken lightly; it's the very foundation upon which a thriving music scene is built.

Photo by --brian cameron-- in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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