A Solution to the Reddit Problem

Do you ever wonder what happens when redditors get off reddit and finally start posting something good?

It’s hard for isolated people to share their creative sides with the world. The skill ceiling for “quality content” is high and you can never be so good that you don’t need luck.

Reddit is not a musician’s friend. Reddit conforms to an experience where you are already listening to something else. You’re not going to click music if it means you have to pause your music. You’re not going to stop scrolling so you can keep the audio player on your screen. This is fine for the instantly consumable memes, comics, and other works of visual communication, but not for musicians. You’ll be desolate if you want to share your slightly-long song with anyone, and can just kiss the piss if you aren’t “good enough” for whatever fickle audience gives you its fleeting moments.

Thus, your musical hobby is condemned to be obscure and private. This is tragic for the musician and the world who seemingly coexist with antipathy. In fact, there’s nothing cooler than making music. If you’re making excellent music, that’s a great and powerful thing — yet alas!

What bleakness, what quiet horror, what sad personal tragedies unfolding as the lonely reddit musicians fester. Janky songs ferment into jenkem but it need not be this way!

Enter IMF.

The first attempt used reddit as a platform. Lo, there was /r/indiemusicfeedback and the concept was powerful. You end the cruel indifference of silence by paying it forward. Posting your song cost points. How do you get those points? By listening to other people’s music and engaging with it constructively and humanely.

It wasn’t perfect immediately. Good moderation and bespokely coded bots help but you can’t fight reddit with reddit. It had to grow but this article isn’t covering that part — Since then, IMF has migrated to the Discord platform, and then eclipsed other social media platforms entirely. In its current form, IMF is the scene.

See it for yourself. In the metaphysical heartland of a Discord server, these randos transform into a community and these yack-heads turn into artists. Peoples’ souls are re-entering their bodies and do you know what happens next? They sing. They keep singing, and then they get better at singing.

IMF is a strange and wonderful scene where a musician can roll on up, make connections and grow. What happens when you show up to IMF as a newbie? The people there will welcome you and ask you to share one of your songs to introduce yourself. When a musician solicits feedback, other musicians help. You’re not competing with each other for scrolling clicks on a toxic platform anymore.

To truly become an IMFer, you must participate in the ritual of critique. This is the sacrament, the bread, and the butter of the scene. This is how you get the points. You listen honestly to another community member’s song and you give honest and constructive feedback. This is important because your opinion actually matters. You know how much good critique can mean to you so it’s your chance to do that. Indicate the problems with a track as specifically as you can and be sure to point out what you like as well. Secretly, you’ll apply these criticisms to your own tracks, and develop your listening skills. This is highly rewarding because not only do you get the points, or secretly sharpen your mind, you also get to see what happens when people take good-faith critique seriously. You get to see people grow into their styles.


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One Comment

  1. Great points here Aya! I’ve also noticed besides the listening skills, people get more descriptive in precise and simply different ways as individuals but also as a group, which is part of what makes this “scene” so unique and valuable!

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