This quick introduction will tell you what Fingertips is... and what Fingertips isn't...


WHAT FINGERTIPS IS

* An annotated, informed guide to the best free and legal downloadable music on the web.

This isn't about illegal downloading and it's also not about legal streaming. Fingertips is about free and legal music that you can download to your computer, sync to your iPod, and burn onto mix CDs. The music Fingertips points you to is free and legally available to download, typically via independent record companies and artists. There's a lot of good stuff out there that you can download with a free conscience, allowing you to support those musicians with whom you connect most especially.

* A site introducing you to music the way DJs used to on the radio. I am not a "music critic"; I write about music I value, and ignore what I simply happen not to care for. It's not for me to say someone's music is "bad."

Way too many people writing about music on web sites are way too mean-spirited for their own good, or anyone else's. Here on Fingertips the vibe is all warm and supportive, while still intelligent and discriminating. Life's too short, man.

* A music web site for music fans of all ages.

The music industry, to its ongoing detriment, may think that people in their teens and early 20s are the only living breathing music fans on the planet but the industry is, was, and always will be wrong about that (and lots of other things too). The truth is there is an inspiring amount of high quality music being produced by current bands and musicians that is fully accessible to anyone interested in intelligent pop music (not an oxymoron!). Unlike the vast majority of online music sites, Fingertips does not presume you have to be in high school or college to be interested in this stuff. I particularly encourage listeners in their 30s, 40s, and 50s to check this stuff out. You'll like it, a lot.

* An edited, personal web site that believes in the value of filtering and organization.

With all the best intentions, the typical music site overfeeds us with lists and links and tiny print, with things to download and watch and participate in. And yet when last I checked there are still only 24 hours in a day, at least some of which are valuably spent away from a screen. Someday, maybe soon, we will begin to more actively understand that there is in fact such thing as too much information, particularly when presented without any qualitative distinctions or meaningful organizational effort. (cf. T.S. Eliot: "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?")

* A site written by a professional writer.

Not sure how to put this without sounding snarky but how many important tasks in this life do we consciously hand over to someone with no relevant experience? When a pipe breaks, do you let your neighbor fix it who recently decided to take up plumbing in his spare time? I guess not enough people think of writing as that important. Which is a shame. Anyway, for what it's worth, which is maybe not that much here in the 21st century, I spent many many years writing for actual money for actual print publications.



WHAT FINGERTIPS ISN'T

* A daily blog offering more music than most people can feasibly listen to.

Fingertips features three songs a week. I consider them all top-notch and attempt, in a paragraph for each, to explain why. There are many pages to look through on the site if you would still like to find more music week to week.

* A site merely for legal streaming.

Lots of sites have sprung up in the 2007-2008 time frame that claim to offer "free and legal music" but the music in this case is not anything you can download and keep for yourself and use, personally, however you'd like (e.g. on your iPod, or on a mix CD). To be sure, some of these sites are pretty cool, but what they're basically offering is music to listen to, on demand, in a variety of customizable guises. Since 2003, when Fingertips says "free and legal" it means you can have the file, for free, and legally.

* Spiffy.

There aren't any bells and whistles here. Very little video. No latest-greatest web gimmicks, no parade of rectangular buttons to demonstrate how tapped-in and cool I am. This is a clean, fast-loading site that's here to tell you about the music, period.

* More interested in being hip than useful.

As the music blogging community has ballooned over the last three years, many bloggers, again with the best of intentions, have gotten sidetracked by the trappings of being a hip music blogger. Seeing all the frenzied activity around them has turned many a music blog into a frenzied sort of place to visit, with content focused rather too often on the rest of the blogosphere rather than on the straightforward--but perhaps more difficult--task of listening and responding to music. Most of all I consider Fingertips to be a place where anyone who likes intelligent music can with very little effort discover a lot of great songs that are free and legal to download. You don't have to be an indie-rock maven or a computer geek, although there's absolutely nothing wrong with being either of those things if you are.





For a longer, more story-like explanation of why Fingertips exists, you may still read the original introductionary essay; while not all of it is relevant anymore, it'll give you a sense of the site's origins and guiding philosophies.









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