I miss street musicians! I miss the surprise turning the corner of a city street to find a completely new sound. There’s something special when discovering a musician plugging away at their art, in their most raw and vulnerable moment: performing live for everyone and anyone that will listen.
But it’s my own fault I don’t see and hear street musicians that often, I don’t live in the city anymore. I’ve spent the past two decades in the ‘burbs, commuting to and from the office complexes of the tech world. Sure, that pays the bills, but the culture of life can be easily sucked out of you. Yes, I could frequent the downtown bars and nightclubs for the occasion live local bands, but that’s just not my scene.
FM radio these days blows. Morning radio is even worse. Who wants to hear two knuckleheads try to be funny on the radio while you’re stuck in traffic? I want music! My iPod is loaded with a 1000+ songs. But every time I flip through my playlist, I see nothing I want to listen to at that moment. Inevitably I flip through my Pink Floyd section and start thinking of the line, “I got 13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from …choose from …choose from.” The spontaneity of mp3 players is missing; same thing with those online music streaming websites. Satellite radio is good, all music and no talking! But I think I’ve heard every playset on Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind, The Bridge, etc. Thank goodness I love the Grateful Dead channel on Sirius!
Live music, the Dead-Head inside me thought, I need more live music. That got me thinking about the days when I lived downtown in the vibrant city of Nürnberg, Germany. The streets, subways, tram stations, any little alcove could be hiding a street musician. The music was as diverse as one can imagine: classical violin, jazz on trumpets, and my favorite horrible rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads” that every hipster German tried to sing in a thick Bavarian accent. Oh, good times.
That trip down memory lane subsided, but not without a quick googling of the web for places to find street musicians. I’m not very patient surfing the web endlessly, so the few Google responses turned me off that I would find live music online or where street musicians regularly meet. Then the entrepreneur inside me kicked in. “Shit Frank, just build a dang street musician site yourself!”
Yes, I happen to be a software engineer. I know, how convenient! A dear friend of mine once said I am creative and methodical. So I flipped on the creative and methodical switches (and the insanity switch, too) inside my crooked little brain for full speed ahead. The work began back in March 2012. I’ll skip over the details of actually building the site and starting a business. We’ll save that for another blog post.
A few months later… Street Jelly was born! Live streaming music, worldwide, 24 hours a day!