Online Networks – 1. Shit Hot Records

Being part of a network brings lots of benefits, along with the warm fuzzy feeling of helping other people achieve their goals. The internet has made it possible for there to be networks ranging from large to small, open or private, which together cater for quite probably every taste and interest there is! In the weeks to come I aim to share with you some of the online networks that have enriched my life, starting with……

Shit Hot Records

This was the very first website I used for uploading my music to the internet. SHR was set up by my good friend Chris Johns (Johnsy) during our time studying BA(Hons) Creative Music Technology at the University of Hull’s Scarborough Campus.

The main purpose of the site was to build a community of like-minded people who all shared a love for creating and listening to music. At the time of going live in 2005, the site was sort of ahead of its time. Apart from MySpace, as far as I know there weren’t many sites which provided a platform for unsigned musicians to showcase their own songs to people across the globe. What SHR had over MySpace was the feeling of a real community: the simple navigation tools made commenting on other people’s music very easy. The front page was great as it featured new artists and users as well as the newest songs and videos, giving them great exposure so people could easily check them out. Constantly updating charts listing the most popular tracks on a particular day and week, and overall ensured that all SHR artists had some time in the spotlight. There was also a forum space for users to contribute all sorts of posts relating to making and listening to music, be it production techniques, reviews or advertisements for wanted band members and equipment.

As time progressed the site grew from a site where 40 or so CMT students hung out, to a truly international community of more than 500 members. Not before long exciting and diverse music events and collaborations were happening across Scarborough and further-a-field as a result of people networking on SHR.co.uk.

Thanks to SHR I was able to gain confidence in my own compositions. The feedback and encouragement I received from other members really spurred me on to keep creating. Knowing that people were actually listening and taking notice of what I was doing actually caused me to become more prolific. You could say I developed an addiction to uploading and participating on SHR. I felt compelled contribute as much as possible.

Unfortunately once everyone left uni, Johnsy and the other SHR founders moved on to new projects, and new social technologies came to the fore, the SHR community began to shrink. The site still exists today but has not been updated for a long time. It has that ‘ghost town’ feel to it, which is so sad when I think back to how vibrant it used to be. There is so much good music still on there, so it’s definitely still worth taking a look-see – www.shithotrecords.co.uk. While you’re there search “Gregory” to hear some of my early recordings!

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2 Responses to Online Networks – 1. Shit Hot Records

  1. It’s always important to have a network of like minded peeps to spur you in with constructive criticism, a pity it ghostified.

  2. Helen says:

    SHR sounds amazing – and yes, ahead of its time in many respects! I really like the way you’ve captured/expressed that sense of loss when you’re an active member of a community with then ‘dissolves’. Know exactly how you feel. It might sound strange, but I learnt so much about online communities as an active member of Flickr in the early days, lots of which has informed my research ever since. We’re still in contact (to greater or lesser degrees), but we certainly had our ‘glory years’ and I really do miss those. It was fun, subversive, and even led to crazy adventures, marriages, kids, transatlantic moves…

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