By Rushabh Haria
Thisismyjam, an internet radio community created, according to its founders, “for a web that no longer exists”, has died at the age of 4. Its passing follows the sudden demise of internet streaming site Grooveshark in May of this year. Thisismyjam was in itself a record amongst startups; its loss at the hands of Warner, Sony and Universal can only be described as a defeat on the most level of playing fields.
In an age where Spotify, Soundcloud and Deezer were in their prime, Thisismyjam maintained a niche community of music nerds who, unfulfilled by the likes of Indieshuffle and HypeMachine, fed off a collective sense of nostalgia and the illusion of self-discovery. What Tumblr was to scores of insecure late-nineties-born teenagers, Thisismyjam was to twenty-somethings eager to seek respite from the cosseted mediocrity of the charts. I first stumbled across it in 2012 whilst coming to terms with my sudden interest in Elton John’s ‘Are You Ready For Love’. It would be the song that I could fall back on time and time again without embarrassment, all thanks to this site.
Thisismyjam was founded in 2011, originating from within the general vicinity of Hackney’s Broadway Market. Its creators wanted to recapture the joys of ” vinyl parties” , where one record would be played at a time and there wasn’t an iPod in sight. The lifespan of the song provided opportunities to consider how deeply you connected with it, together with the stigma of how much you would regret posting it if it was poorly received. And just in case that happened (as it often did after posting a Phil Collins track), the joy of listening to other people’s special songs together with funny, heart-warming and occasionally disturbing justifications, would prove to be an instant antidote.
More than just a narcissistic way of spamming Facebook timelines and Twitter, every “like” and “comment” on an individual track reinforced camaraderie between complete strangers. Occasionally, this transpired in the real world, and Facebook friends long forgotten would comment favourably, enabling a precious moment of reconnection. But tragedy struck in September 2015, when the site’s founders were unable to keep dodging copyright lawsuits. They announced that the site would become read-only on the 21st of September, resulting in a rush of heartfelt goodbyes, and soul searching over what would become that final eternal song. For me, this was the hardest part. Thisismyjam had genuinely changed my life, al lowing me to define myself, and sail through the shark-infested waters of my later teenage years. After much musing, I settled for Beirut’s ‘No No No’.
Thisismyjam leaves behind a dormant community of 200,000, each and every one of whom curated, nurtured, and procrastinated over the selection of their jams like their own children, and who will remain loyal to its community for life. Or, at least, until the next best thing comes around.