After receiving the MMD for October 29, 2009, containing twenty-three
submissions, Craig Smith sent me a note suggesting that that digest was
a record in size. Its size was especially noticeable since it was
preceded by a digest with zero contributions. That digest for the 29th
took almost six hours to edit!
Craig's suggestion led me to look through the online MMD archives for
digest sizes, and that led to some musing over MMD history, which I
will share with you here.
The October 29 digest, while it was big, is not the record holder.
There was a twenty-three article digest was back on July 2, 2004. But
the October 5, 1996, digest was the largest ever, contained thirty-
eight articles. There were also a handful of big digests in 1997,
(which seemed to be a good year), ranging from twenty-four to thirty
articles. Most digests though seem to average around a dozen articles.
Except for the startup year, 1995, very few days have passed with zero
Mr. Jody Kravitz -- I addressed my first note to him as "Ms. Kravitz" --
began the then-named Automatic Music Mailing List in 1995 as a one-man
operation, with the first digest appearing April 17, 1995, with articles
by himself and six others. In the MMD's early days new contributors
used to write introductions explaining their background and interests.
Robbie Rhodes' first contribution came in on June 17, 1995, by
telephone, and he indicated his intention to soon get a phone modem to
bring his computer online. In 1996 there was a suggestion that the
list become a Usenet group; but Jody declined, preferring the moderated
format he had developed. There was later some discussion about a
better name for the Automatic Music Digest. Robbie Rhodes appears to
be the person who suggested the name we now have, in September 10,
1996, partly arguing that the acronym MMD did not have the number of
Internet conflicts that the acronym AMD did.
Late 1996 and early 1997 saw Jody's workload increase and the online
presence of the MMD grow to the point where in the December 9, 1996,
digest Robbie appears as Relief Editor. In January 1997 the MMD began
being archived on the Internet. Today the MMD is basically a two-man
operation, Robbie handling the editing (with me to fill in when he is
away for significant periods) and Jody to perform hardware and software
management, website and archive maintenance, and subscriber list
The 21st century has seen a slight leveling out of the number of daily
contributions, but Robbie Rhodes remains tied on a daily basis to his
computer in order to get out a well-edited digest every day of every
month. Compare the sleek format of the MMD with the hodge-podge of
Yahoo newsgroups, especially the unedited ones filled with spam.
The MMD is a forum and a service that I wouldn't want to be without.