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MMD > Archives > November 2010 > 2010.11.21 > 03Prev  Next

Fragmentation of Special Interest Groups
By Matthew Caulfield

The creation of yet another discussion group for band organs this
month brings to mind the old adage "In Union There Is Strength."
However, there often seems to be a pull in the opposite direction,
but to whose best interest in the long run?

When interest in carousels was fired up by the late Fred Fried's
1964 book, "A Pictorial History Of The Carousel," it led to the
founding in 1973 of what became the National Carousel Association
(NCA).  Eventually some members broke away to form the American
Carousel Society (ACS), somewhat weakening the strength of the
original group.  The ACS in recent years merged back into the NCA,
as various founders aged and died.

In the mechanical music field there are two main -- and to a great
extent competing -- societies: the Musical Box Society International
(MBSI) and the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors Association
(AMICA).   Similarly, the Miniature Carousel Builders Association
divided into two groups, the Carousel Miniatures and Modelers
Association and the Miniature Carousel Builders, Inc.

As far as mechanical music discussion groups go, there are many
smaller ones besides the Mechanical Music Digest (MMD).  This month
someone who was dissatisfied with iMOD (Independent Mechanical Organ
Discussions) started yet a new group.  The announcement of its
formation in the COAA discussion group was followed by a barrage of
complaints that there are already far too many such groups for anyone
to effectively pursue his interest via them.

The Internet is changing special interest hobbies in many ways, some
good (like wider and faster dissemination of information), some bad
(like wider and faster dissemination of individual ignorance).  Sales
of mechanical music CDs are falling off rapidly, probably due in part
to YouTube, where you can see as well as hear all kinds of mechanical
musical instruments.  But you have to be willing to accept lower
quality sound and pictures and to tolerate people's inability to form
correct sentences.

There are a couple of youngsters who contribute heavily to YouTube band
organ videos but their musical talents and enthusiasm -- and they _are_
talented and enthusiastic -- are seriously flawed by their inability
to write and spell correctly.  Or do they, like many Internet users,
merely see no need to write intelligibly?

Things are a-changing, and maybe it's time for us old geezers to
move on.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

 [ Mechanical Music Digest began in 1995 as a moderated and edited
 [ email discussion forum.  All the articles are placed at the public
 [ MMD Archives so that they will be found by Internet search engines
 [ like Yahoo and Google.  The result is that today MMD has more than
 [ 2600 subscribers around the world.  -- Editor

(Message sent Sun 21 Nov 2010, 18:06:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Fragmentation, Groups, Interest, Special

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