Hey, whatever happened to…?

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Pages recently withdrawn from circulation on Songbook, either deleted or changed to draft status:

  • Embraceable You
  • Goodbye (Gordon Jenkins)
  • I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
  • Just You, Just Me
  • The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
  • On Green Dolphin Street
  • Solitude

Other pages removed or deleted in the past few years:

*Top ten Oasis songs (official) – joke
*Cherokee (Indian Love Song)
*Les Paul
*Jayne Mansfield galleries
*The Cat Came Back, Hit the Road Jack, and Stray Cat Strut
*Some additional standards and hits, 1920-1929
*1940s — some additional hits and standards
*Burt Bacharach: selected early songs, 1955-1960, excluding hits
*Burt Bacharach: selected 1961 songs, excluding hits
*Please Stay (Bacharach, Hilliard)

It’s possible that some of the pages that have been moved to draft status rather than deleted may one day be repaired, revised, or otherwise modified sufficiently so that I’d consider publishing them again, but it’s not likely. For a page or post on this site to be sent back to draft status after having been published is usually a death sentence.

Questions

Q: Why are pages deleted or removed from published status?

A: Various reasons. See “too little time” below. I expect to continue to delete as many old pages as I create new pages in the future, although this may change if I upgrade my system.

Q: I noticed that last year you published not one but two pages on “Blackberry Winter” (1),(2), and just this month you published a multiple-page feature on the song “Come Saturday Morning.” Not only that, but you’ve got pages published on pap like the maudlin and melodramatic “Another Tear Falls,” and the utterly inane bubblegum pop song “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” Since Christmas you’ve also done large features on the relatively unknown “I Never Has Seen Snow” and the obscure “I’m Getting Tired So I Can Sleep,” and two pages on the wrong “Porgy” (1),(2). Do you mean to say that you actually prefer these songs to magnificent classics such as George and Ira Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” and Duke Ellington’s “Solitude” and “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)”?

A. Yes. and it’s not even close. But aside from my eccentric tastes there are other factors that have led me to favoring pages on less well-known songs in recent years. Among these are the following:

  • too many covers to choose from on major standards (e.g. reportedly more than 25,000 covers of “Summertime.”) — My drop-in-the-bucket pick of 15-20 covers of “Summertime” would have no hope of representing the whole, and my take on the song would have little chance of saying anything that hasn’t been said before. In some cases, after days of hunting, I’m able to tally twice as many versions of a lesser-known or forgotten song as is presently listed at SecondHandSongs.com, with its potentially endless group of actively posting members. This is more fun for me, and may contribute (to researchers and the merely curious) something more valuable than my two bits on “Summertime,” possibly even something unique, if only for a short time.
  • too little time — If I want to continue to create new pages, I’m going to have to forfeit some old pages in order to keep the site viable. This is because the time spent maintaining the site, already excessive, would otherwise reach unsustainable levels. Unlike a typical text-focused site, most of my pages are full of videos. A typical page has 15-20 video players, and some have over 30. The site may have over 10,000 embedded videos. I’ve never counted them, but estimates can be made based upon the number of pages containing multiple videos and the average number of videos per page. YouTube videos, which comprise probably 95% of the videos on this site, tend to have a short shelf-life. They are often disabled without notice for a variety of reasons. The biggest issue with regard to embedding videos straight from YouTube without downloading them first is that they can be, and often are, removed from YouTube by either YouTube itself or the member posting the video there, and without any notice of the action provided until you visit the page or post that the video is on. This happens all the time on YouTube, and less frequently on other video libraries such as Dailymotion, Vimeo, etc.
    • Reasons for the removal of a video from YouTube are many, include the following:
      • removal by YouTube due to copyright claim by the owner of the music and/or film footage used in a video
      • removal by YouTube due to violation of Terms of Service agreement
      • account deletion by YouTube for violation of TOS
      • removal by YouTube member, without deletion of account
      • account deletion by member
    • If I take the figure of 10,000 as a reasonable estimate of the number of videos presently embedded on the site, and estimate that I can check the status of 500 videos per hour (probably a high estimate due to the slow loading speed on my present setup), while making notes on those missing, then it will take roughly 20 hours to complete the checking and note taking process.
    • I’ve further estimated that on average 5% of those 10,000 will be found, upon inspection, to be disabled. So that’s an average of 500 videos that will be found in need of replacement during a random check of the whole site. That number would be lower if I had a regular schedule of checking and replacing videos, but I don’t. I check them fairly randomly, periodically.
    • Replacing videos is the most time-consuming step in the process because it involves in each case searching in online video libraries for a video that corresponds to the exact recording to be replaced, listening to a group of prospective replacement videos (or at least a portion of each of them), and selecting from those found the one of the best quality.
    • Next, I’ve estimated that at a pace of 4-5 videos replaced per hour it will take 100-125 hours to replace the 500 videos missing at the start of the process.
    • So the total time to complete the process of checking and replacing videos across the entire site is roughly 20 + 100-125 hours, or 120-145 hours.
    • How long will that take? At 4 hours per day, 5 days a week, it will take 6-7 weeks. That’s such a length of time that by the time I’m finished with the job of replacement, it’s certain that other videos that were working at the start of the process will have been disabled in the interim. Probably not another 500 that quickly, but the number will be increasing every week. Before long the whole process of checking and replacement must begin all over again.
    • To me these calculations, while far from precise, serve to illustrate that maintenance of thousands of “borrowed” embedded videos on a site such as this is an endless, very time-consuming process. Do I have any volunteers that want to spend 10 hours a week replacing dead videos?
  • not a top ten site or a collection of standards only — I began work on this site in early 2009, so it’s been ten years. Although I never considered Songbook a ranking site, during the early years of the site I often did consult other sites which ranked songs by popularity, longevity, etc. before making my selections with the aid of such lists. These crutches helped me to construct the skeleton of the site very quickly. So during those early years I often tended to favor the more lastingly popular songs for each year, and for each songwriter, generally choosing standards. After a few years of building the site in this manner I was thoroughly fed up with creating pages on songs that I dislike, just because they happen to be high on this or that list. I’ve been happily moving away from the tendency to depend on ranked lists in recent years, so much so that the idea of sticking to standards now seems repulsive to me. The mere thought of doing that gives me hives. I’m not saying that I’ll never do a page on a standard again, because I will. But in choosing a song to create a feature page on, knowing whether it has been deemed a standard by those who deem, or rests especially high on somebody’s list of standards, are not the most important factors that I’ll consider.

Other reasons for deleting pages:

  • irrelevance — The Jayne Mansfield galleries page had become the most popular on the site. It had nothing to do with the rest of the site, nothing to do with music. Basically just T&A. So after a not unpleasant two year ride I bid farewell to Jayne.
  • jazz standards that are much less well-known outside of the field of jazz — examples: Cherokee, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), On Green Dolphin Street — I still have others that fall in this category. The axe hovers…

In conclusion allow me a moment to give a warm embrace of thanks to all of my visitors, both those who have been returning like the morning sun for years and the sparkling new ones. Without you, this site would not exist. I could not do it without your interest and support. Best to all of you.

Regards,
doc

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