[Cartoon - Mr. Grinch]

December 4, 2010

Take that, Mr. Grinch

Many of you know that I worked 20 years in the music industry; 5 years managing a series of increasingly larger record stores, and then 15 years for EMI Music/Capitol Records in both Montreal and then Ottawa. They were great years full of exciting times where I got to meet many of the big stars of the day. l also managed to amass a huge music collection, first vinyl LPs, then later Compact Discs. In fact, it was the music collector in me that drew me to that business in the first place – I have an almost insatiable appetite for all kinds of music, with some genres appealing to me more than others. None-the-less my collection runs the gamut, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Beethoven and Mozart, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole to Fat Boy Slim and Massive Attack, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline to Stevie Ray Vaughan and the 3 Kings (B.B., Albert & Freddie), James Brown and Aretha Franklin to King Sunny Adé and Bob Marley.

…And then there is Christmas music.

[Photo Collage: 4 Christmas CD Covers]

A sampling of the CD covers I’ve created over the years

It’s not really that unusual for music collectors to have a larger-than-usual Christmas section in their library; almost every genre of music and every artist with more than a few recordings under their belt have taken a turn at recording a Christmas song. Often times these songs wind up on seasonal compilation records, or are snuck onto Greatest Hits packages released around the holiday time. Larger acts will go so far as to record an entire album of Christmas music; often they take ‘standards’ and add their own little twist to them – they are cheap to record and produce, and if the artist is “hot” they can make a quick buck.

So, because I am a music collector, I also have Christmas music. Lots of Christmas music. Probably too much Christmas music, but what the heck… I like Christmas, I like music, so there you have it.

Over the years I’ve taken to making my own compilations of Christmas music to counter the almost incessant drone of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” played on every radio station and shopping mall on the continent. Christmas music with a twist, great music that you’ve likely not heard, or rarely encountered. First cassette samplers, and then later CD’s, spending the time to duplicate multiple copies and working up artwork for each release. I would then share those copies with friends and family, in the spirit of giving that Christmas is supposed to be about – it’s not about the money you spend, but the time you give.

Technology marches on however, and today hardly anyone I know even has a cassette player; many of the people I know don’t even have dedicated CD players (except perhaps in their cars), and so the means of distributing my humble collections has grown with the times.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post: my offer to share my Christmas Music collection with you over the holiday season. Over the past couple of weekends I’ve completed the task of converting my Christmas CDs to MP3, and through the wonders of the internet and freely available software, I can now open my entire Christmas collection (all 2,000+ MP3s) to you to stream to your computer. Point your web browser over to http://johnfoliot.subsonic.org, log in, and enjoy. As a little tip, if you click on the “More” icon (it’s a blue present along the top of the page), you can have the software select a random choice of songs, by genre, to listen to at home, at your desk, or wherever you have access to the internet.

It’s my present to you – enjoy! And may the holiday season bring you peace and happiness, with family and friends.


CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Take that, Mr. Grinch by John Foliot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted by John

I am a 16 year veteran of Web Accessibility, living and working in Austin, Texas. Currently Principal Accessibility Strategist at Deque Systems Inc., I have previously held accessibility related positions at JPMorgan Chase and Stanford University. I am also actively involved with the W3C - the international internet standards body - where I attempt to stir the pot, fight hard for accessibility on the web, and am currently co-chairing a subcommittee on the accessibility of media elements in HTML5.

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