Happy Beer Day Muddie! you were, are and always will be, the best thing on the Internet.
My biggest thrill, after discovering Netscape a few years earlier, was finding Mudcat. Others have so eloquently visited its extraordinary impact upon popular music that I hardly can find anything unmentioned.
But there is one!
Recently made friends with a millennial female singer / songwriter, Ila Minori. She is both recorded, and with all the right tools to make it today, her fame is growing on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest, as much as it is on Radio and through live shows. She has a great singing voice and a talent for writing nice songs when she wants to.
That is, Mudcat becoming a vector in that new world of digital media, is that new thing!
So Mudcat as the first 'digital' folk networked revolutionary thing that I found, and by far the best, always amazed and never fails to fascinate. I thought then, 1999, and Max later proved it, that there is no longer need for physical things to record and save music. Mudcat Radio, who remembers those awesome days? And yes we did prove with the free apps of the time it could be done! Record and mix at home, stream into a file, then email to the broadcaster.
What a shame Apple, and other big players in the game, took our little experiment and made billions out of it? I don't think even Real Audio ever made much off of their encoder.
Then in the same years MP3 was subject to attempts to monopolize and copyright it! I still own a disc with the original 'encoder' I got from the open software guys and Unix community. At the same time elsewhere in the folk community ABC notation evolves to enable simple tune sharing among the Celtic music zines.
Recalling all the characters who made me howl with laughter, somebody mentioned Spaw, reminds of the great heart and generosity of the Mudcat. It was, and remains IMHO a great foundation of digital American goodness.
My worst moment was losing my password. Yes! I know I should have asked for reset, but with all the to-ing and fro-ing in my life I went for decades not knowing that I could reset it.
As they say to err is human but to lose your password is a banjo player!