December 2002. Lawsuits had just brought down once-popular Napster. Consumer hard drives were around 20GB, and many people still had less. It was sheer scarcity of storage space which eventually led to the emergence of lo‑bit, a small but lively niche within the universe of music published online. Its defining characteristics, a propensity towards DIY aesthetics, and disdain for polished production, live on to this day. So does the place where lo-bit started. 20kbps is 20 years old today.
Whilst in the beginning, it was a group of friends that published their music on the newly founded netlabel, artists from around the world soon responded to the open call, and over the years, 20kbps grew into a microcosm as diverse as the people who publish their music online are. There was never adhesion to a genre, no branding itself a certain way, and yet, or perhaps just because there never was much direction, 20kbps was able to maintain a distinct identity.
Today, 20kbps is proud to present a compilation for the netlabel's 20th anniversary. Artists who were with us many years ago, as well as some who more recently came to contribute to the ever growing catalogue, have sent their tracks, and their works combined shape a beautiful piece of netlabel history.
I (Jonas / The Hardliner) would like to thank again all the artists, and commemorate the founder of this netlabel. I wish Mathias would have lived to write these liner notes himself. In 20kbps, a part of him lives on.
On to the 25th!
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