AOL Music launched a new site today (Jan. 23) called “G-Sides, Music for the GLBT Community.” An explanation on the Site explains that G-Sides is “the gay and lesbian artists we love. The icons we can’t live without. The newest releases you need to know about. And a place to talk about it — amongst ourselves.”
“The site is a reaction to things we’ve seen in past programming,” explains M. Tye Comer, senior programming manager for AOL Music. “The programmers from the AOL gay and lesbian channel came to us a while ago. Several of the music promotions they had done on their end did extremely well.” It didn’t hurt, adds Comer, that a sponsor – Motorola – had lined up before G-Sides was even programmed.
At launch, G-Sides featured an interview and DJ session from Cyndi Lauper, videos of the Strokes and a duet between Antony & the Johnsons and Boy George, as well as a “This Week’s Essential Tunes” chart that features links to videos from artists-and presumed gay icons-such as Gwen Stefani, the cast of the Broadway hit Rent, and, of course, Madonna.
We know all about the big debate: Is there such a thing as ‘gay music’?,” wrote the editors of G-Sides, promoting a message board discussion of that question. “Does packaging ‘gay music’ ghettoize us? Some say so. Others say there’s a gay sensibility to certain music and it can serve as a common bond within the gay, lesbian, bi and trans community.”
But Comer says that G-Sides isn’t necessarily a “gay music” Site. “You’ll see videos, like the Strokes video, or the Alanis Morissette video, that have very strong gay and lesbian themes. This Site will talk about all different facets: gay artists, music that has a strong LGB fan base, and even videos that you might not think have relevance to the gay and lesbian community — but do.”