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Mużika Mod Ieħor: A Chronicle of Maltese Music and Digital Innovation


photo: tonisant.com

Since its inception on Saturday, November 19, 2005, Mużika Mod Ieħor (MMI) has carved out a unique niche in the digital landscape, serving as a vibrant showcase for music by performers in or from Malta. Created by the multifaceted Toni Sant, this podcast series stands as a testament to Malta's rich musical tapestry and the evolving realm of digital media.


Each weekly episode typically features a diverse selection of four or five tracks, introducing listeners to a broad spectrum of Maltese musical talent. Occasionally, special editions deviate from this format, either focusing on fewer tracks or exploring specific themes in depth. Such variety has kept the series fresh and engaging, continually drawing in audiences with its eclectic offerings.


The Evolution of a Digital Pioneer


In the early days of the series, Toni Sant coined the term poddata (plural: poddati), establishing the Maltese lexicon for podcasts. This term has since become integral to the local dialogue about digital media.


Initially, the podcast featured the voice of American comedian George Carlin, who humorously critiqued people's musical tastes and radio airplay in the era of MP3 players and file sharing. This was temporarily replaced by Robert J. Safuto's Pop Culture Rant #43 from Podcast NYC. By the end of its first year, in November 2006, Mużika Mod Ieħor adopted its current introduction style, which has since seen occasional variations in special editions.


A significant milestone occurred with MMI0070, released on June 9, 2007, marking the podcast's transition to the Internet Archive from the MaltaMedia Online Network. This move ensured better long-term preservation of the mp3 files and a more reliable download experience for listeners. This decision proved crucial when a hard drive failure resulted in the loss of working files for podcasts MMI0051 to MMI0159, with only the Internet Archive backups preserving these episodes.


By its 100th edition on February 2, 2008, Mużika Mod Ieħor had already garnered substantial acclaim, even being featured in an article by Michael Bugeja in the Sunday Times of Malta.


Expanding Horizons


photo: Enrique Tabone

Between October 2009 and November 2010, the podcast series enjoyed sponsorship from Vodafone, further bolstering its presence. Another significant development occurred on August 7, 2013, when the podcasts began streaming on Mixcloud, starting from the very first edition. This move enhanced accessibility and broadened the listener base.


On March 26, 2016, MMI0444 introduced regular video editions published on YouTube, making Mużika Mod Ieħor the world's first regular video podcast in Maltese. The video format was later adopted by MVTV for its IPTV transmissions, including it in their regular schedule until the channel's phase-out three years later.


In October 2020, the audio editions became available on Spotify, although they were taken down 13 months later due to restrictive rights management policies. Today, the podcast is accessible via its Facebook page and Toni Sant's official website.


Toni Sant: The Visionary Behind the Podcast


photo: tonisant.com

Toni Sant, a Maltese award-winning writer, broadcaster, and academic based in the UK, is the driving force behind Mużika Mod Ieħor. He serves as an Associate Professor and Director of the Digital Curation Lab at MediaCityUK with the University of Salford and is the former Artistic Director of Spazju Kreattiv, Malta’s national center for creativity in Valletta.


Sant's broadcasting career began in the 1980s with Radio Malta, where he produced music and drama content. He later transitioned to television, hosting popular music and entertainment shows on TVM. In 1994, he moved to the USA for postgraduate studies, earning an MA from the Tisch School of Arts and a PhD in Performance Studies at New York University.


He also formed part of 80’s rock bands Time, Ateatru, Structure and Artwork.


Despite relocating, Sant continued his broadcasting efforts, eventually founding the MaltaMedia Online Network in the late 1990s, which produced pioneering Maltese-language multimedia content. This endeavor laid the groundwork for Mużika Mod Ieħor, his flagship production since 2005.


Contributions and Legacy


photo: tonisant.com

Beyond Mużika Mod Ieħor, Sant has significantly contributed to Maltese culture and digital media. In 2010, he co-founded the Malta Music Memory Project (M3P), a collaborative database of Maltese music and associated arts. His work with Wikimedia UK and as a founding member of Wikimedia Community Malta has promoted open knowledge resources both locally and globally.


Sant's accolades include a Career Recognition Award at the 2020 Malta Music Awards. His academic and literary contributions are extensive, including several published books and articles in peer-reviewed journals and the popular press.


Mużika Mod Ieħor continues to be a vital platform for Maltese music, reflecting Toni Sant's enduring commitment to cultural preservation and innovation in digital media.


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