I write a music blog for 2 simple reasons:
- I love music
- I love reading about music
I adore the many music publications that exist (yes even Pitchfork) because for some reason they caught on and it fascinates me. I molded my own blog around their model. News announcements, single streaming, album reviews, music videos, etc. Up until recently I thought I was doing great and that it would just take time (and lots of it) to get to the status of something like Tiny Mix Tapes. The problem is I’m dead before I even start because in the back of my mind I know that the music blog/publication industry is extremely over-saturated. It would take 20 writers to compete with this big names and even if I had that much manpower, who would really care? Why wouldn’t they just read the same thing on FactMag or Pitchfork, something they trust and already recognize. Even I were to get super niche and only write about deep house DJs from the UK, I would never amass an audience big enough to compete because that group of listeners is already so small.
Ultimately, I realized 2 things:
- I’m writing to be famous and/or compete and that is not why I want to do it
- I’m copying my role models
How do you expect to get anywhere if you copy what has already been done and, most likely, already done better. The music writing gig as a whole has become so ADD-friendly and rapid fire that it’s impossible to actually care about anything. It’s more like people enjoying knowing the news items rather than actually being excited about what was announced.
My favorite band used to be AFI. I was obsessed. I would sit on their forum page waiting with plenty of others for ANY update at all from the band or a clue as to when their next release would be coming out. Does anyone get that excited about music anymore. With the network of blogs and publications (like Pitchfork, which is really just a glorified blog), there has been a formula established for bands to follow. You leak an announcement, then a track, then a video, then an album stream, then drop the album then tour. Rinse and repeat every 2 years or so. These bands aren’t sticking anymore and the publications are thriving off of people (like me) who wait bitterly for the next big news all the while hiking up their ad revenue with every page refresh. It’s a system that has formed, they have perfected it and are cashing in and we suckle at the teet days on end getting our audio fill. How to change this I wonder?
Bob Lefsetz spurred this thinking with his criticism of David Bowie giving into this established PR machine with his first new song in 10 years. Bob says, “we don’t want announcements, we want substance!”