17 August 2010
Music blogs will increasingly become aggregated
Everyone talks of a) how great it is that there are these hundreds of thousands of disparate voices on the Internet, parading their love for music, and b) how irritating it is that there are these hundreds of thousands etc., because now no one knows where to look to discover new stuff, or read about the current.
Plus, the very idea of critical insight has become a thing of the past, ruined by the proximity audiences have with their writers, on comment threads. So we need gatekeepers for the gatekeepers.
The Hype Machine and Pitchfork are already moving towards blog aggregation. Up in Brisbane, a handful of us are experimenting with a similar idea - collapseboard. com - with the idea of creating a sense of community out of disparate, geographically local, voices. No one wants compete decentralisation: it’s way too confusing.
Mainstream music print publications increasingly cater to a niche audience
No one single music title today has the reach of the UK and US music press in the late ‘70s. Even Rolling Stone is preaching to a clearly defined, niche audience. What is needed are places that point you in the direction of information: reputable portals.
Everything is a sound-bite
Even newspapers can’t be bothered with comprehensive coverage these days. What matters on the Internet is being FIRST, not the story itself.
There's no place for insight in music journalism these days, unless it’s at one of those niche sites or publications that litter the field: and there it’s more important you’re seen to be knowledgeable than actually being incisive.
Music sites figure out a way to make money It will happen.
The folk who run Mess And Noise/Faster Louder etc. are making quite a decent hash of it. It’s merely a sign how deeply conservative and entrenched in the old ways the Australian music industry is that it hasn’t happened already.
From where I’m sitting (south-east Queensland), state governments are increasingly favouring Internet start-ups: all politicians like to appear cool.
Individual voices become powerful once more
It’s happening already. Sure, once upon a time there were only 104 music critics and everyone read every word they wrote. Now, there are 104 million, or thereabouts. Doesn’t matter. Chris Anderson’s Long Tail effect has never been so appropriate as when observing the blogosphere. A handful of incredibly powerful individuals/ websites (Pitchfork, NPR, Mess And Noise, et al) copied by all.
Fanzines will make a triumphant return
This is tied in with the resurgence of live music. Commonsense, really - fanzine writers have made a triumphant return online, it’s just a matter of time before they start taking over print once more.
Street press will wither and die
This one is self-evident. It’s an archaic form, barely formulated and carried out in an astonishingly surly manner. The street press only exists because advertising agents deem it important. What happens when the new breed of ad rep comes in, grown up on the Internet?
Why would they waste their clients’ money on something that has no purpose, beyond local information. But everyone accesses their local information online these days. Guess record companies really do like to be seen to be doing something for their artists: it’s all smoke and mirrors and no meaning.
Device integration has nothing to do with music journalism.
Despite what Apple would have us believe.
The very nature of music journalism is changing
If you’re a writer - professional or amateur - discussing music online in 2010, you’d have to be crazy not to realise that your readers have the same access to information that you do. So you adapt.
Your primary task now is no longer to criticise music but to lay a path through the myriad sounds and blogs for your reader to follow. You link. You write. And then you link some more. You cannot function unless you’re doing this. You are no longer a critic. You are a curator, and an unpaid one at that. People are reading you because they assume you have specialist knowledge, not because you can argue brilliantly.
Best of luck. Lots of self-important dudes wearing check shirts will sit round discussing it. And get paid for it too, if they live in America.
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