Thursday, 28 June 2012

Breaking More Waves Is 4 Years Old Today

On the 28th June 2008 Breaking More Waves was born. Today it’s four years old. It's a happy blog birthday.

When we embarked on this journey we didn’t really know exactly what we were doing or what we were letting ourselves in for, particularly the overloaded blog submission in box! Breaking More Waves started with a vague idea about posting up some reviews of music festivals and gigs and writing about new music we were enjoying – it was a continuation of a paper based fanzine we used to write called Breaking Waves. The likes of hit counts, page views, google optimisation, blog aggregators and monetisation were terms that weren’t even on our radar at this point. We still don't care for some of them, but we know what they are now. We were just doing it for ourselves with no thoughts if anyone would read it. At the start very few people did.

The blog was mobilised at a snail’s pace. In July 2008 we posted just 6 times. It wasn’t until 6 months later in December (the time period by which most new blogs have folded) that we’d built up a head of steam. At that point we published our first Albums of the Year feature. Our top 3 albums of 2008 were Bon Iver, Elbow and Glasvegas; choices we’d stand by now. We also named our 10 Ones to Watch for 2009 which included the likes of Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine, Little Boots, La Roux and Marina & The Diamonds (a year before she cropped up on the BBC Sound of List and many tastemakers prediction lists). In terms of predicting commercial success it was a pretty good crop.

It was around this time we noticed that something was happening. The blog was starting to get quite a bit of traffic, including people revisiting more than once. We were even being referenced and quoted on other blogs. People were also leaving comments on some of our posts.

At this stage we still weren’t listed on any music blog aggregators such as Hype Machine, choosing not to publish MP3’s, because at the time the blogging landscape and copyright issues were unclear. Lots of high profile blogs were being taken off line with DMCA notices served against them and we didn’t want this to happen to the blog we’d lovingly created. At this time Soundcloud hadn’t become fully established as a way for artists to post their tracks on line so that music blogs could legitimately share them and artists could remove them when they wanted to, so we were cautious.

But even without the benefit of the likes of Hype Machine, Shuffler FM, etc the blog was starting to get noticed. In 2009 we were asked to vote on the BBC Sound of 2010 (2 of our 3 choices – Ellie Goulding and Stornoway made the final list), an affirmation that this humble old fashioned looking Blogspot template blog, run somebody with no connection to the music industry but a huge passion for music (and in particular new music) had a small amount of flair for recognising some of the rising talent in the world. If there’s one thing that unites all music bloggers it’s probably the thought that their taste in music is ‘the best’, you have to have a big ego to think this, and the BBC contribution was a further boost to this already huge ego.

Since then the blog has continued to flourish. We finally signed up to the likes of Hype Machine as Soundcloud paved the way for safer hosting of MP3’s and have through the blog found ourselves doing a wide range of things that we never dreamed possible a few years back; helping judge the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition, attending music festivals for a free as a member of the press, appearing on national and local radio and being quoted in national online media to name just a few highlights. 

We’ve also had the privilege to meet many of the artists we’ve written about, and many other UK music bloggers. Some of these artists and bloggers have now become personal friends away from the world of the internet and if there was any one thing that has made writing this blog worthwhile it’s those wonderful friendships that have been developed. There's nothing more important than good people.

So where does Breaking More Waves find itself today? Well, the blog has evolved a little. We’ve dropped the album and live reviews (except festivals) instead focussing more on positive fan based writing rather than attempting to create critical content. But in terms of the music we cover and in the way we write we’ve been reasonably consistent. We've never been concerned with 'great writing' and 'journalistic ability' partly because we don't have the time to fine tune what we post. Most of our posts are speed-written late at night or early in the morning - the real life of work and family mean we can't spend as much time as many other more time rich bloggers creating content. However we're proud of what we do manage to create - besides the friends we've made through the blog our other biggest success is simply creating and maintaining the thing for four years. Many other members of our UK new music blog peer group have evolved – either changing their style of writing (have a look for example at The Recommender’s first post compared with its more verbose, lengthy and analytical prose these days) or the type of music they feature (underground fuzzy guitar bands or D-I-Y laptop kids may be a staple diet of now fairly quiet The Pigeon Post but a few years back the blog was featuring the likes of country rock girl Lissie) or their look (The Von Pip Musical Express now has a cleaner less chaotic presentation than it did a while ago) but apart from a few tweaks we're not that different from when we started. Other once prolific blogs have fallen by the wayside. We wonder who will be next ? Certainly at the time of writing we feel we’re in fine shape and have no plans to stop the blog. We are however intending to scale back our volume of posts slightly, moving back to about 20-25 a month rather than the 30-40 we seem to be producing at the moment. We might even take the odd week day off. 

If this is your first visit to Breaking More Waves or you’re a regular we’d like to say thank you for reading. We’d still write even if only 1 or 2 people read it, ultimately we write it for ourselves and nobody else but the fact that many more do is a wonderful bonus. Thank you. What the future holds for new music blogs who knows ? But for now it's business as usual for us. That means falling in love (again) with pop music, occasional analogies between music and sex, the odd bit of humour, discurssive banter as if we're down the pub with you and lots and lots of new music.

We’re off to Blissfields Festival this weekend. We’ll be back in July. Here’s to our fifth birthday next year.

Blissfields Festival Video


Alpo said...

Wow, thanks for being a fine purveyor of music for so long for all us readers and fans. You are a daily read for me, and appreciate all posts. Happy Birthday BMW!

Anonymous said...

Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it
was extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for beginner blog writers? I'd really appreciate it.
my site - teset

Mark Davies said...

Many Happy Returns ... on a personal (selfish?) note I'm glad the blog exists to serve me up with the music and musings I used to get directly from you back in the day ... keep it up!

DJ Slippers said...

I hope it isn't too late to say congratulations and thank you for taking me down musical avenues that I'd have walked past without your passion and persistence. Best wishes for the future and keep the energy up !
DJ Slippers