The UK new music blogging scene has always been dwarfed by its American counterpart, partly because of the respective sizes of the countries but also because the UK is lucky enough to have state funded radio (the BBC). BBC stations are able to make broadcasting decisions that are not so reliant on commercial factors and still remain sustainable. This gives 'Aunty Beeb' the opportunity to provide output that supports niche and emerging talent, something that commercial stations by and large just couldn’t risk. In the U.S.A broadcast opportunities are more financially driven and therefore new music blogs as well as bigger sites such as Pitchfork can fill the gap.
However the last few years have seen UK new music blogs become more prominent, with a number of them emerging as influencers and tastemakers. The number of readers of these sites may be relatively small but they are now acting as a first step for grassroots promotion and development that can then lead to more widespread mainstream media coverage.
The last week or so has seen two developments for UK music blogs that recognise and publicise their standing away from their U.S cousins.
The first is that Hype Machine, the biggest and most well-known blog aggregator which sources and streams music from over 900 active music blogs worldwide, changed its front page for UK users. Now when you hit Hype Machine when residing in the UK what you get first is a stream of music from UK or mainly UK based sites. We’re not sure what impact this will have yet, it certainly hasn’t increased or lessened traffic to Breaking More Waves and at the moment doesn’t seem to have radically affected the number of plays any particular track gets through Hype Machine, but it should mean that for UK users the tracks they see are more relevant to their own country and culture.
The second is the start-up of Music Robot. Music Robot describes itself as ‘a fresh style of music website that shares the genes of a blog collective and an aggregated music chart.’ It curates music posted by a small number of the more established UK music blogs including Breaking More Waves. It’s currently in Beta form and we understand that it is still undergoing development, but if you want to hear what some of the UK’s key music blogs are posting, in one aesthetically pleasing space then now’s your chance to hop on over to the site. Whilst Music Robot’s chart is open to the dangers of any open public vote system (becoming an X-Factor style popularity contest with bands or even the publishing sites galvanising fans to hype their song into the top 25 ) it certainly provides an alternative to the UK singles sales chart and the Hype Machine chart. In fact at the time of writing not one of the top 10 tracks on Music Robot currently features in the Top 50 on Hype Machine. Go have a look and see what you think.
We’ll be watching with interest to see if visitors find Music Robot of value and if it can sustain itself in the longer term – it certainly seems to have been well received so far. It’s an interesting and neat looking addition to the scene, throwing a welcome spotlight on UK new music blogs.
Here’s a track that we discovered through the Music Robot chart. It’s called Earthquake by American / French duo Freedom Fry. It’s deliciously hooky, cute and summery. Hats off to Cougar Microbes via Music Robot for this one.
Freedom Fry - Earthquake