There’s a level of misapprehension about this new music blogging business in certain quarters. Here are just four of the inaccurate statements and criticisms directed towards us from readers, artists and Twitter followers we've received over the last year. We’ve bundled them together and put them in this post because (a) it’s a wet Sunday afternoon and we were looking for something to keep us busy, but more importantly (b) having invested considerable amounts of time over the last 5 years into the blog it can be dispiriting to read or hear statement we believe to be largely incorrect relating to something that we're passionate about.
1. Criticism that ‘Hype Machiners’ only feature tracks that the bands have paid the site / blog to feature. (This comment came from a band that had not had much success getting their band featured on blogs.)
In the five years of Breaking More Waves existence we’ve received two offers of payment for featuring a track and in both cases wrote back to the band suggesting they seriously reconsidered their approach. However we acknowledge that there are sites out there who take payment to review music although none of them are listed on Hype Machine. Here’s a great article on Echoes and Dust about if bands should pay for record reviews. (In a nutshell our view is they shouldn't - after all how can an objective opinion be given if your being paid by the artist who you are reviewing and therefore how can the review be of any value to its reader?)
2. Criticism that ‘tastemaking’ blogs are statistically more likely to write about an artist that that the blog writer / editor has heard on TV / radio.
Blogs are usually ahead of TV and radio in their coverage of new music, that’s why they’re called tastemakers. We can press play on a track we discover online, love it and post about it instantly - often at demo stage or way before the music industry has got involved. If an artist has made it on to TV the chances are they will have been written about on new music blogs many months (or even years before). You want examples? OK, here at Breaking More Waves we first featured Ellie Goulding in February 2009, she debuted on TV with her first single in October that year. Chvrches first popped up here in May 2012, and appeared on Later With Jools nearly a year and a half later. We're proud as a new music blog that our discoveries of music come from many sources and often way before they are featured on mainstream media - it's one of the reasons (besides our wit, intelligence and dashing good looks of course ;) ) that people read us.
3. Criticism that blogs have become too mainstream and don't feature enough underground artists.
There is no rule on the internet that says that blogs must be underground – this rule is just in someone’s head. The criticism fails to understand that many blogs are written by sole authors who simply write about the music they like. If that happens to be mainstream / commercial music, then so be it. If you don’t like it don’t read that blog, look elsewhere. There are plenty of blogs writing about underground or unsigned music. From our own perspective if something is commercial or not has never been a reason to write about the music - we just write about music that we enjoy.
4. Criticism that new music blogs are too obsessed with buzz and hype, rather than longevity.
There’s no rule on the internet that says that what blogs should and shouldn’t write about. Not even in The Rules of Pop Chapter 27 - The Internet And Music. There are many blogs out there who will only feature an artist in the early stages of their music careers because that’s their niche – brand new artists, that’s why people read those blogs. There are blogs who simply act as agents of ‘churnover’. However there are many others who occupy a different role and will continue to write about artists that continue to excite them over the longer term. Please don’t tar all blogs with the same brush – if you’re levelling this criticism as a generalisation about all blogs you’re not looking at the right blogs for you. There are more words about ‘churnover’ and our thoughts about getting excited about the brand new / buzz here.