Thursday, 27 March 2014

Thoughts On Blog Post Frequency (+ Kyla La Grange's New Song)

“I swear to god as soon as online publications realise they don’t have to publish every day it will be as revolutionary as the printing press.” That was a tweet we spotted yesterday from one Adrian Chen, a writer and editor at The New Enquiry, a subscription based online publication.

He has a point. Nobody has to do something every day if they don’t want to. Tomorrow we could all just stay in bed, not go to work and have wild passionate sex with someone we fancy (assuming they want to). But these actions have consequences. If you’re employed you might find yourself out of a job. There might even be a baby boom as well. And likewise if you are running an online publication to keep a roof over your head and rely on advertising income you might just find you can’t pay the rent / mortgage at the end of the month. For many sites, page views = income.

However, the perceived wisdom is that the majority of mass content / numerous posts a day / link baiting sites are low in quality, especially if they're run by a small team or individual. But hits are incredibly important unless you do things another way such as the subscription model that The New Enquiry uses. With that model as long as you haven’t agreed with your customers to produce daily content, you don’t have to, and the consequences are less. If your customers are happy with the slower production rate and don’t cancel their subscriptions, you are operating in a very different arena. Quality suddenly goes higher up the agenda. You can possibly even stay in bed all day and make a baby. Although if you do you might need to up your subscribers in the future.

Here’s a another tweet, this time from Sean Adams, founder of Drowned In Sound website: “My job would be 98% easier if I was more forgiving and liked more music, but our website would probably be 6000% less good. #science."

We guess what Sean is alluding to is what he calls the ‘churnover’ of artists, bands, news, reviews, songs and suchlike that music websites create every day. The endless ‘here’s a song, right we’ve forgotten it already let’s move on to the next thing,’ culture that the internet has helped create. Sean’s talking about curation and selection, providing stuff that you believe in (and continue to believe in) and hope your audience will too, hence developing readership loyalty, something that endless “10 greatest guitar poses in rock” features probably doesn’t do. And the argument is that selection and curation requires time, which brings us back to Adrian’s point about not having to publish every day.

So why are we writing about this? Because we want to add the voice of the amateur to these statements and because we're shockingly amateur with words we couldn’t fit it in a 140 character tweet. 

So here we go.

The discussion about volume of posts, quality and funding models whilst interesting, ultimately has no relevance to unfunded music blogs like Breaking More Waves. Why? Because we don’t generate income, the likes of traffic and page views becomes irrelevant. Sure it’s nice for the ego to know that someone reads the crap we upload (every blogger likes an audience, no matter how small – otherwise why put your posts publically on line?) and it’s good for the artists we write about if there’s some traffic, getting them a few more plays and possible interest in their music. 

And yes, we want to produce the best quality we can, as we’re a little bit proud of our humble blog and what we’ve done with it over the last 5 and three quarter years, but we’re realists; we don’t have huge amounts of spare time to produce the thing. If quality = time we have to let the quality go a little. That enables us to rattle out our posts in the spare half hour we have here and there, often writing and scheduling over a sandwich at lunch time at work or burning the midnight oil late when the family are all in bed. 

“Why not slow down and increase the quality?” you may ask you ask. Especially when we’re not being paid.

The answer is because unlike Sean we love A LOT of music; indie, rock, pop, disco, electronica, folk, dance, hip-hop, soul – (sorry heavy metal types, we just can’t get into your groove), and we want to gush uncontrollably about as much of the stuff that we adore as we have time available, without ever just becoming a lowest common denominator ‘this song is good’/ then post the track blog. (We still have some standards!). This to our minds is what music fans do, they talk and obsess about music more than anything else; even more than thinking about practicing making babies. 

That’s why whilst we agree with Adrian that we don’t have to publish every day, with some exceptions (holidays, the odd Saturday or Sunday and right now for the next three or four days *), we continue to do so. Because like a teenage couple in the first flourishes of excitable romance – we want everyone to know about our passion. Our love affair of music doesn’t stop - this is about love not money.

Oh. We almost forgot. This song is good (DAMN!)

*Yes this is possibly the longest blog post ever to get round to saying we’re not posting anything for the next three or four days whilst we take a bit of time off away from the blog. Sorry we got carried away. 

Kyla La Grange - The Knife

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