Monday, 23 June 2014
Breaking More Waves Is 6 Years Old Today - Some Blog Related Thoughts
Breaking More Waves is six years old today. *Applause*
The first words on this blog came from a quote from Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States. “We can draw lessons from the past but we cannot live in it.” It applied to our thoughts on popular music at the time, as well as the ever evolving format of amateur d-i-y music press. Those thoughts still hold true now. Breaking Waves started as a paper fanzine, but that format was dead. Long live Breaking More Waves! (Internet blog version)
Six years may not seem much of an achievement, but personally for us it is. For anyone that has written a new music blog for any length of time, particularly a one author / one voice effort such as this one against a background of full-on day job miles away from the music industry or journalism, kids, social life etc, will tell you it isn’t always easy, especially if you try (as we do) to post something nearly every day.
It’s why now as each year goes on we stop and celebrate our blog birthday.
Rather like last year, in that moment of celebration we’re offering a few naval gazing thoughts, this year six of them (for obvious reasons) up about our experiences created from writing Breaking More Waves
1. New Music Blogging Is Important (But Not That Important)
This year more than any other we’ve had the opportunity to meet quite a few of the artists that we’ve written about and supported regularly on the blog. What has amazed us is that these artists 1. Know of the blog. 2. Have seen the posts we’ve written. 3. Are really thankful for our support. 4. (Bizarrely) are as excited to meet us as we are them.
What is amazing about all of this (particularly item 4 in that list) is that Breaking More Waves is just somebody sitting at home, listening to music and writing about it on his laptop. It’s really not that important. But to some artists, particularly those who aren’t on major labels, who don’t have a PR company behind them to help them out, who aren’t played on the radio and who don’t have a manager, having somebody out there on the internet spreading the word about their music, giving them a few hundred extra plays on their Soundcloud with each post is very important to them.
Sometimes it can be even more than that. This year in particular there have been a number of artists that have been featured on the blog who haven’t had any of the support infrastructure we’ve just outlined, who have contacted us to tell us that they’ve had the likes of managers or record labels A&R get in contact with them saying that they’d heard them via this blog. This is frankly quite staggering and a bit weird.
But irrespective of if writing this blog is important to others or not, it’s important to us, which brings us to point 2…..
2. We Do It Because We Do
Some people write music blogs as a stepping stone to career opportunities in journalism or the music industry (although we suspect the chances of those opportunities coming from writing a music blog are far lower than what they used to be), others do it to generate some income (again the chances of earning anything worthwhile from a new blog are now very limited), others do it to help promote the artists they love. Whilst there’s certainly an element of the last part of that statement in why we do it, our main reason is simply this; we do it because we want to. Six years in and the process of listening, writing and sharing is addictive. We just do it because we love doing it. We do it because it's fun.
3. People Are Generally Bloody Nice
Despite what you might think if you use lots of social media, our interactions in real life with artists, their representatives, readers of the blog (yes we’ve actually met people who read this thing and some of them have now become friends) shows that people are actually alright. In fact most of them are bloody lovely. It’s heart-warming to discover how decent most people are.
4. People Are Generally Bloody Nice (2)
At the end of this January myself and fellow music blogger Adam from Alphabet Bands took on a challenge to write and create blog posts non-stop (except for food and comfort breaks) for 24 hours. In doing so we asked people to sponsor us with all money received donated to Cancer Research. We hoped to raise a couple of hundred quid. We actually raised £1,500. People were incredibly generous. More than we could ever imagine. It is undoubtedly the single best thing we have ever done since writing Breaking More Waves and we’d like to thank every single person that read a blog post (we managed 1 every 45 minutes, which wasn’t too bad considering some of them were very long essays and we also scrapped one very long post halfway through writing as we tied ourselves up in tired knots) and sponsored us.
5. Being Independent Is Very Important To Us
Independent doesn’t mean only covering independent artists. Far from it. It means being independent of mind and unfunded. That means being able to cover what we want, how we want, without any other influencing factors.
6. We're Not The Oldest Blog In Town But We're One Of The Older Bloggers
And because pop music is obsessed by youth (hi Radio 1 we still listen to you a fair amount – you’re attempt to discard your over 25 listenership hasn’t worked completely) we sometimes wonder if maybe we’re just getting too old for it all. But then we think of John Peel, a man who was utterly in love with music till the day he died; and that’s how we still feel. Our body may be older but our mind still feels the same as we did in our early twenties.
It doesn’t look like we’re stopping this any time yet*
*Except that is for the next week or so, whilst we take a holiday of sorts and come Wednesday head off to Glastonbury festival. We’ll be back once we’ve recovered from that. Keep an eye on our tweets for all things Glastonbury.