Friday 1 January 2016

Breaking More Waves - The 2016 Edition

2016. It’s arrived. Or at least it has in the UK. Everything is different and yet everything is also the same. Breaking More Waves is a bit like that – it’s still the good old basic no frills or thrills blog template with a chatty rather than journalistic style, but it's different as well. If you don’t know about the changes I'm making, I posted about them over the Christmas period and you can catch up on that using this link

If you can’t be bothered reading that post, then in essence, the changes are that I’m now writing in the first person singular, because Breaking More Waves is becoming a bit more personal in some of the material I publish. Breaking More Waves is also no longer going to be just a new music blog, although there will still be a good proportion of the brand new; but there will be other (music) stuff as well. Finally I won’t be posting quite as regularly as the past.

As I have for the last couple of years, my first post for 2016 is a few thoughts and wishes about what I'd like to happen in the ever changing landscape of pop music / the internet / social media as we go through the next 12 months together.

But before we get down to that, here’s something a little weird / uncanny that I’ve just noticed about the blog.

Jan 1st 2013: I introduced a new artist called Layla with her song New Year. Layla was a new solo project by Josephine from the as yet formed Oh Wonder.

Jan 1st 2015: I introduced a new band called Oh Wonder. 2 years on from the day from Layla first appeared on the blog. By the end of the year I named the Oh Wonder album as my favourite of 2015.

It’s a bit of evidence to suggest that it would be wrong to call all music bloggers fickle! 

So here they are:  

10 things that I’d like to see happen to music and the internet in 2016.

1. The tired format of X-Factor will be scrapped in the UK. OK I asked for this in 2014, but it feels we’re getting closer doesn’t it?

2. Also asked for in 2014: There will be a second Nicola Roberts solo album and it will be more than good. Still really hoping for that one.

3. Also asked for in 2014: There will be some Nicola Roberts live shows and they will be A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. But let's have the album first.

4. The music industry will accept that different people might like to use and enjoy different or even multiple music formats (CD, streaming, vinyl, downloads) and works to find a solution that suits everyone based on this idea, rather than simply trying to destroy certain formats as they have done in the past. 

5. That songwriters will become more adventurous lyrically. There’s so much more to write about than just being 'in da club' and 'doing what you want'. Wouldn’t it be fun if say someone wrote a song about the mystical adviser in the court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, or based their lyrics on the book Wuthering Heights? These things happened in the past and we’d like to see some acts embracing a more literary and wide reaching approach to what they sing about.

6. Where music bloggers are working for an artist (management / PR / label) that they are more open about their position and manage their conflicting roles properly. For example posting about the artist on your independent blog without declaring your role is a pretty poor show. It's as bad as last years fiasco of PR companies writing about their own acts for Hype Machine listed music blogs and therefore giving their acts an unfair advantage on the Hype Machine charts (see more about this on Hype Machine here)

7. That people will suddenly realise that going to see a band in a local 100 / 200 / 400 capacity venue is actually something worth doing. I’ve noticed a worrying decline in the number of people going to smaller gigs in the last few years. Further small venue closures would be a disaster for music. I know it’s a clichéd argument, but if artists can’t learn their craft in these places then where are the 10,000 seat arena fillers of the future going to come from?

8. That music industry people (including bloggers) focus less on social media statistics and more on the quality of the music. 

9. That people will spend less time on social media (particularly twitter) ‘calling people out’ when their actions or words aren’t the same as what they believe is acceptable behaviour and more time trying to understand why the person chose to act that way. It’s only through understanding that real solutions can be found. Aggression just breeds aggression both ways.

10. That the UK government ensures that Radio 1, Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music remain for the nation to enjoy. For all their faults they have a purpose that could never be filled by the commercial sector and without them the UK’s music scene and industry would be a far poorer place. Even better though, would be if after scrapping X-Factor (item 1) the UK could get a decent eclectic live music mainstream TV show - imagine something like TFI Friday but without all the 'humour' in between. 

Ok, that’s my wish list. Let’s get on with the show.... Oh, and happy bloody New Year to you. Thumbs up / firework emoji etc.

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