Thursday, 25 November 2010

Too Much New Music ?

Are music blogs too obsessed with new music? Every day blogs post up the latest band or artist they’ve found and use words like ‘incredible’, ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’ and ‘outstanding’ until the power of those words nearly loses all meaning. No wonder blog aggregator the Hype Machine takes the title it does.

“There’s too much new music out there for me to keep up with.” It’s a statement we’ve read on a variety of blogs and tweets this year – often by highly respected music bloggers who often (like Breaking More Waves) run their blog as a hobby, balancing busy work, family and social lives with their obsession and love of music, for no reward other than the pleasure of doing it. Even those who are more time spare such as students, the unemployed or part-time workers can find it difficult keeping a blog regularly active and up to date with new music, particularly when their personal circumstances change and life gets busier. Sometimes the blog writing and researching process stops being fun and becomes a chore.

As we’ve identified before, quality blogs can act as filters, posting only what they consider to be the great and good, or (in our case at least) what we consider to have some future potential. There’s a danger here though - the constant search for new music means that things get quickly passed over, the blogger moving on to the next thing, discarding or ignoring an artist or band that only six months ago they were raving about. A time limited new music blogger can become the equivalent of a guy or girl who simply cannot commit to a long term relationship – every new song or new album simply becomes a short term fuck buddy, and then its time to move on. It’s part of our disposable mass turnover culture we live in that rears its head wherever you look - from Primark to X- Factor to I Pod Shuffle facilities.

In the case of an artist that has gone from being blog celebrated to receiving mass media coverage this hump ‘em and dump ‘em attitude is not such a problem – the blogs have done their job of promoting the artist to a level where the mainstream media can take over and propel the artist onwards if their material is good and the public take to them. This year in the UK Ellie Goulding has been a classic example of this, receiving initial blog love a long time before she vaulted into the middle stream - but what of the good artists that don’t make that jump? Often the bloggers have moved on – like a hot-blooded bunch of nymphomaniacs looking for another new stranger to indulge in their orgy of musical let’s be friends for a while loving. The artist is left with their window of opportunity quickly having the curtains drawn and the shutters bolted. This short-termism is potentially leaving some great bands without the coverage they deserve, unless of course they go away rebrand themselves under a different name and refuel the bloggers music lust for the new.

Now of course there’s nothing wrong with an exciting one night stand now and then – pop music is full of glorious one hit wonders that bring us to a shuddering climax before being dumped hot, sweaty and slightly dirty feeling in the bargain bin, but without longer term relationships there will always be an empty feeling, no matter how passionate the moment was.

It’s something we’ve always been conscious of at Breaking More Waves. It’s why sometimes we will continue to post about a band that we believe in even when the majority of the music blogging community has moved on. We can’t cover everything we would like to – we’re very time restricted – but where there’s something we love, we try our best to continue to support those acts, although like any other person who enjoys the creative process, the pull of change, of something different, is always exciting.

However, from next January we’re changing things a little. In our own small way we want to counteract the danger of the short attention span relationship with music.

We’re starting a new feature from Monday 3rd January which will run weekly. It’s called Music That Made Me. Consider it a very personal and autobiographical trawl through the songs that we have established long term relationships with. If most of Breaking More Waves is the first hot date that may lead onto something more, the Music That Made Me posts are the moments where songs were found which we would bed down forever with.

So what creates a special long term relationship with a song? It’s more than just being a great tune. To continue the human relationship analogy if a song was a partner it may have a great body (sound / tune) and good personality (lyrics) and that would be fine for a while, but there needs to be something more.

That is why Music That Made Me will be full of memories, snapshots of our life and journeys (musical and otherwise). Its intention is to give you an understanding and insight into the cookbook of tastes, opinions and personality that forms Breaking More Waves. Each post will have a deeper sense of intimacy than our standard new music posts. They are intended to offer something a little different from the average new music blog.

Then after Music That Made Me on Monday we will continue business as usual blogging our way through whatever new music that’s tickling our fancy for the rest of the week.

We’re still obsessed with new music, but want to give at least a hint of the past as well – it helps give context to the rest of Breaking More Waves.


The Recommender said...

Enjoyed this article and I look forward to your new feature.

I'm not sure blogs that focus on new music should be accused of short-termism though.

We have no duty to provide a long loving commitment to the music we cover. Although, in our private lives, we keep onto those bands we enjoy. However, a blog like The Recommender exists to always keep pointing out new music.

I'm not suggesting you were in any way targeting our blog, I'm simply pointing out that always looking for the next thing is what some blogs were legitimately created for.

I guess NME and Q Magazine are allowed to be exclusive of one another, right?

I think the real issue is whether there's a societal problem with people's attention spans and the 'throwaway culture', which I have to admit is possibly getting worse.

The world moves at a rapid pace and marketing companies love you to ditch the old and purchase the new very quickly, but on the flip side, in the case of music, if the artist is special enough then people will stick around.


Scryst said...

I don't write a blog, but it does seem that the uk music media / press has an obsession with 'new' music. I heard you on the radio yesterday on Express FM and what you and Pete Scathe said about there being too much average stuff being released - because of how easy it is to release it rings true with me.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Mike (The Recommmender) - no I certainly wasn't targeting The Recommender, which does an excellent job of doing exactly what its name says. This blog was thinking about all blogs (including my own) and the continued movement of society to a throwaway culture in a wider context, which as you say is probably getting worse. I am posing a question in this blog, expressing some worries, but not necessarily knowing the answers...

I hope that you are right and that if the artist is special enough people will stick around.

Scryst - yes I am concerned that there is too much ‘average’ stuff being put out there, but sometimes the average stuff develops into the great over time – take a band like REM or even The National as an example – but it’s a hard call to determine that which is worthy of supporting because of that potential to develop and that which will always remain as average, which comes back to my original question – is there just too much new music out there ?? Answers on a postcard please….

Tiana Feng said...

I agree that these days there's so many artists that there's so much new music to have focus on a specific artist. For me though, I like to promote new artists, but once I see that they are getting tons of coverage on other blogs I feel like they are set in the world and I do stop blogging about them so I don't end up being one of those blogs that post the same thing as one another. If they personally send me stuff though, I would love to promote them if they are worth it. I don't just promote new stuff though, if a song was old and I never was able to talk about it, I post it in hopes that people rediscover great music too as well as the great songs in all our specialty posts.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Hi Tina thanks for your comment and good points.

Do you think there is a danger that new music bloggers as a collective are contributing in a small way to a society of short-termism? Or as Mike (The Recommender says) points out - blogs have no duty to provide a long loving commitment and that if the artist is special enough then people will stick around ?

As I said I don't know the answers to these questions but am interested to hear peoples opinions.....

Nat said...

This troubles me as well. I have a huge pile of cd's that I have purchased and never even listened to in an effort to 'keep up' with all the new music. It begins to stress me out. I really think there is too much music, and it's one of the reasons I read blogs, it helps me decide what music to buy.

Tiana Feng said...

For sure we contribute a small way to short-termism, but sometimes that is because the little band hasn't released anything in a long time so they get forgotten about or they haven't been that active themselves.

There's so much new music out there, some blogs need to be reminded of your band and that's why I think it is important to have a personal relationship with some blogs so that they aren't forgotten, or that people don't stop writing for them because they become bigger and act like they don't need us any more.

My blog works both ways, I promote new music but I try to have ways where other people can rediscover great songs such as if they were in TV,Movies, commercials or post things I heard on indie/college radio that I have not talked about whether the song be new/old.

It really depends on the blog and how they work. Sometimes there's just so much music and great music that we don't know what to post/what not to because there's just so much you can post in one day.

Sam said...

I’m with Tiana with the "we contribute a small way to short-termism" that’s because we want to find the next best/big thing, that’s natural.
The most important thing we can do as bloggers is to keeping up-to-date with the music that attracted us in the first place, like what Breaking More Waves said. Not just to throw new bands away after like used condoms and think “oh my work here is done, I shouldn’t have to bother writing about them again”!
I think it’s our job to chase up on the bands we have blogged about. It’s paramount especially when we are talking about new music.

I only really started my blog in August and have been pretty lazy about it. But since doing it has seriously open my world to the people that work so hard to create the world I love so much. So thanks everyone for letting me express myself!