Monday 11 April 2016

Why Do I (And Maybe You) Love New Music?

At the back end of last year I posted about some changes on the blog, which in summary amounted to making Breaking More Waves more personal, dropping the royal ‘we’ and using the word ‘I’ in my posts, plus losing the focus on new music and writing about whatever the hell I wanted. 

Truth be told, I’d got a little bored, not with new music, but writing about it constantly. I felt that I was repeating myself over and over again. Not only that, but some of the more conceptual ideas that I used as a loose and occasional thread running through the blog (such as my argument that rock music had become like folk music and reached middle age in terms of new ideas, or my over use of the word ‘sexy’ all the time to demonstrate just actually how unsexy ‘sexiness’ could be when there was too much of it) had run out of steam and were often ignored or misunderstood by readers.

Now here I am nearly halfway through April, and a quick review of this years' posts and my promise of ‘less posts, with more variation in what they cover’ has only half delivered. There were less posts. A few were more personal in tone, but in terms of output, new music still makes up 95% of what I’m writing about. Of course ultimately this blog is my personal baby, so I can do what the f*ck I want with it, and if new music is grabbing me hard right now, then that’s what I’ll cover.

But my question (and the point of this unedited waffle) is….why do so many blogs (including mine) post about new music?

Why is ‘discovery’ such an attraction for people like me who write about music on the internet? 

After all, it really isn’t for the average person on the street. Joe Average would rather listen to Adele or Coldplay again than some new-fangled singer they’d never heard of. They'd prefer go to 1 gig a year at the O2 for £75 rather than risk paying £10 to see 3 new acts in a small club venue. I've seen enough evidence of that over the years to believe that to be true. 

But I’m not like that. I saw Coldplay in front of just over 100 people at the Joiners Arms in Southampton where they were second on the bill (supporting Terris) - they were great. I told my girlfriend after that I'd eat my hat if they weren't selling out stadiums in a few years time. I still have the hat. Ditto Adele – for £5 in a pub in Brighton. At Coldplay I really struggled to find anyone to come along with me. “Nah, never heard of ‘em Robin,” was the response.

And why does it have to be discovery of the latest thing rather than say personal discoveries of older records? Is it because writing about new music is actually easier and less time consuming, as there’s less context and history to consider, and in these hyper-speed days of the web nobody wants to spend too much time on any one thing in case they’re missing out on something else? Certainly the state of professional journalism would suggest so. Today I read an article on the NME website that was 100% copied and pasted from the press release. I know because I received the press release as well. If that's the state of journalism, why do we even need journalists? But I digress...

Or is it because music bloggers are like adulterers, constantly unsatisfied with what they’ve already got or had, constantly seeking out new thrills from something they haven’t had before? Even better if nobody else got there first?

I’m still trying to work this out. My brain seems to be wired differently to Joe Average. For me the new is often more thrilling than the old. But I’m still not sure why that is and if it’s a good or bad thing.

I guess the only way to find out is write more about the old and see how I feel after that.


Scryst said...

Here's a related post that you and readers of this post might like to read

Does anyone even care about music discovery?

I'd be interested to know how many times you listen to any one particular song or album?

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

To answer the question, it really varies. My album of the year lists at the end of the year are partly calculated by how many times I've listened to a record (the basic idea being if its one I keep coming back to it's worthwhile recommending in an end of year list). Last year my number one record of the year I played on average three times a week. Of course streaming makes it even easier to listen to everything less - there's always something else new to listen to. And yes, I'm sure there are great records and songs that I listened to once and discarded.

As a blogger, writing about a song, I will always listen several times to a song before posting.

Interesting article link - thanks.

Anonymous said...

A lot of new music bloggers do it because they want to work in the record industry because they think its a 'cool plac'e to work or be a journalist and they think writing a new music blog is a way in to show how 'cool' they are at 'discovery' or to showcase their 'great writing skills'.