19 June 2006

Cogitation: Music Blogging

So having read this a while ago, and thinking about what Connor had to say about how fast the music blog cycle is from up-and-coming to universally gushed-over to gone; that made me start thinking--what's the point of a music blog? Why do we do this?

Most of the well-known music blogs are primarily about what's new and cool--either new bands, or the favorites plus the new at festivals, or show dates.

Resources are a question, of course--a lot of the big music bloggers (I say that advisedly, knowing it's a small pond) have professional connections in the music business, or have been around long enough and have high enough readerships that they've got an inside track on what's new and good: bands send them samples, they go to a whole lotta shows, that kind of thing. They're best suited to advising the rest of us on new cool music, because they've got the resources to comb through lots of it.

The downside of these blogs is that that's usually all they do. When's the last time Stereogum reaaaaaaally went batty over a band that's been around a while? What about You Ain't No Picasso getting all riled up about something that wasn't a festival or a new, obscure band? Rediscovering somebody that doesn't actually record any more? Talking about an old classic or their influence on the new stuff? The blogs that are best at covering what's new and good are most myopically focused on it; so if you get all your music pointers from them, you spend your music-listening time running from one next-hottest-thing to the next.

Not to bash new music--I love finding new music that really lights my fire. But the reason I love it is basically that they give me more salty good musicness--and obscure bands with smallish followings are more likely to give shows in the small venues I like to frequent. Obviously I don't have the resources or the motivation to be a new-music-finder blog; so what'm I doing, then?

It's a simple and boring answer, really. For myself, I like keeping notes of what I think of music; it helps me conceptualize and remember my impressions more strongly. If anybody else finds it and has something to say about it, that's a cool thing, too; dialogue can do the same thing as writing. That's part.

I appreciate the odd song from interesting artists that mp3 blogs (as neophile as they may be) provide, and some songs are just hard to find (viz. to wit., Ben Taylor's cover of Mos Def's Favorite Nitemare), so those I try to spread the love a little. That's part, too.

I'd love to find some music blogs that had a somewhat more historical outlook: somebody who wrote about White Whale and Johnny Lee Hooker. They've gotta be out there somewhere, don't they? I'm trying to write the music conversation I'd want to find. That's probably the biggest part.


uwmryan said...

Interesting take, and I agree with you for the most part. Perhaps you should take the reins on that. I think it's something that isn't touched on a lot.


Queen of Sheba said...

Yeah, it doesn't get much blogtime; I'm still trying to figure out how to work the history in, though.

Squashed said...

Most I think is resource limitation.

- high traffic blog needs to process a lot of material (incoming promo CD, keeping up with happenings, all while maintaining posting pace) Yes there is that romantic idealism about only posting "really good" stuff. But regular update often doesn't give a person a lot of time to contemplate work for a long time. (Imagine posting about an album a day. that means listening, contextualizing, doing mechanics of postings, and follow up. And that's just an album review, not something more complicated, like historical research, fancy thematic idea, etc)

- Musical knowledge. Most bloggers aren't music historians or musicians themselves. (Only a handfull on the scene really)

Yeah a nice elaborate post is nice. But it's very hard to post that sort of thing every day.