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If you watch one thing today, make sure it's this: http://seaninsound.tumblr.com/post/540397305/1000timesyes
what came first, the human bullshit filter or the algorithm?
stumble over my stumbles. It's fun.
is music killing music?
is music music music?
Are search engines changing the way people discover music? Sure. But I don't think it's affecting music at large, people will still be making good music regardless of the internet and its capacity for change.
what about GREAT?
The only difference between good music and great music is the quality of the critic's thesaurus.
The question of search engines is immaterial. The provision of affordable instruments and music software, and the restoration of music teaching in the nation's schools to somewhere near the centre of the curricula back from its current place in the liberal arts 'Optional GCSE' ghetto - is of far greater importance.
...but that's another thread (and a clunky sentence).
Or 'excellent' or 'spectacular' or 'mindblowing', whichever adjective is most appropriate.
Fantastic music existed before the net, and will continue to persist regardless of its influence.
It's about people being able to access the tools/instruments/equipment needed to actually make music, and from the youngest age possible. The internet's certainly made it easier for anyone to get hold of any software for music creation.
and no-one says so, is it still a great record?
but if you're disillusioned and bored with the music you're listening to, it's probably not because of a widespread malaise in the music industry which means no GREAT music is getting made, it's just because you're listening to the boring stuff.
And the discussion's been had so many times before! No-one uses search-engines to find new music do they?
(I haven't watched the video, cause I'm listening to some good music instead)
today I've been listening to Refused.
and so far this year I've been obsessed with new albums from The Besnard Lakes, Uffie, LCD, the National, Blood Red Shoes, Broken Bells, A Sunny Day in Glasgow and heaps of other stuff. And there are STILL loads of great records due out.
So good music is still getting made.
To be fair, I was a being as little bit facetious but I suppose this whole angsty what's the state of music discussions, and some of your general posts just seem to be down on music, but that's just my perception, and if you're enjoying stuff great. As you sort of say, a bit below, a love of music is the most important thing right, and, whether it be yours or your staffs, or the communities, if that drives the site, tempered with a little bit of buisness acumen, then that's the most important thing, I guess.
But obviously, it's not as simple as that, and it's a hard job, so yeh, as jimi says, I like DiS and good luck with building it/continuing it further.
it's not about people finding music via search engines, it's about music websites/blogs posting things in order to get in the search engines and aggregators.
didn't have time before.
Chasing numbers is killing the music press more than music, making them all blur into one. I think a lot of music fans see it all as bullshit and can just see its websites playing a game. Others wont but you can't win them all.
I can see why you get annoyed with it, when you're fighting to get heard and shouting into the abyse half the time when you chat about something you feel pasionate about. I guess you just have to stick to your guns and do the best you can. With a site as big as DiS you prob have to play the game more and find a balance. Dunno what to suggest apart from saying good luck haha
ticked off with analytics
to see what the most out there country that read my blog is. Poland have become regulars along with Russia after being outsiders for a while. Big up the Indians too. Londoners love it as does Manchester, Irlam and Salford, BIG UP MANC CREW ALL AREAS and New York, Dublin, Leeds and Sydney!
I'm not as serrious as you about all this mind haha.
KILLING IT. HOW COULD YOU?????????????????
surely the guy's complaining cos its supposedly killing music writing not the actual music anyway.
Nice blog Sean! And The Decibel Tolls too.
*END OF OFF TOPIC*
Please change the font on your blog. It's really hard to read! Other than that - nice!
hrm, i'll take a look. it was the default font for that template.
can you do me a screen grab by any chance?
In general, sans-serif fonts are easier to read than serif ones on the net. The fonts chosen are also weird:
font-family:"Adobe Caslon Pro",Cambria,"Adobe Garamond Pro","Garamond",Georgia,"Times New Roman",Times,serif; Adobe Calson Pro and Adobe Garamond Pro are OTF not TTF font types so that may be why Windows isn't liking them as much. Cambria looks a lot clearer from a brief test so I'd remove the two Adobe ones, maybe.
gone for a different theme, how's this? http://seaninsound.tumblr.com/
i assumed that as this was one of the default templates tumblr had taken care of all of that and checked it was fine in most browsers :(
'Cause actually music is quite fine and healthy and really not in any danger of death. Just makes you sound a bit clueless.
so must be listening to the boring stuff. Where do I go from here? Will I discover some great music on a search engine....? Oh...
blogs are great
I don't think it's 'killing music' but I think it's true that there are far too many no-mark blogs out there (on every subject) with terrible writers but which can get massive viewing figures because they have the right SEO optimisation to make it work.
And yeah, he's right about some of the stuff being rubbish, such as the interviewing all SXSW bands thing. But before the net all the music press were happy to make something 'flavour of the week' because they wanted to be FIRSTIES! Look at The Strokes. Is this a band that would have really generated its own strong fanbase if the NME hadn't taken the time to try to make a 'scene' around them?
that NME.com is so much bigger than the magazine, 4million users a month or something (DiS gets an average of half a million a month) and yet, for all that SEO, they can't grow the magazine readership or turn people onto music via the website.
gigwise is similar, gets nearly double DiS' traffic due to running news stories on every tabloid tale of winehouse and doherty, runs galleries of every possible musical thing, and yet, it may be 'first' to report festival line-ups and the like, yet there's no real community clustering around the site, despite the numbers (and the numbers mean they're given stories to break). http://www.gigwise.com/forum/
the biggest irony, is that for the half a million people who wander through DiS per month, we've never had half a million people read any single article on the site. hell, we've only had a few articles or threads read by more than 150k people. live reviews of some acts can often get less than 1000 hits, often (back when we ran 30 things a day on Murdochs dollar) they were getting read by the same number of people who were at the gig (often just 100 people).
music "discovery" is such a myth. sites have a huge churnover of acts but offer no balls-on-the-line scarcity of THISSSSSSSS one. instead they show nearly all their findings.
often i want to give up and start something newer and truer to the mess we're in today. i'd wanna run just 1 thing per day, hell i'd like to just cover 1 new band a year, with the faith and knowledge that the ONE ACT or ONE ALBUM was worthy of your time. but without a constant churn of content, we'd lose readers and not get the traffic to fund the time it would take to explore until that 1 act was found. ironically my time is mostly taken up with dealing with advertising issues and things involving marketing the site, rather than searching for THE ONE (be that at the drive-in, bat for lashes, dan deacon or kaiser chiefs). maybe there isn't ONE ACT this year, maybe one only comes around every 5 years. what am i meant to do in the interim? say why the almost-somethings aren't or are nearly special?
we're at an all-you-can-eat buffet and i can't stomach the volume of choice of poor quality. i've never instantly fallen in love with anything that i adore today (Pinkerton and Fevers & Mirrors are prime examples, I hate both to begin with)
too long, didn't read? me either, apologies for all typos.
so it doesn't exactly need SEO to make it bigger. Poeple know the name and will go to it. If someone just did a Google for a piece on a given band and DiS was the first hit and NME the second then it's reasonable to assume they might click the NME over DiS purely because the NME is the brand they recognise in the real world and from the past.
Similarly, if Gigwise are running essentially tabloid journalism then it's not surprising they'd get a lot of hits. These are the stories people see in the headline of someone's Heat or Metro or whatever, and then Google. They're not after a community, they're after tabloid journalism.
How trusted are page hits? Places like NME are going to get a lot of traffic from google results, and people looking at their new results, but how many people who glance at the articles are going to stay to look at the badly-formatted, badly-reviewed, updated every-now-and-then review section. And as for gigwise, the last post in the music forum was 12 days ago, no-one returns there, like they do with DiS, and that is something to be proud about.
At the same time some of what you are saying is a great idea.
A review doesn't neccessarily bring a wider audience (especially with the way DiS is formatted whereby you only see the album title if you roll over the picture, and apart from recommended records sidebar (a good step) there's no way of sorting out the good and mediocre reviews) SO why not have more content focussing specifically on a band you love; maybe you don't have time to find them because you've loads of corporate stuff to do, but I'm sure your writers have loads of ideas - so what if 3billion people don't read them, it's a website about alternative music, how popular do you expect it to be?
This is what GOOD blogs DO DO despite what you repeatedly say about "ball-on-the-line scarcity" (not sure what that means.)
Maybe gorilla vs. bear is shit, but if you have a look down the links column of any good blog (there are probably few good threads about it), you'll find some proper blogs that do repeatedly focus on specific artists, and at the moment, they, rather than DiS, are setting the standard for music discovery, which is, in a way, a shame.
So, if you run DiS and you wish DiS focused more on individual acts, why not give a writer a ring, ask them who they're excited about then run some articles on them? Isn't it that simple?
1. i really love gorilla vs. bear, they're really consistent at picking the somewhat better stuff and they do repeatedly mention the things they love, which drives me to check them out.
2. by "ball-on-the-line scarcity" i mean sticking your neck out for something you truly believe in. i mean covering 1 new band a week, rather than 34. i mean picking 10 albums of the year, rather than 500. i mean not appeasing people with things you like and only celebrating the things you truly love.
3. i think DiS and all traditional 'journalism' is suffering. i've been aware of this for 5 years tho, maybe longer. which is why i started the label. i don't think writing about music really helps that much. i think MOST people (and by this, I mean a big enough volume to generate the kind of revenues which would pay for a few full-time salaries) want hand-delivered recommendations and little else. all killer, no filler.
4. it's rare that one of our writers emails me or tweets about something they absolutely love. it's also rare that anyone comes on here and starts a thread which basically goes "stop what you're doing and please take a second to listen to THIS because this is exceptional, there's a rare beauty/power to it which will blow your mind and this is why..." Partly this is because people who do this are usually spammers. Partly because you need a context for what people do like to pay attention. I've tried doing this a few times when I've found things and have had zero replies (the Besnard Lakes thread took weeks to get over 30 replies but i kept bumping it!), whereas a thread about the new Kate Nash album is topical and gets read and reacted to.
4. DiS needs to be overhauled. It needs to be ripped up and started again. The problem is, most people like it the way it is, it serves a purpose and satisfies their needs. It serves some of what PR people and labels want from us and it has become known for being an irreverent source of conversation, news and informed reviews. Personally I think what it was in 2003 was bang on, it just hasn't really shifted with the times, mostly because it was doing fine. I'm not sure I can spend my life on something that is "fine" or "good" or "satisfactory".
I do believe in journalism. I do believe criticism is important. I do believe in what DiS is and has been but I don't believe it's future-proof, and I've spent the past 2 years trying to formulate the plan of what DiS will look like and what music consumption/recommendation will be like in 5-10 years time. Meanwhile, I've got heaps of day-to-day stuff to do, PR people to appease (I don't know why I bother and I'm not very good at being "nice") and thousands of emails to wade through/delete.
I keep asking myself, what would Malcolm Mclaren/Tony Wilson/Richard Meltzer/Tyler Durden do? Until I find the elixir, things will carry on as they are. Probably.
I guess a lot of that is for you to work out for yourself, maybe on holiday with a glass of wine and a good book, rather than in micro-discussions in little boxes that don't ever seem to get that far.
One idea though... a band of the week/month type thing - get a writer to choose, do an interview, review then leave them on the frontpage all week? Maybe if this became an option, you'd start to get more people contacting you about great bands, they probably won't if it they don't think it'll go anywhere. Obviously, I can't speak for them, but there are a number of writers who use the boards to start "I love this..." type threads. Obv. he's not a writer but look at Jimi's James Blake one thats on 125 replies or something.
Maybe that wouldn't work, maybe you don't like it, but I'd be surprised if there's no motivation for more writer-led/band-specific articles from your staff.
As for Gorilla vs. Bear, yep fine, I just used that as an example of a famous indie-centric blog, I don't look at it, and if it is good, then that's good to hear, good for it.
The idea of a featured artist that's up there for a while - maybe artist of the month? - provides a really good opportunity for individuals to talk about new stuff they REALLY care about, and hopefully to tie some discussion into that.
i think if a writer/user makes a thread raving about a release people will pay attention. when i put up this; http://drownedinsound.com/community/boards/music/4209027 mutyumus weekly plays per song went from 70 to around 500, and crablins posts about volcano! probably got as many people into them as his review did.
I'd not really bothered with DiS before that, just found it in a google session when I was tryin to find out about a shit band for a girlfriend at the time.
I'm always disapointed whenever I've seen crab post since though he's not done it for ages mind... But it turns out Volcano! was his only good recomendation and he just makes bad jokes and rubbish atempts at abuse the rest of the time on here :( major prong...
he only ever seems to bang on about los campesinos, fancy phone apps and xbox online. he's not the worst though
on the music board but soon after I joined he was all about abusing people and being a dickhead. I've only caught him on the social board a couple of times since doing as you say. He use to edit though didn't he? and his Volcano! review got me interested in DiS and the band.
he was 'technically' editor whilst i was busy running the label, before Mike Diver started full-time. he didn't write all that much but we did the infamous podcast together.
It's not an exclusive phenomenon to music, though it does have some different consequences, but shit, things change. It's like sensationalism in the newspapers or selectively choosing which stories to run and what not, it's a cynical game really.
as people can find more music themselves than in previous times, withuot reliance upon some punter writing stuff about music in subjective terms.
So, as has been stated above, music is fine, will continue to be fine, the usual routes and roles associated with the music industry are all that is in danger. This will not harm the creative process involved in making music regardless of sunjective quality.
people hate gatekeepers because some of them were terrible and weren't some kind of personalized service. people hated the likes of Swells for Daphne & Celeste.
people would rather trust technology than humans because that is what we've been taught to believe.
relationship with the death of music and creativity than any search engine or P2P service.
But the point about gatekeepers is still valid. With the clamouring voices desperate to be heard/read on the internet, the traditional role of the gatekeeper has been devalued to a certain degree.
But there has and to an extent will always be respected voices recommending new music, championing the creative, searching out lost gems and those voices will be remembered and their opinions will be 'followed' by a number of people as that's what they know and trust.
Besides, it may not be that we are taught to respect tech more than humans, it may just be a matter of straight 'factual' list versus paragraphs of subjective text (some of it particularly badly written). A cultural shift towards "tl;dr".
(patiently waits for the reply of tl;dr)
but it's even more depressing when you write something you're really proud of, that the few people who've read it have spread it around and raved about it to you (and to be honest, i usually get hate for what I write, which is why I don't write that often) but then a thread with a sensationalist title which took two seconds to start ends up getting more traffic.
and yes, the title of this thread was sarcastic - got a feeling some of you have taken it srsly?!
that guy was speaking as if he's talking about REVOLUTION & conquering Europe. he's speaking about music blogs. guy needs some perspective, yo.
there job is basically to get companies no one give a crap about to the top of search results for various key words by creating thousands of reference and links to the sites on the internet.
Its basically the start of the destruction of the search engines hence google keep changing its rules to try and stop em.
i think we'll end up with 2 tiers soon or some kinda without and with ads thing. ala bbc itv.
a "Recommended Music" is a pretty best-of-both-worlds feature, huh?
Like...People kinda know whose opinions they trust. Like a Rough Trade "Staff Picks", by contributor with links to their reviews.
This already probably happens huh?
i'm on a lot of painkillers today after root canal which went wrong and had to have the tooth out so i apologise if anything i've said doesn't make much sense.
the present progressive tense is fucking well killing me.
To put it another way, if search engines — which have been around for a few years now — haven't *already killed* music, then the answer to your question is "no".
Have search engines played a part in transforming the ways in which people access music, thereby also having an impact on the kinds of music that gets produced and on the ways in which it is distributed, promoted and consumed? Quite probably.
Scrawled in melting vinyl on the wall were the words 'Google wos here'.
So, yes, yes they are.
The DEB was ready was being forged to please the entertainment industry until the government realised that Google is well..bigger than all of them put together so are leaving them alone.
So officially. No.
The guy was so friggin' sad he basically made fun of himself. He was too busy being mad that he's not making a profit off the discovery of music anymore to join in the fun of finding great new music on the web, so thusly he thinks music is "dying" or some bullshit nonsense. I liked that video better because the dude explained why his existence is irrelevant much better than I ever could (the video was on Hipster Runoff). The idea that people only look for what's familiar on the web is a total fucking fallacy. I for one eagerly await the death of music journalism.
I had some great new music on too loud to notice, and I wasn't looking at the video. I rest my case.
He's a whiny bitch. And anyone who writes for fucking Rolling Stone shouldn't be paid attention to anyway.
I'm surprised that no-one else has mentioned the surface level point that he seems to be quite an irritating person.
or fanfiction sites?
the e-reader hasn't had the iPod moment yet... got a feeling the p2p of e-books is on the rise. heard an interesting debate between the guy who runs penguin and a journalist from the FT about this. they're trying to learn by the music industries mistakes.
Books are a bit like vinyl, in that Borders was a bit like Tower Records / Virgin Megastores - although it seems easier to blame Amazon, rather than consider the fact there's less of an interest in reading (but on the otherhand, there's Harry Potter, Twilight, etc masking the problem in the same way Michael Jackson covered up the music biz's woes before labels got away with reselling their entire catalogue on CD)
I kill a song a day
I put a song onto a tape
And I give that tape away
And the tape gets passed around
And it's on twenty cassettes
And my friends, they all save money
Spend it all on cigarettes *cough cough cough*
So, as well as killing music
I'm also killing them
And all my compilation tapes
Are just sitting in heaven.
It's ten times worse for writers than bands losing some revenue to file sharing.
But as a music fan who can bounce around and check out so much stuff: 1MM times easier and cheaper than it used to be...Weingarten comes off as sour grapes that he's not the gatekeeper anymore. The BSS song is really really good...and Rolling Stone, the mag you write for I guess, has sucked for ... for ever... and weren't you the guy who did the Twitter 1000 record thing? With all due respect to you Sean, you wasted five minutes of my day.
I like how he completely skips over how the traditional 'music press' and its advertising drive have contributed to the current music landscape.
Anyway, hypem's Zoya Feldman has posted a reply-of-sorts: http://catslock.com/post/541381795/on-music-journalism
Are today's youth taxing Nick Clegg
No more checking bands out on the interweb and playing singles for free on hypemachine, or for 0.0000000000000000000000085p on Spotify. I'm quite happy to go back to the good old days of imagining if an album priced near the £20 mark is worth the money based on no more than the cover artwork and song titles or maybe calling a premium line to hear a 1 minute excerpt of a new single, or hoping against hope that the radio might actually play the songs I like instead of glossy unit-shifting pop.
I buy more music now than ever before precisely because I can access it far easier than I was as a (gullible) kid. Whether 'free music' is killing traditional musical careers and music outlets rather than music itself is probably a more valid argument - in about 10 years time we'll most likely be streaming everything - films, music, console games - and whole chains like HMV or Blockbusters will have to radically rethink how they do business.
is that it wasn't meant for people who are active music fans like us. it's the slightly more removed music fans who are into music but not as knowledgeable (or not as time rich, mebbe).
anyway. i think people are mis-reading some of my sarcasm too.
i love the internet and hate it in equal measure. i just think 2.0 evangelists are often a mixture of short-sighted and self-serving or self-interest, as a lot of this stuff is great for individuals like us and nerds but not that great for the average music fan or music which has the potential to crossover. i know most people hear don't care about music crossing over (but the reality is most bands need to get to a certain level to be able to be a professional musician or get their label to fund their next album, etc...)
anyway, it's friday night...
The internet is a grey area, both terrible for the limited future of the existing music industry, and wonderful for the progression of music as an art form.
is the lamest phrase ever. it makes me almost as angry (but not quite) as when people use 'yr' in place of 'your/you're'
i was using it sarcastically, innit.