One of the Already Heard team shared this with the team earlier today and I thought it was a good, sensible read that brought up some good points.
The point about blogs/sites producing quick and short news post is something I see daily, and it frustrates me. They’re often far too brief and lack really substance, and are merely there to produce instant content that readers can easily share, which in turn increases advertisers revenue; as explained in the above link.
In the so-called “scene” I follow online and the sites I have on my Google Reader, the content produced is far too similar from one site to the next. As much as I like some of the bands being mentioned on these sites, I get bored reading about them. Bands become over-exposed. Do we really need dozens of sites writing briefly about a tweet, a band member hinted about a possible, unannounced tour that will probably happen soon?
As for “underground” blogs featuring mainstream bands, I think it’s a case of advertisers pushing for more “accessible” bands/artists to gain more revenue. I guess in some ways it is like publishers pushing for popular bands to be on magazines covers to gain more sales.
As for us folk at Already Heard, we don’t receive any advertising revenue. The ad space is there and we do occasionally mention it, but in this economic climate not everyone can put aside a couple of quid to advertise their independent release on a relatively small website.
And due to the music and genre’s we often cover; I’d say 97% of our content is anything but “mainstream,” we don’t attract the numbers to gain advertisers. However me and the Already Heard team are fine about that.
I’m sure someone will pick up on the point that Already Heard does include dozens of aforementioned brief news stories, however that’s just the nature of our “scene” and news plays a role in growing our readership and our name.
We’re not here to make money; if we were I’m sure you’d see us writing about more “mainstream” bands, we’re here to write about music and bands we love and want our readership, however small it is, to know about them. And we try our hardest by producing quality, detailed content.
Is online advertising killing music journalism? Not quite but it’s helping it evolve to an unfortunate state where sites have to “be first” and pander to readers’ need for every last bit of info as quickly and as briefly as possible.
“Fives” is a feature that we started off late last year, and in some ways sees the site continuing it’s retrospective/nostalgic approach. This is (kinda) why we’re going to be alternating “Fives and our “Versus” every Wednesday.
This week me and the four other Already Heard writers decided to pick out our favourite “emo” albums of the 90’s. I picked Sunny Day Real Estate’s ‘Diary.’
If I remember correctly, its one of many albums I discovered from reading a book called ‘Nothing Feels Good’ by Andy Greenwald. Go and read the full feature for my thoughts on the album.
Over the past few months, Mikey (AH Assistant Editor) has been working his ass off working and processing a load of new video content. This is one of the live performance videos, something that we’re planning more this year.
Housefires’ vocalist Dan Callis and drummer Nate Goodridge are playing their final show tomorrow, so we thought it’d be an ideal time to post this video and launch the “Already Heard Live” portion of our site.
As you may have seen, the new music website I’ve been working announced it’s new name earlier today.
The site is called Already Heard* and will be fully launching in the coming months. The reason we haven’t fully launched the site is for two reasons; the final design/layout is still being worked on and secondly, we wanted to have plenty of original content prepared for when the site is fully live.
From my perspective what is the point of having a site that looks great, if the content is pointless, right? So that’s what me and the rest of the Already Heard team are doing; making content and by content I just don’t mean your usual music webzine/website/blog stuff; reviews, interviews, news.
I’ll admit the latter will be part of AlreadyHeard.com but one of our main aims is to produce original content that is interesting, engaging and possibly even thought-provoking.
That’s not saying news won’t be part of the site. In this day and age of social media and the internet etc, people want news and information instantaneously, and Already Heard will be posting news but we know there’s tons and tons of sites out there covering the same stories etc. That’s why our aim is to put emphasis on original content.
If you know me, thanks for your support and I hope my words above haven’t put you off from continuing your support and interest in AlreadyHeard.com, and if you don’t know me, then thanks for reading and I hope you will support the site in the coming months.
For me, today is a big, positive step forward. One that leaves me feeling hopeful for what is to come. I hope you’re excited as me and the rest of the AH team are.
If you’re in a band, run a label or are generally interested in working with AlreadyHeard.com, send me an e-mail: email@example.com
*Yes the name is influenced by Brand New, but I think the name has a nice sound to it.
^I forgot to mention above the fact that the site will be producing video content. We’ll using Youtube/Vimeo, so users/readers/viewers can easily share that content.
Apologies if this is a little incoherent. It’s just one of those “blogs” where I just write whatever comes to mind.
This evening I started talking to a member from a fairly unknown, unsigned band that I’m Facebook friends with. After the pleasantries; how are you, how’s the band and so forth, my friend said being unsigned “sucked” and that it’s tough to get noticed in a sea of bands. The latter fact is something I regularly believe in.
I often think the internet has been good for smaller bands, as it has helped them get noticed but the downside to that, is that there’s too many bands wanting to get noticed, and the end result it that it’s hard to pick out the good from the bad, and some bands with great potential just get forgotten about.
As for being unsigned, I questioned if a label was needed. I think depending on the bands aims and work ethic, they don’t necessarily need a label. The band I was talking with are dedicated; released an EP last year, recently recorded some new songs and are aiming to record a full-length later this year.
They’re also open to have feedback, good or bad. Again this is something I think is essential and I respect. There are some bands who don’t listen to feedback (from fans and critics) and tend to stick to what they know or even adapt to whatever sound/style/trend is currently popular. This is something I don’t like. I find bands like that false and not true to themselves.
If you were involved in the music industry and had the chance to work with either a hard working, determined band or a trend-following band with a potential short shelf-life, which would you go for?
However as I discussed with my friend, bands who tend to follow trends (and in some cases quickly signed by labels) are often (quickly) forgot about.
This brief discussion reminded me of a feature I did last year; ‘How To Promote Your Band The Right Way.’ I liked putting this article together. I thought it’d be ideal to have different people from different areas of the music industry. I also felt I covered a wide-range of topics that may or may not help a band promote themselves; online, offline, playing live, free downloading, social networking etc.
My aim for that feature was to give some sort of guide and advice on how bands can promote themselves. I see some bands who tend to focus on some areas more than others. For example some ridiculously over-use social networking sites; Facebook is the be all and end all of the internet.
If I had the chance to sign a band or work with a band in some capacity, I would want that band to be honest, hard-working, with realistic aims; trust me I’ve seen enough press releases or band bios claiming to be the next whatever - I find it off-putting and kinda stupid really. I also like to see bands who are organised; however big or small your band is - put together a “press kit” (bio, links, facts etc) not just a Facebook link, it makes you look lazy.
If you’re a band or artist who are all the above (honest, hard-working, dedicated, realistic and organised) then you’ll have mine and I’m sure plenty of others respect.
Over the past few weeks I’ve spotted a few articles online stating guitar music is on the decline, and you know what? It’s a big fat fucking lie!
It annoys me that publications like The Guardian tend to assume that because guitar-based bands aren’t selling tons of records, they’re on the decline. Admittedly rock music and it’s several thousands of sub-genres isn’t setting the charts alight; especially the singles charts (but who buys singles these days anyway besides the general commercial radio listener.) Whilst the album charts is in a similar position, although this week’s Top 10 includes releases from Kasabian, The Vaccines, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Enter Shikari are current at number 1 in the midweek chart.
Although sales of guitar bands isn’t brilliant, I think articles like the Guardian’s and comments Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick Hodgson tend to forget guitar bands are doing better in the live music market.
Like I said in a similar article on Alter The Press last year, the number of festivals is vast; although last year some suffered and were ultimately cancelled, but nevertheless the sheer range of festivals in the UK alone shows that guitar music is alive. Whilst a quick look at any venue or ticket websites shows there are a range of bands touring, often multiple times a year.
Away from the live music area, guitar bands are still receiving airplay on daytime radio; at present The Black Keys and Twin Atlantic are on BBC Radio One’s daytime A-List, whilst Pulled Apart by Horses and Band of Skulls are on rotation.
So there you have it; guitar bands are still selling records, still touring, and still receiving airplay.
Is guitar music dead? No you’re just tied up in hyping the likes of Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran to take any notice.
Why is it on hiatus I hear you ask? Basically we’re going through a re-branding stage and I guess in some ways starting over.
When I started PCTS Music in September, I wanted to see if I could start something off by myself, and thanks to a shit load of help and support from Michael Brown, we’re done ok for ourselves. We feel confident enough to take this site forward, making it better and so forth.
We’re in the early stages of putting together the new site. We’re working with some exceptional and enthusiastic people, who (I think) want to push the new PCTS Music forward.
Although I can’t give any date of when the new site will be launched, I hope you’re willing to be patient and continue to support us and PCTS as we go into 2012.
If you’re a band, label, PR agency or just someone who is interested in working with PCTS Music, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personally I agree with the fact that way 'breaking news' is done has evolved and that is affecting magazine and newspaper publishers. Although some of them are embracing online media (credit goes to NME and Rock Sound magazine).
As writer for a music website; I don't consider myself a journalist or blogger nor do I label Alter The Press! as a blog, I am all for online music news reporting as I often believe and say that we live in an "instant society", as growths in technology and the media has enabled us to have information at our disposal whenever we want it. In the year 2010, we as people want information and we want it now!
Thankfully with online media and social networking sites, this is possible. Just look at the story of when Michael Jackson died last June. Web traffic overall was 20% higher than normal, simply because people wanted news there and then.
However as the Alternative Press piece states, reporting news instantly can have it flaws (trust me I would know). Errors, inaccurate and false information are common mistakes but these soon can be rectified at a click of a button.
The effects are summed up in the article by Jerry Graham of Warm Fuzzy Publicity:
The internet "brings amazing and new possibilities for promoting record releases and tour dates. However, because of this, we are sadly watching music magazines and television channels go out of business. People want their music news now, and they want it for free."
For several years now the internet has both helped and hindered the music industry. Nevertheless Graham is right when music sites can help a band in some form or another. I can think of several bands who would be nothing, if it wasn't for there constant appearances on sites like AbsolutePunk.net and attractive MySpace page.
I remember listening to one of Alternative Press's podcast interviews. AP founder Mike Shea was speaking to Francesca Caldara (Equal Vision publicist), who made a valid point for music sites/blogs which was along the lines of that, only 15 or so people may read an interview with a band on some site but they may go on to buy that album, go to a show, link the interview elsewhere etc, and on the whole have an affect on that bands career, whether it be big or small.
Again like the above article states, the growth of music blogs/sites can be competitive (again I would know) and it is great when you (think) you're the first to report a story. However I personally dislike sites like SupJustin, as the majority of the time they are merely speculating or reporting gossip/rumours. I'll admit that AlterThePress.com does re-post these stories, but we always a.) link to the original source and b.) label it as a rumour. In some way sites like them are like tabloids; founded on rumour, gossip and slander.
On a personal end note, I hope Alter The Press is considered by some as a credible source, and I know we can't win everyone over, as at the end of the day we're just one of hundreds and thousands news reporting websites/blogs in a battle against numerous Goliaths.
For quite awhile now I've started to notice that some genres/bands that image has become more important that the actual music.
Obvious example are the 'crunkcore' acts like BrokenCYDE, Dot Dot Curve etc, whose lyrical content and musical "ability" is little to none. I mean come on, using a software like Garageband or Reason is quite impressive but anyone can do it, just look at the aforementioned bands.
So why has image become so important?
Is it need to get attention?
Is it done so people remember them?
Is it to distract their lack of musical talent?
But what about the bands that have good songs?
Do they need to conform to a certain image?
Why can't they just let music speak for itself?
Take a band like Hit The Lights.
During the promotion of there first album "This Is a Stick Up... Don't Make It a Murder", they were just your normal Pop Punk band with a normal look and artwork.
Fast forward to 2008 and the bands 2nd album "Skip School, Start Fights" and you're blinded with bright colours and merchandise.
Why the change? Ok its not the best album but its still pretty good but there was still no reason to change something that worked so well before.
Another example I have is a band who have recently been signed to Standy Records. The band is Vice on Victory.
This is what they look like before they were signed:
This is how they look now and after they were signed:
Why the change?
Is it because they want to attract a certain audience?
The answer I think is more likely then yes.
Basically I think what I'm trying to say to any musicians (and anyone else) is why do you have to have a certain "look" to be acceptted? Can't you just be yourself and let your music get you the attention and not your haircut etc.
Just look at the credible bands that AP.net praises like Brand New, Thursday, Manchester Orchestra etc.
Ok I'll admit those bands music are different to those of mentioned earlier but they don't mould themselves into an image that distracts them from there music.
This is what I posted as part of my End of Year List for forthesound.com but with a few added extras.
Top 20 Albums
20. The Academy Is… - Fast Times At Barrington High
19. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
18. This Will Destroy You – This Will Destroy You
17. Lights – Lights EP
16. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
15. Kyte – Two Sparks, Two Stars
14. Fall Out Boy - Folie a Deux
13. Arrows – Modern Art and Politics
12. Thursday/Envy – Split EP
11. Coldplay – Viva La Death and All His Friends
10. The Morning Of – The World As We Know It
9. City and Colour – Bring Me Your Love
8. Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger
7. Hey Monday – Hold On Tight
6. Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
5. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
4. Forgive Durden – Razia’s Shadow: A Musical
3. Portman – From Here To Your Eyes and Ears
2. Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind of Cadwallader
1. Valencia – We All Need A Reason To Believe
Biggest Let-downs:(In No Order)
Panic At The Disco – Pretty. Odd
Alkaline Trio – Agony and Irony
Sigur Rós - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
PlayRadioPlay! - Texas
Weezer – Weezer
The Maine - Can't Stop, Won't Stop
Best Songs:(In No Order)
Panic At The Disco -Nine In The Afternoon
MGMT – Time To Pretend
Thursday – As He Climbed The Mountain
City & Colour – Sleeping Sickness
Hit The Lights – Stay Out
Valencia – Holiday
Anthony Green – Dear Child (I’ve Been Dying To Reach You)
Tyga – Press 7
Death In The Park – Fallen (featuring Hayley Willams)
Hey Monday – How You Love Me Now
Forgive Durden – The Oracle (Featruing Danny Stevens)
Hawthorne Heights- Rescue Me
Fall Out Boy – America’s Suitehearts
The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
The Cab - Bounce
City & Colour – Sleeping Sickness
Soon To Be Famous:
I can see Hey Monday probably getting pretty big next year.
Recommended for 2009:
Death In The Park
The Return of The Get Up Kids
Albums to Look Forward to:
New Found Glory
Imogen Heap, Manchester Orchestra
Bands that will be missed:
The Starting Line
Game to Look Forward to:
Randy Orton to win the Royal Rumble
Favorite Football Moment:
Nottingham Forest getting to promoted to the Coca-Cola Championship