Over the last five years I’ve been a music blogger with three different blogs, numerous collaborations and tons of time spent deleting emails. In honest terms I’ve received little success from it, and find it an industry that’s easy to make a hobby but hard to make a living. Anybody can contribute a paragraph or two and immediately be labelled a “contributor” rather than a “writer”, which immediately pigeonholes those doing it for fun and those doing it with aspirations.
Smaller music blogs receive little to no pay for what they do, and considering the amount of planning, listening, writing and proofreading that goes into it, its little reward for a lot of work. Personally the reason I continue to do it is because of the emails from artists thanking me, or for the retweets/likes/follows they give to a review of mine. This little slice of gratitude goes a long way into helping me believe this is all worth it. However, one thing I’ve come to realise over the years is that the most difficult element of running a music blog is how little interaction there is between the creator and the reader. This is something that needs to change.
With so many excellent music blogs providing a loyal service to good music, it’s a shame to see how little comments they receive from readers. It’s disheartening in a way. To be unable to gage an idea of how certain reviews are received, or if it was worthwhile interviewing a particular artist makes it hard to know what kind of content we should continue to post on a regular basis.
For the unconvinced, there are numerous advantages in reading smaller music blogs. For starters, you’ll see honest opinions. Nobody’s paying for the creator to force an opinion about a particular record, so everything you read about it will be their genuine feelings on it. Because of this, it’ll be easier for you as the reader to leave your opinion on the record too via a comment or email, which in turn will spark some conversation with the creator and turn one review into a solid discussion on music. Somehow this notion of conversation gets lost frequently.
It’s also easier for artists to submit their music to the owners without having to adhere to certain rules and hope that it gets picked out of a hat. Personally speaking I’d gladly help out an artist if they’ve submitted their music in an email that’s genuinely addressed to me and not one that’s a simple copy + paste job presented to the masses. The lack of interaction we have with readers means that we’ll leech upon any email that mentions our name, which is…quite sad in a way.
This music blog gets updated with six pieces of new content each week, with reviews sprinkled with details of personal life or like the Liner Notes series in which I divulge in talking about myself to a possibly self-indulgent standard. Rarely these posts are met with comments and as mentioned before, it’s disheartening. Receiving little to no reaction each week begins to take its toll, and sometimes I’m left wondering “is it even worth it?” Engaging in conversation with an artist/fellow music blogger/music fan would make producing the content even more entertaining, but this is something that all across the internet is sorely lacking, especially with smaller music blogs.
While I’m grateful to receive views, the world would be a nicer place if we all started talking. If somebody commented on a particular review or said something about a featured artist or anything – even criticised the way I write – it’d offer much needed depth to the blog, and would make me feel assured knowing that there are people genuinely invested in reading the content.
It doesn’t have to be Youtube levels of comments – god forbid – but a simple thanks or a thought or two would go a long way in keeping smaller music blogs going. Support them, and they’ll continue to support your music library.
Other music bloggers, how do you feel on the matter? Music fans, do you find smaller music blogs helpful when it comes to discovering new music? Let me know below. Thank you.