The Lack of Support for Smaller Music Blogs | and Why It Should Change

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.

20 comments on “The Lack of Support for Smaller Music Blogs | and Why It Should Change

  1. Adam, you and I have spoken about these issues before, and I agree with you 100% – except I’ve never made a penny from blogging. (Do you actually earn any $$?) I try to read most of your blog posts, and always hit the ‘like’ button to let you know I did so, as well leave a comment when I’m especially moved by the review or the music itself. But I realize that others only hit ‘like’ if they like the music, not necessarily the quality of the post itself, but how will we know people looked at our posts if they don’t comment or like? We’re left guessing, wondering if anyone at all connected with the post we may have spend hours writing, after spending time listening to the artist’s music and doing some background research about them. But, I’ve had even a few music bloggers tell me they’re overwhelmed and don’t have the time to read posts about artists they know nothing about. Sigh…

    Now that I have over 90 followers, all my blog posts receive at least a few likes, but only a couple of other bloggers or personal friends ever leave comments. As you state, I’ve noticed that this is true for many music blogs, though there are a few I follow that get tons of likes and comments on every single post. What continues to amaze me are the huge number of likes and comments other non-music blogs receive, often 50-150! Some of them for a post of only a pretty photo, short poem, or chit chat about whatever. I don’t mean to downplay the efforts those bloggers put into their blog posts, but I know the hours you, I and other music bloggers sometimes spend writing reviews, and it would be nice to receive a little more acknowledgement. As an example, I honestly hoped and perhaps expected that my Top 100 Songs of 2016 post that I spent many hours on would receive a lot of comments but, unfortunately, it did not, which was disheartening.

    Like you, I get pleasure and the encouragement to keep at this by the love and gratitude we receive from most – though not all – of the musicians and artists we review. It’s such a high when a post or review picks up 100 or more views, sometimes when you least expect it. You are a fantastic blogger and wonderful writer, Adam. I
    enjoy reading your reviews and posts immensely, so know that you have a huge fan in me.

    • First of all Jeff, thank you so much for laying down some thoughts on this topic. You and I are pretty similar (as we are to numerous music bloggers) in that we experience the same thing, and definitely feel like it’s something that needs to be addressed. I always appreciate all of the likes and comments you leave on the posts, and feel bad that I do not reciprocate it nearly as much as I should. I think EML is a superb music blog and do make sure to read everything you talk about when I have the time. As you mentioned, I find it difficult to sit down and check out a few of the music blogs I follow/talk to often online, but maybe this is something that could help bring the change? All of us bloggers gathering together to support one another could initiate other readers into leaving a comment too.

      Who knows. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment however, it brought up many points that certainly solidifies what it’s like to have a music blog as a hobby. Much appreciated mate!

  2. Adam, this is fantastic! Don’t know why you were so hesitant on posting this because it needed to be said. Bloggers need to speak up. I’ve been at this for five years myself and I started to reach my burnout point about a year ago. When I discovered your stuff last summer and your mission to keep it kind like we do at The Daily Listening, I knew I had to have you on my team. Unfortunately, as much as fellow bloggers may support each other, it’s the support from the fans of the artists we write about and their teams that helps gets this machine going. I’m tired of working my butt off on a feature when I’m already run down to begin with to have PR and the band ignore it completely. Something needs to be done and I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    • Tina you’re the best. Thank you so much! I’ve always looked up to you as somebody who’s further along to “making it” so this is much appreciated. Much like Jeff, you’re exactly right on this situation. Us bloggers often live the same lives with our blogs and maybe we should be responsible for making change happen.

      It saddens me to hear that you’re at the burnt out stage, but it’s not a surprise considering how isolated a hobby writing about music is. For instance I have to dedicate a solid day of my weekend to writing/proof reading/listening/scheduling which could take anything from 3-5 hours depending on motivation, and it sucks to prepare all of that content for the week and receive little input from readers. It’s a shame, Hopefully something productive can come from all this togetherness though.

  3. I absolutely loved this piece. I only just started blogging, but I’d still have to totally agree with what you are saying. I feel like part of the problem is that people are often not too keen on giving new music a chance — many like to just stick with what they know, whether it’s one particular genre or just the music on the radio in general. Either way, your writing is wonderful, please keep it up!

    • Kayla, thank you so much for commenting! It’s interesting that you feel the same way despite only just getting into the blogging game. How are you finding it so far? I really like the look of your blog, and think your writing is superb! Keep it up! Despite everything said in the post there are some worthwhile perks to it.

      I think you’re right with what you say. I’ve had to change up how I schedule things so particular releases are reviewed pretty soon after release date, or I pair up a review I know won’t get much attention with a review I know will get shared by the band etc. It’s a cruel relationship of us constantly persuading listeners to check out something and the readers often rejecting it. Again, this is something that could easily be sorted by comments or likes, but it’s just something that goes missing throughout.

      • First of all, that means so much to me that you went and checked my blog out, thank you so so so much!!! Overall, I’ve definitely had a good experience starting this thing up, especially since I honestly didn’t think ANYBODY would be reading it. I’m glad to be able to say that I am starting to get familiar with WordPress, and being able to connect with other bloggers to read and share material has been really cool. At this point I’m really just experimenting to see what is more effective in gaining readers, and like the other people were commenting, sharing on social media has been most successful so far.

        And yes, I must agree that it is indeed a cruel relationship. So far, the majority of the pieces that I have written are about artists on the fray of the mainstream, yet my piece on the Chainsmokers (my most mainstream post) from two months ago is still accumulating more views than the others. It’s not too surprising, but it’s still just interesting to see how people interact with different kinds of content.

  4. Love this – I can definitely relate! It’s more of a hobby for me, as I’m still in school, but I’ve been finding the exact same thing, that people don’t ever interact with my posts. Usually, I get most of my interaction via social media: comments on facebook, retweets, instagram likes, etc. A large portion of that is from the artist themselves, but I’ve been working on getting to know my local scene a little better. As someone who lives in Columbus, Ohio, which has a very active and engaging scene, people tend to support smaller blogs and publications, and I’ve made quite a few friends through this blog. Just my two cents – I totally agree with you on this!

    • Thank you a lot! It’s astounded me how much of this is just the norm when it comes to music blogs. It seems you’ve found a way to work around it however by being popular on social media though? That’s good. It’s very important to big up your local area when you can – I live in a county called Essex and fortunately the music scene’s pretty good, so it’s easy to support the bands who are making it sound good.

  5. I very much agree. I started blogging in the fall, and I’ve noticed that the only times I really get good views is when I write about a local artist, because they’re more likely to share it and fans will read it. It’s super frustrating to work as hard as we do to make our sites look good and professional, to put up content multiple times a week on top of our regular schedules, and not get as much recognition as we really should.

  6. Thank you! It’s true, while it’s great to help the community out, it is frustrating when this isn’t reciprocated all across the country. It seems like all of the music blogs need to come together to form a Justice League of sorts and share eachother’s content all the time, but again, considering how much content we have to schedule each week, it’s tough to even have the time to do that!

  7. This is a really good read. I’m an extremely new blogger, so I never even knew that I wanted more comments. I’ll now be sure to comment on just about everything I read.

  8. This is great. Thanks for posting. I just started a new music blog and am just looking for others doing the same thing looking to showcase great talent and tunes.

  9. Hi! I’m new to blogging… and I’ve decided to write about my rock n roll experiences!!! I was scared for years of what musicians would think of my opinions and if I would be shunned in the tight nit local Las Vegas rock scene. It would be great to have some feed back and support for my lil blog. Right now I’m just in the beginning phases…introducing who I am and why I’m writing. Mostly funny stuff so far. Baby steps I’d say. Thank you so much for this. I feel a boost of confidence. Maybe I’ll step up my game a bit.

  10. Pingback: Liner Notes | May 2017 | I’ve Been Thinking… – Sounds Good / a music blog

  11. Hey I just started music blogging and came across this post when I was looking for advice. I have only had a few comments on my blog but I have had some nice feedback from readers / artists on Twitter which is keeping me going. I want to read more music blogs too and will try to keep commenting! Thanks for this post!

    • Michelle you’re the best! How are you finding blogging? It definitely helps to be a bit more social I think, especially in terms of appealing to bigger audiences

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