This is an interview series in preparation for my SXSW Panel: The State of Music Blogs in 2010. I reached out to a number of influencers, musicans, labels, marketers and music fans to get their perspectives on the topic and will be posting these in a series leading up to the conference.
Today we hear from musician and video producer of Northern Outpost, which features archived live performances of regional and touring acts for your streaming pleasure.
Why do you think music blogs are so popular?
I think that the music culture, specifically the indie music culture, has been growing so quickly and so vastly that, like any other entertainment or artistic medium, people feel the need to be informed about what they are interested in. It’s the same reason there are so many celebrity gossip magazines, websites and TV shows. The only difference between those audiences is that the people who tend to follow music news also have some sort of close tie to a music scene. It’s a lot more connected. I guess that’s what it’s about, feeling connected.
How do you think music blogs/aggregators/social networks have impacted the industry?
While social networking sites and blogs have increased the connectedness and acceptance of music communities, I think they have also added a lot to the sludge of the music world. Not only are there simply so many bands out there that it would be impossible to hear even a small sample of them all, there are a lot of blogs and publications that don’t try hard enough to hunt down new, exciting and talented musicians, and that have the pull and readership to actually open minds and bring more breadth to what is commonly accepted. Over the past 20 years, amazing things have happened with the music industry to make “indie” the new mainstream, but now that the groundwork is laid out, major organizations that do have influence in music communities, like Pitchfork and 89.3 The Current, aren’t willing to take bigger risks and truly open people’s minds to new and different music. So in short, I think the blogosphere has helped introduce an uncountable number of bands, that are just slightly different from the next, to the masses.
How have they changed your music consumption and/or marketing efforts?
On a personal level, I feel like I have to listen to a lot more music that I don’t like, to find something that I do enjoy. At the same time, I wouldn’t be able to find the music I enjoy without them. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship.
What’s the best thing to happen to the music industry in the last year or so?
Because the entire music world has gotten so saturated, people have started to realize that we’re all in the same boat together. Most musicians are actually in it for the music, or at least to have a good time. I don’t think that many people still go into music thinking they are going to make it big. I feel that things have gotten a little less competitive. People may not help you out with every show, review or record, but they will at least point you in the right direction.
What’s the worst?
A combination of the RIAA, FCC, DMCA, general public apathy, and the idea that anyone with a cool haircut and a drum machine can be a musician.
What is the single biggest strategy/technology/innovation/societal shift you think will impact music in 2010?
We have finally hit a breaking point with how many bands you can fit on this planet. The greatest thing that’s going to happen now, at least I hope, is that bands and musicians will have to actually be talented to be recognized, and not just be “fun” for a couple months.