It’s that time of year again! We’re off to Bestival. Be back soon, please allow up to 36 hours post-Bestival for hangover recovery.
See you in a bit! Take it easy.
Picture of me ‘cos this is just me talking now…
I don’t know what the point of writing this post is. To the casual reader there isn’t going to be that much difference in their visits to electronic rumors; but for me it’s big change.
I’ve been feeling (increasingly, but a lot of the past couple of years) that the site has strayed so far away from what I wanted to do when I started ER almost seven years ago, to be honest I’m not sure it ever was what I wanted it to be, and I need to do something about it before I just want to call it quits entirely.
People have been writing about music on the internet since…well, the internet; but when I started electronic rumors music blogging (as opposed to blogging about music) was a relatively new ‘thing’. Written by passionate music fans who felt the need to express themselves and enthuse about the sounds they loved, new or old; rarely was music sent to them by PR people, only occasionally by musicians or labels themselves and never ever by majors. They would spend their days hunting down new music (not necessarily to blog about, but because it’s what they did anyway) or re-discovering old favourites and expressing to the world about what was exciting them at the time. That artist got a tiny bit of free promotion was a happy side-effect, there was a fire in these writers belly that compelled them to talk about music. These were music nerds. These were fanzine writers before the internet (as was I for years). These were band obsessives. And through these people I discovered an outlet for my own mania.
There was, briefly, a golden age of music blogs. A scene had formed of ardent writers. Music blogs were always well worth a read (yes, read!) whether the author was writing about their latest discovery or a classic album, their favourite band’s new single or an obscure nostalgic gem. These are the blogs that inspired me to start writing (also, it was either that or continue to bore my mates down the pub about whatever new music I had come across that week). These are the blogs I wanted to be like. Shamefully I have never achieved that ideal.
If you’ve ever read any interviews with me on music blogging you’ll probably know I’m weirdly self-hating about music blogs in general. Perhaps disappointed that I never achieved what I set out to I hold everyone to the standard to which I held (and failed) myself. Which is pretty self centred of me; but let’s face it, a lot of music blogs are utter shit. Posting music with no commentary at all, or posting music with the barest of sentences about release date and who the track is by, or just setting up an IFTTT recipe to automatically post any track you favourite on SoundCloud to a Blogger blog and calling yourself a ‘Music Blogger’…I mean, really, what’s the point of any of them? What do they really add to musical discussion? Just curate a playlist on Spotify and be done with it!
I think the slippery slope from passionate and articulate music fans shouting into the void about their audio loves to “look at me, I post SoundCloud links and that makes me part of the music industry!” began with HypeMachine, particularly their (now rescinded) policy of only featuring the first blog to post a particular track on their homepage. This fostered an atmosphere of competition in the music blog world. Those petty blogs that concerned themselves with traffic (often to bolster their meagre advertising earnings) had to be the first to post a new track or they could kiss their traffic goodbye. Obviously this meant people began posting without taking the time to comment on the music, without taking the time to offer their opinion and in extreme cases without taking the time to actually listen to the music. No time to listed and absorb, it was all about being first.
And those that were first got the traffic, which meant they could start talking about premières (which make for more ‘firsts’) which meant that other bands wanted premières on the site that X band was on, which meant that music PR now had a free way to accommodate the bands who paid them. And thus, the music blogging industry was born.
I’ve long been of the opinion that the main audience for music blogs is other music blogs, along with bands and PR people. I have never met a person in real life who used HypeMachine, and very rarely meet anyone who reads music blogs (who isn’t in a band or a producer).
PR people love blogs because it’s free coverage for the artists who pay them. Premières make bands especially happy for the bragging rights. Bands, musicians and producers love blogs because it’s coverage they can talk about, premières can be particularly boasted about. Blogs love PR people and bands because they get free music from them and, when they are courted for coverage, they get to feel special (more-so if it’s a band the are a fan of) and feel like they are part of the music industry, an insider. It’s intoxicating. So this little circle of everyone making each other happy forms, blissfully unaware that what they are doing has most likely next to zero affect on the consciousness of the general public, even music fans in general, or anyone outside of the circle.
Before anyone indignantly comments; yes, obviously there are exceptions. There are blogs (mostly not like the ones I am talking about) who do have influence on radio programmers, and promoters, and can do real good. And artists who have really benefited from blog coverage (Little Boots and Ellie Goulding spring to mind, but not really anyone new for a long time), but there rare cases where the right artists, the right writers and the right people paying attention just happen to be in the same place at the same time. That’s not how it works out for most people.
Don’t even get me started on blogs who end up posting laughably un-researched gossip rather than music. Seriously, what are they for?
And in amongst all this sycophancy, throwaway posts, fast moving updates, and premières the passion for music has been lost amongst the self-importance and bragging rights.
Not by everyone of course. There are still those pillars of music blog integrity that don’t play the game and still compose posts with passion and humour. Breaking More Waves springs to mind. Robin has been a constant inspiration to me in terms of his writing considered pieces and not caring what anyone else is blogging about. He, and a handful of other ‘good guys and gals’ have kept the spirit of music blogging alive; but they are the exception, not the rule.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go any anybody without having a go at myself. For one reason or another; insecurity (“I want to be relevant too!”), hubris (“I’m an important part of the music industry!”), obligation (“I’ve made a lot of good friends of artists I have featured, I don’t want to let them down!”) or whatever other reason, I am as guilty as the worst of them (well, maybe not the worst, I have always at least tried to write something considered, even if I am a shit writer who is strapped for time), but at least I’ve largely always acknowledged how shit the whole circumstance was.
Returning to the point of this post. This has to stop. It doesn’t make me happy.
What makes me happy is writing about music that excites me.
Not being a news outlet.
So that’s what I’m going to do.
Essentially it’s going to boil down to ‘write more, post less’. Currently, and shamefully to me, the thought process is to write about everything I hear that I really like. A catalogue of music I dig. Sometimes, though, I can like a track sooooo hard, but just struggle to find the words to write about it.
From now on I’m only writing about music that seriously compels me to hit the keyboard, music I can’t help but say some words about. Music I actually have some words to say about. Rarely will I post a track on the day it’s released (unless I’ve had a promo copy in advance) as I’m going to want to spend more time with the music I write about; to gather my thoughts. It might not even be new music at all, I might be listening to an album from decades ago, or from earlier in the year, and just want to say something about it.
I want to be like the music sites that inspired me in the first place.
Those who know me know that this has been a long time coming.
I’m sure this is going to piss a few people off, and for that I’m sorry. I know there are artists out there that rely on electronic rumors for coverage and there may be times that I’m just not that outlet anymore (there may also be times that I still am that outlet; depending on the track, my mood, my schedule etc…), there’s even PR people who know they can come to me for coverage, and that may not always be the case moving forward. There may even be readers who come to the site for certain genres latest releases, and I’m sorry if we’re not always up-to-date in the future but hopefully the posts themselves will be a more satisfactory read.
In the end, I’m not happy with the site, so I’m changing it. If you don’t like it you can fuck off (or start paying me) ‘cos its my site.
The label side of electronic rumors will be unaffected by this shift in attitude, except maybe I’ll have more time to devote to it (and possibly get less coverage from music blogs after this post….).
So that’s that then. You know what music I like, if you’re into it keep coming back for more of my bullshit…but about less music…but more choice music maybe.
Sweet Raptor Jesus, do you remember when I was posting, like, ten posts a day! What a twat!
See you tomorrow for a post about some music I like.
MUSIC BLOGS ARE DEAD! LONG LIVE MUSIC BLOGS!
P.S. Synthesizer Zen isn’t going anywhere.
P.P.S. I might still throw up quick Video and Mixtape posts occasionally. Haven’t decided yet.
–Update— Not really an ‘update’ update as I’m posting this at the same time, but I wrote this on Saturday and over the weekend showed a draft post to a few select artists, PR people and bloggers. Interestingly, in private, every single one of the agreed with me 100%, and supported both my decision to change attitude and my decision to say this publically (which I was a little worried about). Thanks guys!
And so it comes around once again. Time for us to go off on our holidays. And for us that usually means heading to the Isle Of Wight for fun in the sun at Bestival.
Spare a thought for us, as we are going mental in a field, for how much we’d love to be back at the computer writing about music instead of having all this fun; but we’ll be off for a week or so (that ‘so’ depending on how long it take us to recover).
See you in a bit! Take it easy.
That’s us done for the year then. No more posts until 2014.
Except, of course, for the electronic rumors Awards 2013!!! They’ll be making an appearance nearer the end of the year, but you should probably start getting excited right now!
Let me just take this opportunity to again big-up the electronic rumors X-Mas EP, X-Mas Rumors. If you haven’t already you should definitely pick up a copy, we’re raising mad bucks for the Alzheimer’s Society and giving you some X-Mas synthy goodness in the process.
So, from us here to you, have an awesome X-Mas! And we’ll see you when we’re all fat and hungover.
Have a good one!
“I never thought I’d say this right, but pull down the blinds. I’m closing the bureau…for an hour”
It’s the time of year peeps, when we take out we’ll deserved (even if we do say so ourselves) holiday and head to the sunny Isle Of Wight for Bestival.
Whilst there we will be enjoying the fine offering from he likes of Kate Boy, Nile Rodgers & Chic, The Knife, DJ Falcon, Disclosure, Sexy Sushi, Duke Dumont, Maya Jane Coles, Bobby Tank, Psychemagik, London Grammar, Hot Natured, Fatboy Slim, M.I.A., Rudimental, Jesse Ware, DJ Fresh/Live, James Blake, Squarepusher, Simian Mobile Disco, Crystal Fighters, Is Tropical, Man Without Country, Annie Mac, Julio Bashmore, Erol Alkan, Fake Blood, Joy Orbison, Hudson Mohawke, Toddla T Sound, Mark Jones and The 2 Bears. But more importantly good times with good friends in good weather (well, that last one was a little optimistic, we’ll see…).
We should be back in business around the middle of next week, it depends how bad the hangover is and how long the comedown lasts.
Hey peeps, electronic rumors will be closed for business for a week, I won’t be able to post in the coming days. Feel sorry for me, I’ll be in Las Vegas, ballin’.
Keeps your ears to the ground though, this coming week looks like it will see the unveiling of both the full new single from Daft Punk and the new record from Empire Of The Sun, but we won’t be there to cover it. I’ll be, as previously stated, ballin’.
We’ll be back on track sometime in the week of the 22nd April (the week after next).
Enjoy your week in the music wilderness.
‘Tis the season!
That’ll be us done for the year then. There is booze to be drunk, presents to be given, friends to be seen and turkey to be eaten. No time for waffling on about music for a while.
We’ll be back on the 28th December, at around 4pm GMT, for The electronic rumors Awards 2012, time to start getting excited right now! The very best music of the year, all in one place. It’s bound to be a star-studded affair, and remember to keep it locked to our Google+ page for pre-awards warm-up nonsense.
So, we hope you all have an awesome X-Mas, full of good friends, good times and a good deal of consumption and maybe some good tunes too.
Here’s a round up of this year’s X-Massy posts…
[Audio] Televisor’s ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’
[MP3] Cavaliers Of Fun’s ‘Last X-Mas’ cover
[Video] Goin’ Old School: Heaven 17, The Human League & Pet Shop Boys
[Video] Father Tiger’s ‘On Christmas Day’
[Video] Dragonette’s ‘Merry Xmas (Says Your Text Message)’
[MP3] Kristine’s X-mas present
Dragonette’s X-Mas single
And because X-Mas songs seem to have been a bit thin on the ground this year, here a couple of previous year’s round-ups full of synthy X-Mas cheer:
Have a good one!
Right, so you don’t panic and take to the streets instigating mass rioting and ushering a new age of chaos, I thought I’d let you know we’ll be going dark for a week or so.
I’m moving house, moving back to London, and have got a ton of stuff to do over the next few days and then the move itself so I’m going to be a bit too occupied to write. I reckon we’ll be back on the air next Tuesday or Wednesday. Thursday at the latest, so long at their isn’t a problem with the internet connection at my new place.
If you are screaming for some new music over the next few days, here’s a few tips for you:
…yes, I just did that, let’s not make a big deal out of it.
Anyway, catch you on the flipside.
Right you lot, stop loitering, there’s nothing to see here, and there won;t be for a week or so. We’re off on our holidays. And when we say holidays we’re talking about a little trip to the happiest place on Earth. No, not Disneyland, what’s so happy about that? We’re talking about Bestival. That annual, rare, mix of good music, good people and good times for four whole days.
While we’re there (in what looks like it’s going to be blissful weather) we’ll be checking out he likes of (deep breath) Kavinsky, John Foxx & The Maths, Hot Chip, Justice, New Order, TEED, 2ManyDjs and Soulwax, Orbital, Errors, Gary Numan, Charli XCX, Annie Mac, Four Tet, Fake Blood, AlunaGeorge, The 2 Bears, Psychemagik, Greg Wilson, Gesaffelstein, Miike Snow, Coldcut, Julio Bashmore, Maya Jane Coles, The XX, The Japanese Popstars, Clock Opera, Dan Le Sac and/or Scroobius Pip, The Other Tribe, Major Lazer, De La Soul, Jessie Ware, Two Door Cimena Club, Drums Of Death, Grimes, Toddla T, Factory Floor, Adam fucking Ant, Earth, Wind & fucking Fire, Kevin Saunderson and Inner fucking City and Stevie fucking Wonder! Plus a load more I can’t think of right now.
If you want to keep up with what we are checking out over the weekend we will be live tweeting for The Guardian Music. Catch up with what;s going on right here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/bestival
We’ll probably be back, Wednesday next week, maybe Thursday depending on how broken we are.
If you do find yourselves starved of our nonsense, then we may be pouring drunkenly over our twitter feed, keep up here: @electronicrumor.
In the shops on the 26th is a brand new UK electronic music magazine, titled simply Electronic. This is quite a momentous moment, I don’t think there has ever been an electronic music focused print magazine published in the UK. Sure there a myriad Dance music magazines that cover a specific section of electronic music, and sure there are a handful of music technology based publications that, obviously, mainly cover electronic music. But Electronic aims to be neither of those. Whist covering dance music it won’t be dance music specific, and whilst covering electronic musicians it chooses to look more into the people behind the tunes, rather than the studio trickery.
Issue 1 is out next week and features articles on, amongst others, the almighty The Human League, Kraftwerk, Underworld, John Foxx, Hot Chip & A Guy Called Gerald. That’s quite a guestlist for just one issue and only scratches the surface of what’s contained within. The premier issue also comes with a free 14 track compilation album put together by Wall Of Sound’s Mark Jones in full on Back To The Phuture mode with a classic synth line-up.
It’s a tough time for printed media. Kudos to Future Publishing (home to Future Music, Computer Music & SFX) for having faith in electronic music and the Electronic crew. This could be just what we need in the UK, and the best thing in WH Smith. We strongly suggest you give it your support, we will be. Can’t wait for the first issue.
Electronic débuts Thursday 26th July in all good Newsagents. You can have a look into issue one with the preview here.