12 Apr 2010

The Growth of Bloggers and Indie Labels in the Music Industry

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I remember when I started to blog; I had a lot of aspiration for bloggers who hosted their own shows. Gorilla Vs. Bear, Friendship Bracelet, and Chocolate Bobka, to name a few, are singularly responsible for presenting some of the best blog-based shows.

These shows are ‘totally ill’ because they made the artists who they blogged about tangible, and stuck by them, which I believe is important to do from a bloggers’ perspective. It keeps your readers interested, and shows that you can ‘go all the way’ when promoting a band/artist that you like.

Now, it seems as though the role of bloggers in the music community is growing. It has gotten to the point where bloggers are starting their own labels. For example, Gorilla Vs. Bear teamed up with Weekly Tape Deck and created Forest Family. Their first release will be the Cults 7” on bright yellow, with part of the proceeds going to benefit animals. In just a few days a song from this 7”, Go Outside, was picked up by Pitchfork and named Best New Music. Fairly recently, fellow Tumblr White Guys With Beards started his own tape label, Wonder Beard Tapes. My friend Mark (yvynyl) is also starting his own label with tumblr Frightened By Bees called Trig Club that will be debuting releases this summer. We can’t forget about Chocolate Bobka’s Curatorial Club that released an amazing Twin Sister ‘Alternates’ tape, along with some other releases.

Music sites like Pitchfork and The Hype Machine have been known for helping the average music listener ‘sum up’ what is going on with all of the music blogs on the Internet. The Hype Machine helps viewers find the most popular songs and remixes that bloggers are posting about. Pitchfork attempts to sum up the blogging worlds’ most hyped releases by rating them and giving the artists media coverage.

Popular Brooklyn-based music blog Chocolate Bobka created a zine called ‘The Report’, which included a cassette tape of artists supported by the blog, and a DVD with live videos from the talented Ray Concepcion. I have enjoyed reading my copy, and have referred to it as ‘the first real, tangible, evidence of the blogging world’. It truly is a beautiful concept, and this bi-annual ‘report’ is a great for summing up a half of year in music. The zine includes thought provoking conversations and article written/transcribed about topics spanning from Australia’s music scene to the Japanese noise scene, and even hot cereal recipes from one of the Mountain Man ladies.

It is pretty obvious we are seeing a trend where music blogging has gotten so big that, we very well could see these ‘blog labels’ and popular ‘indie labels’ at some point compete with major labels. A good example of this prediction is a tweet I read the other day from reputable indie label True Panther, who have some very notable releases including Girls, Tanlines, and in this example Delorean. Major label Columbia Records contacted True Panther inquiring about Deloreans’ deal with True Panther. No offer was made, but it seems like A&R’s are getting lazy by attempting to ‘steal’ artists from labels once they gain some popularity. This event can only be used to show how easy it would be for our favorite artists to ‘go mainstream’, but thanks to the overall protective nature of our coveted labels, these efforts from major label scouts are generally unsuccessful.

The assimilation of indie music into the mainstream world is no doubt very possible as people become tired of American Idol stars and start to realize that some really solid artists are literally just a click away, with tracks free to download made available to blogs, nonetheless. Once the average Joe realizes how easy it is to find music on the Internet, the destruction of major labels is imminent, with so many solid tracks available on the Internet for free, why purchase them from iTunes? Why buy a generic CD when you can have the LP complete with liner notes and artwork? The purchasable MP3 is no doubt dying, it is all too easy to find leaks of albums online, I wouldn’t be surprised if MP3s become solely available for promotional purposes. There is still much to ponder about the future of the music industry and how it relates to us all, but little by little the blogging world unravels this mystery making the future of the industry easier to predict.


Tags: blog, chocolate bobka, essay, gorilla vs bear, music, music industry
written by Salad Fork
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