What is Altered Zones?
Altered Zones is a blog collective, which took some of the blogging worlds major players and put them all on one site. In the internets’ infinite mass it could not have every blogger on it. Altered Zones is meant to be a ‘collaboration’ between Pitchfork and the blogs, kind of like making Pitchforks’ Forkcast bigger and better, with the chosen bloggers submitting one post a week of their choice, which is posted on both their blog and Altered Zones, of which they will be compensated for. In addition to this, they will also post some original content.
Obviously, this is going to cause drama in the blogging world. How could it not? The way it’s described it sounds like a blogging monopoly. The way some bloggers could feel can be traced back to elementary school, you are not cool enough to be in our club, you are not relevant enough to be part of this website. I’ve spent plenty of time in the uncool circle, I used to stay inside from recess with the kids in trouble just to do homework. I was that guy. I know what it’s like, and I know how not to let it bother me, which I believe will equate to an unbiased opinion in this short analytical/argumentative essay.
The main issue comes from bloggers who are left out of this website. For the average blog-reader, this is great, for the average blogger, a tingle of nervousness is felt. The average blogger says: ‘Is this team of super-bloggers going to get all the readers, and people will forget about the rest of us?’, ‘Will Altered Zones just be a place where that circle of bloggers can post about their own releases and friends’ blog label releases?’, ‘Will I even get demos in my inbox anymore, since I am not linked to Altered Zones?’ While these questions may not reflect the feelings of every music blogger, I am sure at least one of those questions have passed through their heads, because they sure have mine. In short terms, the feeling felt can be related to the millennium when everyone thought computers were going to die because the clock wasn’t made to go to the year 2000. Is this the end of music blogging as we know it? Could the average music blogger just die off on July 7th, with the launch of this super-blogger website?
A step back needs to be taken. A re-evaluation, of what blogging is, and why your readers read your blog in the first place.
When I started blogging, I was a teenager and just finished up my first year of college. I didn’t know what I wanted Salad Fork to be. At first, it was a log of my photography, food recipes, and music. Eventually, maybe about six months or so ago, it became music specific. In the beginning, I made posts about what I thought people would enjoy reading, and soon enough I found that it was the wrong tunnel to travel down. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago I started to write. I used writing as a vehicle to escape a world of mathematical science that I have placed myself in as a student, as an attempt to seek homeostasis. In addition, I only blogged about the music that I listen to constantly and releases that I am excited for. I got to know my artists, learn that they are great people, and that I am blogging for the sole reason that I get really excited to hear their music. I blog for the hope that my repeated coverage will get them on Pitchfork some day, and perhaps a proper vinyl release.
While I am one of the younger bloggers and equally one of the younger blogs around, I began to gain some readers, and it’s really satisfying to know that you are read. I remember not too long ago I was standing in line at Armageddon Shop on Record Store Day with my sister, and a couple of my local readers recognized me and introduced themselves. From a selfish stand point, you feel kind of famous in your own little way, and a threat of losing that hurts.
I still won’t forget how I felt when I first found Ians’ blog (Friendship Bracelet), downloaded all of his compilations, and listened to Speculator, Pure Ecstasy, and Truman Peyote for the first time. All I was is a fan, and I still am. Never would I have thought that Delicious Scopitone would blog about my first free downloadable mix. Never would I have thought I’d be hosting Truman Peyote in Providence. Never would I have thought I’d have organized a charity project donating the money to Haiti, and see tracks from it pop up on Pitchforks’ Forkcast, a website I read avidly. Like engineering, the blogging world is all about innovation. It’s about making things more efficient. It’s inevitable, it’s how the world works; it’s how the world wants to work.
The blogging world is still young. Where would we be if Eli Whitney never created the cotton gin? What if William Slater never brought over designs for a mill and built one in Pawtucket, RI, almost single-handedly starting the industrial revolution, here, in the United States? Well, FDR wouldn’t have to break up the infamous monopolies such as U.S. Steel, that’s for sure. But with everything in our world, we have our faults, the side-effects of innovation. I’m not predicting that Altered Zones will be some sort of blog monopoly, merely stating the possibility. Regardless of that possibility, you have to start somewhere.
In the end, Altered Zones or not, my blog is for me. It’s a log of my music taste. It’s a place for me to write and voice my opinions about music. It’s a place for me to begin projects and see how big I can go. I will always be exploring music and trying to figure out how it relates to me. Having readers is a privilege, and readers or no readers, I will always be posting.