Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1 of 4)

As some of you may know I recently wrote a paper for my "Writing About Popular Music" class at NYU. It turned out to be pretty interesting, and I thank everyone who contributed. I'll post it in parts throughout the rest of the week. Enjoy.

Brian Sendrowitz has a goal in mind: to become the next buzz band. His band, Beat Radio, has only been in formation for less than six months and played less than a half dozen shows. But already they have been mentioned on over 15 New York City based music blogs, so Sendrowitz may be on his way.

“I can’t afford to hire a PR company,” Sendrowitz explained. “There’s such instant gratification [from blogs]. It’s part of this media revolution we are in the midst of. I can write a song and post an mp3 and have sometimes hundreds or even thousands of people around the world listening to it in a few days. It’s very gratifying as an artist.”

But how does a band break it on the blogosphere? For Sendrowitz, it happened almost by accident. Jerry Yeti, a Brooklyn based blogger, was attending a residency by another young band, The Diggs, and asked the band about their future openers. They mentioned friend Brian Sendrowitz and his band Beat Radio. Jerry found their website, downloaded the free tracks provided, and checked out their next show.

“Their songs were very demo-ish, even by demo standards and yet they were still really good,” Jerry said. “I kept posting about them because their live show really came through.”

Others caught on, as Sendrowitz reached out the blogs he liked and read on a regular basis. After a few posts, the draw at their live shows increased, although it hasn’t been entirely consistent. And now, record labels have contacted Sendrowitz as a direct result of mp3’s getting posted. “Jerry Yeti” is still impressed by the band’s live show, however he thinks they have a long way to go to become a household, or blogosphere, name.

“All the bands I really cared about and discovered at the time, no one was talking about them,” he said. “Since then, some of those bands have indeed blown up, but there are always more that haven’t. I keep vigil for them at an altar in my attic.”

The word “buzz” has become a staple on music “blogs”, or what are known as weblogs, for the less computer savvy. It’s a fairly new concept on the internet’s latest form of online journalism. Anyone can create their own free blog, and can post about anything they want. If they are lucky, another blog will link to them and their popularity and readership will grow. Music blogs seem to be the most popular, as many are posting free music from up-and-coming bands that normally wouldn’t have this kind of immediate exposure. But with exposure, comes buzz, and buzz can lead to hype, which eventually can lead to a backlash.

In the end, is the buzz worth it?


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