Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Buzz on Blogs (Part 2 of 4)

The word “buzz” first appeared in Vogue in 1995 and is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “excited interest or attention.” And yet with the accessibility of the internet and the popularity of music blogs, the word pops up often, perhaps too often. Bloggers race to be the first to say “I knew them when” and readers want to stay in the loop of who will be the next big thing. It’s a tricky game when it comes to what band will generate buzz. Most bands from the UK that have gained popularity will automatically receive buzz on the US music blogs, the latest example to be Arctic Monkeys. Even without a label or a full-length album, the band is the talk of the town.

“There are so many small-ish bands getting loads of attention early on,” said Karen Ruttner, a New York City based blogger and publicist at Magnum PR. “A band can seem more credible if their cheers are coming from a blogger. But a buzz band is a band that has enough following on the ground level to get the attention of the higher ups.”

And sometimes it works. Ruttner and her DJ partner Sarah Lewitinn (also known as her blogger alter-ego Ultragrrrl) met Las Vegas band The Killers before they had a record deal, but were impressed by the strength of their demos and “fun nature” won them over.

“We blogged about them constantly, and as soon as people heard the music (as it leaked out over the internet), the buzz grew and grew and now…well, they’re the biggest band in the world,” Ruttner explained, adding that A&R people still thank her and Lewitinn for them getting the talk started. “I think it is just ridiculous, but I’ll take the compliment!”

Ruttner can only hope the same will follow for other unsigned bands, such as the transatlantic band, The Five O’Clock Heroes. While the band has gained significant buzz in the UK thanks to NME, they have yet to break ground on this side of the pond. “Buzz is organic, it mainly comes from word of mouth and perhaps hearing your music in a bar or something,” said Antony Ellis, frontman of the band. “Every piece of press we get, good or bad, is a blessing. It means that one more person knows of your band.”

  • Previously: The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1)

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