Friday, December 23, 2005

The Buzz on Blogs (Part 4 of 4)

Bloggers and readers are quick to label a band buzz worthy, but will be quicker to move on. Either a new band will come along, or the industry will jump on the bandwagon and it won’t worthy of talk anymore. Case in point: New York band The Bravery. The blogosphere buzzed about the band early on, but when the band went to the UK and blew up, bloggers were quick to judge. But from the band’s continued success, blogs do not have the last word. “Bloggers abandoned The Bravery a long time ago,” said Glenn "Coolfer", a blogger who also works within the music industry. “They’ve kept going through touring, radio, and the normal marketing a major label does.”

But for the smaller bands that are seeking an accessible outlet to get their name out there, blogs are becoming a very useful marketing strategy. Many bands will contact a blogger directly and send them mp3s or offer up guest list spots for their next show.

Like Sendrowitz, it’s helped generate enough to stand out in the oversaturated New York music scene. A Brief Smile, a young band based in New York would embrace the “buzz band” label, as long as the music is what is driving the talk. Jared O’Connell, the band’s keyboard player, plans to reach out to the blogging community when their new EP is finished. “I wouldn’t really want to ‘target’ them, that word makes it sound evil” he said. “But I hope they notice us, maybe through a friendly email I would send them.”

Other bands, like the Brooklyn based The Upwelling have received blog love without any direct approach from the band. Enough shows have generated enough talk, but its hard to pinpoint whether the band’s recent success are a direct result of the blogosphere. Josh Ingber, drummer of The Upwelling, certainly loves reading encouraging posts, but has yet to specifically reach out to the community. “I’ve heard a lot of bands have built their attendance that way. Although I wouldn’t want to take advantage of a blogger’s credibility to build my own,” he explains. “So we haven’t. I just haven’t figured out a way to do it that feels honest.”

And while music can speak for itself, specific genres and tastes can be left unknown. Up-and-coming singer/songwriter Seth Kallen finds that most blogs he’s come across are mainly focused on the flavor of the month “it” bands. He has considered reaching out to the blogging community, but is fearful of the result. “Any musician who pretends to not want any buzz surrounding their band is simply lying,” he said. “But I’m scared. Singer songwriters aren’t cool unless they have names like Sufjan. I just don’t know how you get that damn buzz, other than if you live in Brooklyn and are really skinny.”

While some artists struggle to make a name for themselves on the blogosphere, others just fall into it. There’s no formula or guarantee, and definitely no longevity. If one blogger posts about a band he or she is listening to, if no one else catches on, there is nothing more they can do. As much of an outlet as it is for musicians, A&R representatives of major and indie record labels are using the blogs as a prominent research tool. With the absence of unsigned artists on the radio or on TV, the blogs are the only place they can turn to find out who is capable of becoming the next big thing. Buzz can equal sales, if the timing is right.

“Blogs are beneficial to everyone because blogs are on the street level and do the leg work for them,” Jay Belin, blogger and creator of Loose Record, an online music site, said. “All music blogs should get a percentage on record deals, it’s only fair.”

Previously:

  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 3)
  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 2)
  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1)

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