A while ago I downloaded a track from an Mp3 blog from an Australian band, The Veronicas, listened to it and didn’t think much of it. It stayed on my iTunes though as it wasn’t so bad it required an automatic move to the dumper, and every so often it pops up on my random playlists.
Now I’ve decided that hey, actually this is a great song and today went to try to find out some more about the band, and to hear some more of their music. Such is the beauty of the internet that I can do this. Googling them made lots of interesting articles about promoting things via various social communities across the web which I’ll come to in a bit.
As much as I work in the music industry and I absolutely can’t stand people blatantly thieving music it’s beyond my knowledge to think of a way to control this. But what do I mean? I am a huge fan of downloading and without MP3 blogs my life would be a lot less rich and I wouldn’t be able to perform my jobs as well as I do. In my ideal world, people would get new music from blogs (who are very careful about what they post and how much of one artist they post), if they don’t like it they’d bin it, or if they did like it they’d go and actually legally purchase the music. However that can be technologically managed I don’t know, but in this ideal world people’s morals would control what they did in an appropriate manner.
But screw all that, my point is that the way I, and indeed we, the world as a whole, consume music has changed dramatically probably more so in the last 12 months that ever before. Sure we remember the glory days of willing your modem to go faster as you downloaded all the stuff you’d just heard on the radio via Napster or AudioGalaxy but was there much discovery of new music involved back then? I don’t think so. Certainly not in my case, I was just after a method of getting the cds I wanted for free.
The advent of mp3 blogging and community networks has changed that completely. Responsible Mp3 blogs (i.e. those who care about the music) don’t just post a whole album with a quick ‘GET YOUR LATEST STROKES ALBUM FOR HERE’ link. They carefully chose the music they post (usually one or two tracks from an artist), write a detailed post about why they have done this, and link to places where you can purchase the music legally. I’ve discovered so much music this way and my consumption of music via radio has dropped to practically nothing. I nowadays only really listen to the radio when I’m in my car or er at work.
Anyway, yes, times are a changing. The 2nd way best way I consume music is via My Space . Whenever I want to hear more stuff from a band I always always always now try myspace.com/bandname and more often than not I get more tracks to listen to and generally more info about the music. It’s bizarrely much simpler than even going to the artist’s homepage. The 2nd part to music consumption on myspace is that bands can send you a friends request. Some people may choose to add anyone to their friends just to make them look popular, but I am very choosy. If someone sends me a friends request and they are a band, it makes me go over to their profile, listen to all the songs they’ve put up (usually 3 or 4) and then decide if they are ‘worthy’ to be on my friends list. Even if they’re not, I’ve still heard a band I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Via Myspace I got to know a band called Dead Disco and they are my personal top tip for 2006 from the strength of the music I’ve heard on there. I’ve never met them, or seen them live as they haven’t done any London gigs yet but I got in touch with them and they sent me a cd. Now I’m playing them to 2000 people a week at Popstarz and Miss-Shapes. This is all before they even got signed, released a single, or finalised their lineup. Extremely randomly one of them is from Blackpool and appears to have gone to my school for a bit. Small world and all. But here we go, I love this band who I only discovered through a message on myspace.
People need to embrace all these methods. Labels shouldn’t be shutting down mp3 blogs but should be saying sure do it, just please don’t put our singles up. People should be caring about music and not leaking whole albums for free. Labels can’t ignore the power that these blogs have, nor myspace, nor any other social networking tool that’s out there. They should all be used in people’s campaigns to maximise and excite the audience in previously unthought of ways. I want to be working with people who are similarly passionate about these methods and about using them to promote new small bands and building audiences to a frenzy.