Can We Please Move On From The Month Of May

I can’t say it’s been a great month so far. We’ve had some properly crap stuff happen round here that has got me concentrating on anything other than listening to music. Plus, the music industry seems set upon going to war with music bloggers that threatens to stop this being a worthwhile exercise. The whole idea of music blogging, where someone can say “Hey, I’ve heard this song, here’s what I think about it, try it yourself” and help spread good music is rapidly turning into “Here’s the only track the record company want you to hear, this Internet’s things a lark, isn’t it?”. We’re just all becoming record company shills. This upsets me, partly because it’s a model that is doomed to failure (if you want to download pirated music, it’s so simple it’s not even worth explaining), and partly because it’s hurting the very people who are trying to promote your music for free.

A little example – I would love to write about a song on Band Of Horses new CD, but I can’t, because if I try and post it, I’ll get shut down (again). So there you go, Band Of Horses Record Label, you don’t get any free publicity. Sure, I might only get a few hundred readers a day (a couple of thousand on a big day), but if 100 people go out and buy a record because of something I’ve said, that’s $1000 for the record label. And if, out of those 100, 20 like it so much they go and see the band with a friend, that’s another $800. Throw in some merchandising, that’s, say, $2000 thanks to me talking about it. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not much, but multiply this out for all the 10,000 plus bloggers on the big aggregators, and that’s a pretty decent sum. And I am very, very small fry in relation to some of the big hitters on Hype Machine and Elbows.

Arcade Fire are probably the biggest band that became famous almost solely due to the blogging world, leading the way for all sorts of bands like Arctic Monkeys through to Vampire Weekend and *insert new trendy band clogging up Hype Machine here*. So it’s not a huge shock to see that, with a new single on the way, they’ve found an interesting new way of drawing attention to it without all that dodgy downloading stuff. Of course, the whole point of mp3’s is that you should be able to download it and listen to it on the Tube, out jogging, lying around in the park drinking cheap cider, or wherever you so choose. Still, it’s a nice idea; go and have fun playing with the little vinyl record. Ooh, takes me back. Right, sunny and warm, off to get turned an alarming shade of red.

A. The Suburbs

AA. Month of May

MP3: Wake Up by The Arcade Fire

Amazon’s Arcade Fire Store

Leave a comment


  1. Hi,
    I enjoyed reading your blog, could’nt agree more about may…

    give us a listen hope you like it and keep writing

    if you like it and want a demo cd free ofcourse email us…


  2. ahasbeenthatneverwas

     /  May 23, 2010

    These take downs are really getting out of hand and labels are pissing off a LOT of general internet users. In many ways their behaviour is anticompetitive and they are trying to monopolise the music “market.”
    Music is not a market, it’s a social culture.
    I cannot physically afford to pay for all the music I listen to now. If we went back to the early nineties I can assuredly say I listened to a lot less than I do now, and I recorded music off the radio onto a casette tape (which was considered illegal, even though (like with the internet) it was available to anyone who owned the right tools to do so).
    Labels could syphon money via internet fees, for example, but they’re not willing to make the risk of a new business model approach. This will, in the short and long term, be their biggest downfall.
    I can happily say I attend more gigs, festivals etc than ever before because I listen to more music (since I have access to more). That means I am choosing to pay to see these greats musicians live.
    When will these labels stop being such debbie downers and attempting to legally force people to pay for units of music, instead of promoting gig attendance.
    They’re morons.

  3. loftandlost

     /  May 23, 2010

    Tom – sure, will try and give you a listen but as many people have found, I’m not always the most reliable!

    A Has Been… – yep, I think it’s getting out of hand too. Problem is, the record industry (including all the publishing etc) is enormous and whilst there are a great many within it who have great ideas about how it should move and develop, there are far more who want to go back to the days of enormous sales and equally enormous expense accounts. Those days have gone, the genie is out of the bottle, and the world is a very different one now.

    But huge credit to those bands, labels, PR people etc who are trying to make a difference. You know who you are, and thank you very much.

  4. First, damn good article. I couldn’t agree with you more. I mean how could the free publicity from music blogs be anything but good for record labels. The trouble is that the way things use to be the big labels had a major upper hand over smaller ones. So they are trying as hard as they can to turn back the clock but they are fighting a loosing battle. They need to just give the music away for free and make money selling thing that people are still willing to pay for.

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