“The music industry from an A+R and strategic marketing standpoint has been super lazy. They fell into a trap of using “data” to found who to sign without deeply considering that any person can make a song that pops off on TikTok but not everyone is built to be a star IRL, perform, build a real fan base and be an actual working artist.”
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a tear lately with the “blogging thing.” Did you notice the new domain name? I’ve had sethw.com on and off since, like, 1999 or so because it went with my weird one-man-band act I did. But lately, as I’m now easing into my later 40s, I wanted something that reflected my new vibes, and sethwxyz really worked. Like, the alphabet goes wxyz, right? Seth W… xyz. Oh my god, I love it.
Anyway, since I’ve been writing or blogging so much, I’ve definitely felt different things pulling themselves together.
Like, I’m not spending multiple hours a day writing, but I do a lot of thinking and walking and taking voice notes on occasion, which I rarely revisit, but just doing them helps my brain put things together.
“Companionship content is long-form content that can be consumed passively — allowing the consumer to be incompletely attentive, and providing a sense of relaxation, comfort, and community.”
After reading that whole piece, it was like, oh my god, no wonder I love those Noah Kalina videos, right? And he even mentioned in today’s video, near the end, how you could just have his video on in the background, you don’t even need to really watch it.
There were a few days where I’d find myself in haze after laying around and just scrolling through Instagram Reel after Instagram Reel. It was like when we were kids, and they used to say we watched 10 hours of TV a week or something, but now it’s like we consume 10 hours of video a day, but in 15 to 30-second increments, and it’s draining, as Anu says here:
“Consuming content requires attention, and everyone has an attention ceiling. This is the basis of my belief that short-form video has an upper limit. It’s not that short-form isn’t as good or as entertaining as long-form, it’s that it’s distracting and ultimately draining.
The mental energy consumed per minute of content consumed must be higher for short-form video than many types of content. I think of this as the “drain ratio” (as in energy drain) for a given piece of content or even a whole genre. (I doubt if anyone’s scientifically measured this, but I’d willingly commission a study on it).”
Maybe that’s why I like watching Craig Reynolds of Stray From The Path when he does his drum streams.
I don’t have to pay full attention, but it’s just fun to be “in the room” when he offers a sarcastic comment or self-deprecating humor.
Maybe I’m just getting old, or maybe it’s the after-effects of living through a pandemic, and things are just off, man. I’m not sure, but I just need the slow chill vibes these days.
HINDZ is another great example. A little softer than watching Craig on drums, but still… I guess it’s all about the person. I know what I’m getting from these folks, and there’s a peacefulness to that.
This is also similar to “body doubling,” or virtual co-working sessions that I’ve seen around. I haven’t really dabbled in those quite so much, but I know some people really like those.
While out on a walk I thought of the last piece I quoted here, about the author wondering if editing a podcast or doing graphic design, that perhaps it is an “amateurization” of tasks that some people get paid lots of money to do.
“For his part, David says he doesn’t begrudge my amateur podcasting, and points out that the medium started as a homegrown endeavor before traditional media got into the game.”
I couldn’t write for MTV.com, but I could set up PHP-Nuke and try to set up a music based Plastic.com (I’m really showing my age here). Thankfully tools like Blogger, Movable Type, and WordPress came along.
That’s when we started HXC.com, Absolute Punk, Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Idolater.
The medium (music blogging) “started as a homegrown endeavor before traditional media got into the game.”
AOL Music re-launched Spinner.com in 2008, pulling it out of the clunky CMS and moving it to something even more horrible, from what I can remember (I started Noisecreep for AOL Music in 2008).
I’m sure other corporations co-opted the music blog world, but I can’t think of any right now.
There was an ocean of music blogs out there, a vast ecosystem of writers and interests and genres covered, sometimes catering to certain cities or regions.
Point being – these things WORKED. If they didn’t, corporate nerds with all their “forward-thinking ideas” (HAHA) wouldn’t have swooped in, co-opted the whole market with big budgets, and siphoned off exclusive interviews and video premieres from the little guys…
Holy shit, as I write that… damn, we destroyed it all, didn’t we? Damn.
Then it became too expensive to keep the house of cards upright, so they shut it all down and sold to Yahoo or Verion or whatever and made their yearly bonuses.
In the end we’re led to believe that music blogs (or blogs for anything) just can’t work anymore. The internet has moved on. And I think that’s bullshit.
Corporate interests moved on (hello, Conde Nast) and left us with… AI generated Spotify playlists, huh?
Re-start your blog. Go to a show. Buy a zine. Make stickers. Invite some friends over for dinner and put your phones in a basket – corporate interests ain’t welcomed at the dinner table.
Don’t rely on digital records.
My advice is to download your Instagram feed now! Print it out in a book (there are online services that will do this for you). Write your memoir and self-publish it; print out photos of your art, bind the pages yourself and hand copies to all your best friends and family; share your work! And share it widely and generously.
“If not Pitchfork, with more daily visitors than Vogue or Vanity Fair or the New Yorker – or GQ – then who in music journalism can possibly thrive in this economic environment. And if no one can… then all we’ll have left are streaming platforms, their algorithms, and the atomized consumer behavior they push on us. A self-checkout counter for music, with a scanner going beep – beep – beep –”