Music blogs are going from strength to strength. Peer to peer sharing programs such as Napster, Kazaa and Limewire from which you can download a plethora of tracks from a seemingly infinite list of artists, albeit illegally, have seemingly died a painful death. But with death comes new life, and thus the music blog was born. Taking advantage of the unique attributes of the internet, and using it what it is good for- connecting and interacting- blogs post a multitude of tracks, remixes and videos free of charge. In times of economic hardship, we can be forgiven for jumping on the bandwagon.
However, this is not a mere backlash at the record companies swindling us out of our hard earned coppers. Nearly every blog’s disclaimer pledges support to the artists they publicise by urging us to essentially buy what we like. To quote Electrozoo, “support your favourite artists. Buy their damn records!”It seems a genuine love of music and what it stands for has prevailed. A source from the popular electro blog Allez-Allez wrote to me decrying DJ’s who merely take music for granted. “(We) started Allez-Allez because we were tired of playing DJ sets to people who didn’t care or pay any attention, and if they did pay you any attention, it’d be only to ask you for a request or to tell you that what you were playing was rubbish… Allez-Allez was dreamt up as our utopian club in the digital ether, where we could play whatever we wanted without fear of repercussions or a swiftly emptying dancefloor, and with the hope that like minded people might come across what we do and get some enjoyment from it.”
Blogs span every conceivable genre. For every blog it seems a new genre is concocted. But the growing trend in blogging offers an invaluable output for unsigned artists. It is often the case that the best publicity for a new band trying to break through into the mainstream is to have their single remixed, which can be more popular than the actual track itself. Bands and DJ’s alike have cottoned onto this and there is now enough to meet everyone’s specific niche taste. The frontrunner of this craze is almost certainly techno electro site Fluokids. Virb claims they are the best mp3 blog on this side of the planet, and it’s not difficult to see why. Set up by Pharrell (real name Francois, not to be confused with the Neptunes bloke), maintained by a select few contributors (who contribute the likes of Simian Mobile Disco, CSS, Duke Dumont and even a remixed Roxy Music track) and punctuated by pretty pictures of pretty people courtesy of lastnightsparty.com, it’s easy to see how this online community has attracted so much attention. Yet finding a blog that caters to your specific taste does take patience. Aimed at the slightly more mainstream alternative/indie crowd is Indiekrush. When browsing through I thought it’d be a welcome change to the vast amount of electro and indie remixes that populate many of these blogs, but it is, like many others, annoyingly still in the Fluokids bracket. The majority of these blogs are not just about the music, they incorporate art, nightlife, fashion and ultimately lifestyle. Finding a genuinely raw sound in this electronic medium can be difficult, yet I found a blog named garage hangover which surprised me. Set up by garage enthusiast Chas Kit originally as a medium for him to share some of his favourite songs with his friends, it has grown into something special, a goldmine for 60’s garage, and through utilizing the characteristics of the internet, innovation in music has truly been realised.
My favourite blog has to be Awesome Tapes from Africa. There are no videos or remixes here, just free mp3s of obscure African music. I get the feeling that this is what the internet was made for. From the brief half hour I spent on this blog listening to a few of the recent tracks that had been posted, I’m given an insight into a culture I was previously ignorant to. This blog almost sums up the genius of the whole concept of blogging; through music an otherwise separate and unheard entity is undeniably easy to access. Not so long ago the solitary purpose for music was story telling, it was, and remains to some extent, an elaborate form of oral history. Music is something intended for the ears and minds of all; it is art that anyone can find meaning in and in which everyone is welcome to participate. More so than ever before in history music is available worldwide, at the click of a button.