Posts Tagged ‘My Old Kentucky Blog’

TMT Debate Piece: Blogger-Run Labels: Conflict of Interest or Evolution?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

In early 2010, the world of online music publishing was home to a quiet transformation, one that may leave a lasting mark on the independent record industry.

In the course of only two months, several popular indie music bloggers launched their own small press record and/or tape labels, operating in conjunction with their namesake publications and specializing in artists that fall within their editorial scope: Gorilla Vs. Bear and Weekly Tape Deck with Forest Family Records; My Old Kentucky Blog with Roaring Colonel Records; Chocolate Bobka with The Curatorial Club; White Guys With Beards with Wonder Beard Tapes; and Yvynyl and Frightened by Bees with Trig Club.

Although these new operations are of many shapes and sizes, the event casts a spotlight on the extent to which blogging diverges from both traditional music writing and journalism writ large. Several blogger-run labels debuted to great media fanfare (as far up on the musico-journalistic pecking order as Pitchfork), despite violating one of the greatest tenets of traditional journalism in any medium: the belief that the writer writes primarily for his or her readers, and should not stand to benefit financially or professionally from any opinions expressed within his or her writing.

Do blogger-run labels represent a conflict of interest? Or is blogging a distinct form of communication entirely, exempt from the ethical standards of journalism and criticism? If so, what sets blogging apart from other media? Do any rules apply?

To put in your two cents, kindly head over to Tiny Mix Tapes and post a comment. On Thursday, June 10th, Underwater Visitations will team with Microphone Memory Emotion to host a radio panel on blogger-run labels and the ethics of online music writing. Guests will include Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, Chris Cantalini of Gorilla vs. Bear and Forest Family Records, Michael P. McGregor of Chocolate Bobka and The Curatorial Club, and perhaps a few surprise guests. Interesting comments on the TMT thread are guaranteed to be factored into the discussion!

Tune in to Underwater Visitations on Newtown Radio next Thursday, 4-7 EST.
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Horizons: Flavorpill’s “40 Better Reasons to Get Excited About Music” : Spotlight on Music Writing

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Last week, Flavorpill Music Editor Judy Berman asked the ubiquitous Visitation Rites “us” to contribute a few lines to the publication’s official response to Rolling Stone’s “40 Reasons to Get Excited About Music” cover story this month. We too found it a bit sad (if not slightly disturbing) that the latter publication couldn’t think of anything more exciting about music in 2010 than the Black Eyed Peas (reason #1), whose invaluable contribution to our generation’s cultural bequest was honored by a feature article entitled “The Science of Global Pop Domination.” Asked to pen one of Flavorpill’s “40 Better Reasons to Get Excited About Music,” Visitation Rites produced the following flight of techno-optimism:

#5: Anyone can be a critic: “The ’90s may have taught us that ‘anyone can play guitar,’ but now any music lover with a working internet connection and a brain can share his or her enthusiasm with the public and rest assured that at least somebody out there will be listening. Having more music writers out there may mean a higher volume of shoddy criticism, but it also means that those of us who aspire to do more than post MediaFire downloads and paraphrase press releases can do so in dialogue with each other, prodding each other to come up with better and better explanations for why certain music makes us tick — and why it seems to be happening at this moment in history. Arriving at that understanding collectively — as a generation, even — is much more exciting than listening to what some snarky loner type sitting at an editorial desk has to say.”

Among other responses related specifically to the changing face of music writing in the digital era, Sarah Lynn Knowles (aka Sarah Spy) also contributed the following words on the promising (though admittedly controversial) proliferation of several blogger-run labels this year:

26. Blogger-owned labels: “Just within the last two months, we’ve seen Weekly Tape Deck and Gorilla vs Bear’s joint venture Forest Family, My Old Kentucky Blog’s Roaring Colonel Records, Wonder Beard Tapes from White Guys with Beards, Chocolate Bobka blog’s Curatorial Club, and soon-to-debut Trig Club from Yvynyl and Frightened by Bees. I know some have questioned a blogger-turned-label-head’s ability to stay unbiased once they’ve got a financial stake in product-pushing; but I think subjectivity was kind of the point to begin with, and readers will continue trusting tastemakers whose preferences align with theirs, regardless. Overall, I’m eager to see how this plays out — which labels (and others that inevitably sprout up behind them) fade after a one-off release, versus which evolve into something huger.”

Read the “definitive” list on Flavorpill.

For an adamantly alternative viewpoint, please view Christopher Weingarten’s “Music is Math” speech at the 140 Characters Conference today, in which he disparages the “bland middling taste of the internet hive mind.” Weingarten also contributed to the Flavorpill list; among his other highly viral one-liners, we find “crowdsourcing killed indie rock” to be his most memorable.

Words: Emilie Friedlander