(con)juncture was lawson fletcher's thought pile. Now blogging at soundofruins.net
"stay critical or die!" | email | (con)temporary



Preliminary sketchings on the rise of music blogging.

Is indie developing at a 'breakneck' pace? Or is this a logic of consumption simply masquerading as one of production? It accrues mass cultural capital via audience power on 'new' media (blogs, small print mags, social networks), with fans meticulously detailing the very minor movements forward in musical progress in the genre as a whole. A kind of snail genealogy of the genre. This in turn promotes a certain logic of musical consumption that is ceaseless and exponentially quickening, forcing the hand/ears of listeners to keep up. Blogs provide the means with which to do this, thereby completing the circle.

Blogs as the new 'A&R' - wtf is the value of employing promoters when audiences will do it for you for free (or least for advanced promo copies or files)? Never is there a 'disintermediation' in new media (in which the concatenation is defined "music" and "listener", a pure immediacy - cough cough bullshit). Instead, ever increasingly complex forms of reintermediation, often in a strange way via the very fulcrum of the audience itself. The blogger is ambivalently placed between producer and receiver, but that doesn't automatically reify her status as a kind of 'participatory culture' vanguard, but rather reinserts her into the power differential with a surface of democratic listening.

(cont) Blogs and the 'two step flow' model - I remember being told early on in my communications studies that the 'two step flow' model originally devised by Lazarsfeld in the 40s - whilst offering the first break in 'mass' theories, moving toward a less deterministic 'communication' - was a crudely defined, far too basic theory. Yeah I suppose it is, but the example of music blogging at least (possibly socio-cultural aspects of web 2.0 in general) ask us to re-evaluate this theory, of course absorbed within a larger cultural model of communication but now with renewed prominence. Because as far as digital music (and really, that is 'music' full stop now) goes, the two step flow model is completely explanatory: opinion leaders (bloggers) mediate between the media and the wider audience (listeners, people who use rss feeders). 'Black Kids are great' says blogosphere - band blows up. Or then have I just intervened into my own theorisation there? Because they only thing blogger hype really substantiated in relation to these guys was more fucking hype - seeing them play a number of undeserved shows at industry showcases and then generally fizzling out. Is it that this promotional discourse only refracts(?) directly back into more promotion, rather than moving units? Figures would be good.

So what we've basically got is a new communicative process in which the imbalance between producer and receiver is only ostensibly corrected by fan chatter, rather reinscribed back into the system, even if at a more distributed, decentred level.

No comments: