One year ago yesterday I wrote my first post on my music blog. A few months after that, it got listed on both The Hype Machine and Elbo.ws (two music blog aggregators), both of which deliver considerable amounts of traffic. While the number of RSS subscribers to my music blog doesn't really compare to that of BlogCampaigning, I attribute that more to the fact that people interested in music don't care about RSS as much as people interested in social media and PR.
In the year that I've been blogging there, I've written almost 100 posts. While they aren't as lengthy as the ones you often see here, they require just as much thought and time to put together. Just as each post here is written about something I'm passionate about, so too with my music blog.
So what is a "music blog"?
I don't think there is anyone one definition, but I'd probably describe a music blog as one that exists primarily to talk about and share music. Some examples can be found at Discobelle or Soundtrack2. They are essentially individual radio stations of the 21st century.
According to my understanding, most music blogs are probably illegal under today's copyright law because of the way they allow you to download mp3 files. However, I think that we are due for a shift in the way that copyright law is viewed and the entire model of the music industry. I'm happy to contribute to the acceleration of this shift.
I view what I do as contributing to the promotion of the artists, and subscribe to a Masnickian theory of economics that emphasizes the difference between infinite and scarce goods. The short of it is that mp3 files can be copied for free, and doing so doesn't equate to stealing the track. Each track shared doesn't result in one less sale for the artist, but rather has the potential to create one more fan. These fans will gladly pay money to see their favorite artists in concert or buy merchandise related to that artist (both scarce goods).
I've written previously about my beliefs on this topic in the posts "The New Music Industry" and "On Piracy and The Future of the Entertainment Industry." While I post a combination of music that artists send in to me and stuff that I find on my own, I do it out of the love of the music, and sincerely think that I'm benefiting them by making their music available for all.
What have I learned through my music blog?
I've learned at least as much about PR and social media in 12 months of music blogging as I have in three years of being part of the PR echo chamber with BlogCampaigning. As both independent artists and record labels constantly pitch me to write about their music, I see the side of PR and blogger relations that many in the field might not (I also get to fill my iPod up with tons of cool new music that I would have otherwise never heard about). I'm sure that Eden Spodek's work at Bargainista has helped her understand the other side of the communications fence, and similarly, Keith MacArthur's background as a journalist has surely helped him develop media-friendly stories while at Com.motion or Rogers.
I've also learned a ton about Wordpress. As I've often told people, stop learning about social media and start using it. Maintaining two Wordpress blogs and experimenting with plugins and design has taught me a ton of the technical stuff that I don't think I would have learned anywhere else.
Lastly, I've learned that maintaining two blogs is a lot of work. When you're torn between contributing to one or the other, often contributing to neither is the end result. (Summer weather, online Halo 3 and Trinity Bellwoods around the corner from me aren't helping the after-work blogging productivity, either.)
So where is my other blog? Well, you can probably figure it out if you've been a particularly attentive reader of BlogCampaigning. Or I might have told you about it. Otherwise, maybe you'll stumble across it one day and wonder if that's me in one of the photos on it or just a Parker Mason Doppleganger, as one reader thought.
My parting advice to you is to not worry about blogging about something immediately relevant to the Public Relations/Communications industry. I've said it before, but you'll learn just as much (and maybe more) blogging about something else. As Gary Vaynerchuck once famously said, "I promize you can monetize that shit. If you love ALF, start an ALF blog. You like Smurfs? Smurf it up!" I don't necessarily think you'll be able to monetize that blog by selling ad space on it, but you'll learn a lot. And isn't knowledge worth more than money?
Do you read any music blogs? How do you feel about sharing music online?