Posts Tagged ‘music blogging’

Last week, I gave a presentation at Centennial College’s Talk Is Cheap unconference. The talk was Music Blogging: Posting, Pitching and PR, and if that sounds familiar, its because I wrote a blog post with the same title a few months ago.

I’ve gone to #TalkIsCheap for the past few years, and I’ve always had a great time. I think it’s one of the better social media events in Toronto these days, and the organizers deserve a round of applause. (Thanks for letting me speak!)

The gist of my talk was that as much as I enjoy writing the occasional post here on BlogCampaigning, I don’t really like writing about PR, and I don’t like reading about PR and and communications. By the informal polls I did of the audience, it seems like most people agreed with me. (I mean, c’mon: do you REALLY enjoy reading about PR and communications?)

I went on to talk about how much more I enjoyed writing about electronic music and science fiction for my other blog, and how doing that has taught me way more about PR and online communications than writing posts for BlogCampaigning.

While I didn’t get too deep into the details of music blogging, I did talk about some of things I’d learned about PR from my other blog:

1. Your pitches don’t have to be personalized – I feel like PR and communications pros who blog are the only ones who insist on pitches being personalized. The rest of the blogging world will post about something if they feel its relevant to their audience. Personalized pitches can help, but they aren’t necessary.

2. Your pitches should be well targeted – if they aren’t, you’re just wasting everyone’s time. When talking about this, I used an example of a PR person that sent me an album to review for my music blog. I normally only blog about electronic music, but the album was folk guitar. I’m going to ignore every e-mail I get from that PR person from now on, because I’ll just assume it is the same type of music.

3. Don’t send fancy HTML emails – once again, you’re wasting everyone’s time. They don’t show up well on mobile devices, Outlook frequently blocks the images and even Yahoo! and Gmail don’t seem to like them.

4. Don’t follow up – it just pisses people off. While admittedly I’ve gotten some great coverage out of following up with a journalist, and have also posted something just because some guy followed up so often that I started to feel guilty, nobody feels good about a PR pitch being followed up. It’s one of those things that everyone just feels awkward about. In the case where you have a good relationship with a journalist or a blogger, then its probably alright to follow up because you’ll know when it is appropriate. As someone else commented during my presentation, if you’re pitches are well targeted then you probably shouldn’t have to do a lot of follow-up.

In the end, I tried to encourage the audience to start a blog about something they care about. For example, if they want to work in PR for one of the big car companies, they should start a blog about cars. If they want to work in fashion PR, they should start a fashion blog. Seeing the world in the eyes of an online journalist will be far more valuable than writing the occasional post about something like the “intersection of PR and social media”.

So what do you think—should students blog about their thoughts on the PR industry, or should they be blogging about something they care about?

Have you started a blog, and given up after a while because it was about something you weren’t interested in?

-Parker

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Via The Hype Machine’s blog, I came across an interesting round-table discussion on The Morning News among a group of music bloggers.

It’s interesting to hear their thoughts on the relationship music bloggers have with the Public Relations people in the record industry, and there is definitely some take-away for all PR pros there.

Matthew Perpetua, who writes Fluxblog.org, says, “I am glad to get records sent to me because sometimes I get something that I really enjoy.” However, as a hat-tip to the growing importance that PR pros are placing on reaching bloggers rather than traditional media, Perpetua adds, “I work for the regular press too, and aside from my experience with New York Magazine and Pitchfork, the difference seems to be that no one really cares about what I write for money, but they are sometimes very invested in what I do for free.”

When asked if they read other music blogs, the panellists said almost universally that they did not. I feel like this kind of mentality is what has set them apart from other music bloggers and is similar to my suggestion that PR props stop reading PR blogs.

And as great as all that is, I think that this round-table discussion is more important to understand the opinions of these bloggers about giving away content for free and the future of the music industry.

It is slightly depressing to hear Andrew Noz complain that CDs will “be all but unattainable to towns with only one Wal-Mart” without him acknowledging that a) the CD is essentially a dead format and b) thanks to blogs like his, people in towns of all sizes have access to way more music than they would have ever discovered before.

I also disagree with Sean Michaels and David Gutowski, who both think that the future of music is in paying for subscription services packaged with our phone and internet plans. To think that the way for artists to make money off of the art they make (whether it is music or film or writing) by sharing their revenues with wireless and internet providers is ridiculous. All that does is replace one inefficient middleman (today’s record companies) with another.

However, some of the bloggers do seem to get it. “I believe pretty strongly that the next frontier lies in monetizing live performance”, says John Seroff. In fact, his suggestion that perhaps we’ll see something “along the lines of $20 for an album, four live shows and access to ongoing projects” sounds pretty Masnickian and forward-thinking.

Andrew Noz and Oliver Wang seem to support this line of argument by saying that physical products in the form of deluxe or limited editions of albums will help fund artists’ careers.

Later on in the discussion, as the topic veers towards the “free culture” movement, John Seroff does a great job of comparing his writing being shared online with the way music is being shared online: “I figure anything I write or make that ever hits the internet is gone and I don’t resent people doing what they want with it… that’s the internet, and that’s how it works.” He also goes on to say that, although some artists might not like this new way of doing business (giving away their content freely, making a profit on things like live performances rather than individual CDs), “it might not jibe with your professional/creative goals, but thus has it ever been.”

His basic point is that you should adapt to the new internet economy. Things have changed, and artists should change with it.

The whole discussion is worth a serious read, as these guys talk about everything from their favourite music, to their actual blogging process (and how to avoid burnout after 5+ years). Read the Music Blogging Roundtable on The Morning News.

-Parker

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You're reading BlogCampaigning. We write about public relations, social media, video games, marketing and pretty much whatever we feel is important. We've been around since August, 2006. Right now, It's mostly written by Parker Mason.