The conversation scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 10 at 5 p.m. is loosely about blogger ethics, blogger run labels, what it means to be a critic and writing online. Guests include Chris Cantalini of Gorilla Vs. Bear/Forest Family Records, Ryan Schreiber, founder of Pitchfork Media and Michael McGregor of Chocolate Bobka/The Curatorial Club. The conversation will be led by myself and Emilie Friedlander of Visitation Rites. Ari Stern of Underwater Peoples will also lend his perspective.
The first question we will ask of everyone involved is “Why do you blog?”
I started Microphone Memory Emotion because I wanted a place to write about music. I was tired of trying to get assignments with magazines and alt-weekly’s, and I was going to enough shows, so I thought what the heck, right? I initially began blogging for ME. I wanted to write and therefore I went to the Internet, where anyone can do it.
But after a few months and after I started finding that I actually had some readers, my perspective shifted. I started writing for them, which is what I was trained to do as a journalist. We write because people need information. Period.
It is increasingly clear to me that some music bloggers write for the artists and not for the readers. This is a difficult thing to steer clear of, for me, because to draw the line between writing about something and being a fan of something or somebody is very important. I think this is a trend in music blogging, of writing for the band instead of the readers. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they blog because they want the band’s they like to get successful or to have more fans. I don’t think this is a bad thing, it’s just not why I do it.
A lot of times when I write about a band or musician they will thank me. But I am not writing about that artist for them, I am doing it for my readers. I understand why they are thanking me, i’m helping get their music out there, but they should really thank my readers.
As in all forms of media, transparency is something we must all strive for. Even bloggers, who are clearly not held to the same standards as traditional reporters/writers/critics, though I believe they should be, should disclose their relationships with those they cover. It’s only fair to the reader, to know that they can trust the person they read.
BUT, if you’re blogging not for the reader but for the band, are the same rules of engagement necessary?
These are all questions we hope to discuss in the radio conversation.
Who do you blog for? And if you’re a blog reader, why do you continue to read certain blogs? Do you trust the bloggers? Does that play into your choice to read their blog? Or is it really only about taste?