One week ago, some great minds in music writing/blogging converged at Newtown Radio in Brooklyn. The reason was to discuss the ethics of music writing online, and the recent increase in blogger run labels. The conversation was lively, informative and above all, fun. Those taking part say it was constructive, those listening in were tweeting up a storm.
The forum was organized by Visitation Rites and Microphone Memory Emotion. Ari Stern of Underwater Peoples helped us lead the conversation, and Mark from Newtown Radio contributed immensely with his technical assistance.
Ryan Schreiber, Founder of Pitchfork Media; Sam Hockley-Smith, Editor at The FADER magazine and co-owner of Group Tightener, Michael McGregor, founder of Chocolate Bobka and The Curatorial Club, Mark Schoneveld, founder of Yvynyl and co-owner of upcoming label Trig Club and Chris Cantalini, of Gorilla Vs. Bear and Forest Family Records.
What’s the difference between a writer/journalist/critic and a blogger? Does the difference lie in the medium in which said person writes?
Is objectivity possible in blogging? Is it even desirable?
Should we think of bloggers more as “curators” than as writers?
Can and should blogs write negative reviews? Does criticism have a place in the blogosphere?
Is it ethical for a blogger to sell what they have created a demand for?
Can a blogger ethically write about something he or she is also releasing? Is transparency enough?
How important is the question of scale? Would a blogger-run label represent a conflict of interest if it ceased to operate on a limited-run basis, and became a more commercially-minded operation with wide distribution?
Does the fact that a blogger-run label boasts its own built-in pr-outlet give it a natural advantage of the traditional record label? Do blogger-run labels have the potential to transform the record industry from the inside-out?
Are blogs the new A&R?
The concept of “firsties.”
At the end of the conversation we took a few calls and tweets with questions including what we had every reason to believe was a request for Tumblr advice from Carles himself. Unfortunately we ran out of time mid-discussion. This conversation was the first of many so stay tuned.
Stream and download the whole conversation below. Newtown Radio is a DIY operation so keep that in mind while listening. And no, someone was not trying to call in via fax machine.
Enjoy a bit of intro music as we did to get you in the “zone.” The song is “Aftermath: Isle of Self” by Dolphins Into the Future.
Words by Emilie Friedlander and Georgia Kral