GOOD READ: The End Of Music Blogs As We Know Them

We pride ourselves on creating some of the best content on the web regarding the state of music blogs, where they are headed, and how those interested can participate in their proliferation, but to be honest there are dozens of other outlets producing quality material on these same topics. One of them, Pigeons & Planes, is a favorite among our staff. We read a post from their founder last month regarding the state of music blogs in 2015, and we knew right away that we had to share his thoughts here on our site. Out of respect to the site and author, we decided to wait a full month before sharing some of his insight here.

Below you can find a large excerpt from the original P&P article. If you like what you read and you want to know the rest, please follow THIS LINK to the original post. Enjoy:

When I started Pigeons & Planes in 2008, I didn’t even know what the word “blog” meant. I only started the site because Eskay, from my favorite website Nah Right, stopped responding to my requests for a job. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My marketing plan involved going to the most popular music videos on YouTube and commenting: “PIGEONS AND PLANES. GOOGLE IT!”

I have no idea if anyone found the blog that way. I still think it was a decent idea. Back then, things were different. This was before social media was the lifeblood of any online publication. Back then, a spot on a blogroll (remember those?) was more important than a social media presence. Back then, there was an actual community of music blogs. If I needed help setting up some new plug-in, I’d just email Modi from DC to BC, or Legend from OnSmash, or Will from We All Want Someone To Shout For, or Luis from Pretty Much Amazing. We all shared ideas, strategies, and, of course, music. Back then, if you wanted to keep up with hip-hop, you needed to follow Nah Right, 2DopeBoyz, XclusivesZone, and OnSmash.

In 2008, the small start-up blogs were the ones keeping up with music in real time. They were posting 20+ times a day, engaging with the latest social media communities, and covering new music with an urgency that the internet demands. The major publications still hadn’t caught up. They were focused on bigger projects with longer turnaround times. They had not yet learned to move at the speed of the internet. In 2008, I started Pigeons & Planes with no intentions or master plans. I had no resources, budget, or know-how, but I also didn’t have any old practices to unlearn.

That same year, Brendan Frederick, who was Deputy Editor of Complex at the time, called the entire Complex edit staff together and announced something that would immediately change the company forever: “You’re all bloggers now.”

For years, blogs dominated the music space on the internet. Among the larger media outlets, Complex was early to realize that they needed to change their ways if they wanted to keep up. It took a few years, but the entire business model changed.

“The reason Complex was able to succeed in the digital space when so many others failed,” Frederick explains, “is because Complex was smart enough to develop a real business model for making money off of the web—the media network. This allowed Complex to fund additional heads dedicated to the web, and made it less risky for them to divert editors’ attention away from the magazine. Other magazines didn’t change their business model—they stayed focused on selling print ads and doing events—so they didn’t have the cash to hire additional web staff, and couldn’t risk diverting attention from the print magazine. So, for these companies, the best they could do is have one or two separate ‘web editors’ focused on the website, but because they didn’t have the underlying revenue model, they could never fully make the shift.”

Read the rest right here.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.