Thursday, April 02, 2009

I've been Interviewed!

A representative of Ariel Publicity recently interviewed me for their blog/newsletter as a New Media Pioneer. Now I don't know if I am really a pioneer, but I was thrilled to have an opportunity to answer a few questions regarding blogging/music/new media.

And I thought I would share my answers with you all as well.


Q: How long have you been broadcasting/blogging?

A: I've been blogging for nearly 5 years at various venues, though my current blog, Culture Kills, has been going strong for nearly 3 years. I am a recent convert to the world of podcasting, though in the past I was both a Live365 broadcaster and had some influence on Launchcast/Yahoo! Music as the founder of the Launchcast Indie/Eclectic experience group. Additionally, back in the late 1990's, I tried to get a pop culture related zine off the ground, but failed due to a few poor decisions on my part.

Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: After deciding to do a podcast based on precleared/podsafe music, I had to listen to a lot of bands and songs I wasn't previously familiar with, and I learned that if a song didn't grab my interest within the first 20 seconds, it would likely never get my attention or grow on me. And from listening to so much music in a short time, I've discovered that bad vocals can really be a deal breaker for me. I can forgive occasionally sloppy instrumentation, poor lyrics etc. if a singer is compelling.

I've noticed for me this applies even to hip hop, as there is a particular rapper who shall remain nameless who I can't stand because his voice is so grating.

So basically, in order of importance, it would be a good hook, good vocals and then quality songwriting.

Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: I am a fan of a lot of genres of music, mostly in the indie rock scene, particularly artists in post/space rock and dream/twee pop subgenres. Naturally I've been a long time fan of Stereolab, and in looking at their career, they are a band that didn't radically change their sound between albums, but over time, ended up with an entirely different sound now than the one they began their career with. But there are so many kinds of music I enjoy, from funk to alt country and so many points in between that it is hard to make a choice on one genre.

Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?

A: As someone who wasn't really served by terrestrial radio where I lived, the variety of internet stations that proliferated in the late 1990's brought a lot of music that I would have otherwise not have heard to my attention. Unfortunately, that kind of programming has slowly been squeezed out of existence by legislation and institutions which do not serve the interests of artists, but rather the labels and the larger radio networks.

And given the increasingly litigious nature of the record labels and their representative organizations, due to the increased powers they've acquired through legislation since the passage of the DMCA in 1998, it has altered my use of a lot of music and other media which would otherwise promote the work of hard working midlist and up and coming musicians.

For the most part, I am still affected by my fears regarding legal action and my podcasts reflect that, as I use only podsafe, precleared music or work which I've acquired permission from the artist in question or their label. I've seen the crackdown at Youtube on music videos over the past couple of years because the labels weren't happy with that music being available in that form, and I wouldn't want to open my email to discover a podcast had been taken down because of the same issue, so I try to avoid that kind of exposure as much as a can.

Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel that that is a true statement?

A: Myspace and blogging bring two different things to the music sales equation. When you think about it, each blog is a community, and represents a somewhat independent voice, two factors which make discussions about bands, music and other issues more effective. From my experience, bloggers tend to form tight-knit groups, and when one blogger discusses a particular artist, video or event, others in that group tend to pick up on that and start discussing it themselves on their own blog. And each time the subject comes up in a new place, it takes on a different, personal spin. Blogging is especially effective when the artist is one of the participants in this kind of community building.

Myspace on the other hand tends to be a top-down method of distributing information. When I visit the Myspace page for an artist, I don't really feel a personal connection to them, almost as if the site itself sets up a barrier between me as the fan and the artist themselves, despite the social networking basis of the site. I know from personal experience that I've been more likely to buy an album from an artist after reading their blog than after visiting their Myspace page.

So while Myspace may provide better tools to sell albums directly to fans, blogging provides, at least in my opinion, a wider community around a band which in turn, results in higher album sales.


Hopefully I didn't come off as either an idiot or some pompous blowhard or both.


Arjan said...

nothing pompous to be found.
Cool interview.

A real good point about blog vs myspace. Although I do feel that it can change if the blog part is done too much by others than the actual band.

Semaj said...

a very good interview. As a person that has interviewed people, you provided a great of information and got your points across without making it complicated.

I have agree with you on the Myspace vs. blog thing. Now how does Twitter fit into this though?

Micgar said...

Good interview, Matt! I so want to know who the rapper with the grating voice is. I have some ideas, but maybe your opinion is different from mine.
Could it be Akon?

MC said...

Arjan: Well, naturally I was talking about members of the band actually doing the work/interaction. A ghostwriter in that case would soon ring hollow.

Semaj: Twitter seems to me to be less community oriented (because it seems like it would be hard to find all the @'s for a particular artist/celeb tweet.

Micgar: No, it isn't Akon... but if someone guesses correctly, I will reveal that name.

Maven said...

KUDOS for the acknowledgement!!

Maven said...

PS: Regarding twitter... if you were concerned about finding the tweets for a specific topic, you can put a #(song title/artist name/whatever) and you can follow it on the trends...

GatheringDust said...

Congrats to getting picked for the interview, Matt. I agree, nothing pompous to be found, just personable and honest. :)

- RB

Semaj said...

The rapper: It is either Ja Rule or DMX. But it could be Lil John

MC said...

Maven: I meant trying to follow the replies to a specific tweet when compared to following the responses to an individual blogpost.

Semaj: Yep, you nailed it. It is Ja Rule.

RB: Thank you for your vote of confidence.

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