Countless music blogs are up and running in cyberspace, and each one is just a little bit different than the other. There are lots of factors that play into why people read the certain blogs that they do, one of them (and perhaps the most obvious) being the kind of music they like. Mainstream music fans might turn to sites such as AOL or MTV, whereas people who like specific types of music, such as pop, rap/r&b/hip-hop, or EDM (electronic dance music) might visit Popcrush, The BoomBox, or RageTracks. But what is it about these different blogs that makes us want to read them?
Before these blogs even get any traffic on their sites, they need to create unique content and a unique look that will separate them from every other blog out there, especially the blogs that only focus on one type of music genre. Most people are aware that AOL and MTV are major news sites with all sorts of information, not only about music. The more individualized blogs need to differentiate themselves from others in the same genre in order to be successful. According to three articles about creating successful music blogs (Pigeons and Planes, Dotted Music, Article Dashboard), some of the top tips include (1) posting content regularly, (2) being an expert on the subject at hand, (3) networking with other bloggers and users on the site and off, (4) writing original content that fills a void and is not provided from other bloggers, and (5) being passionate about the content of the blog.
After making the site, producing content, and gaining followers, the ways in which those followers are going to continue to view the blog are linked to whether or not the followers feel a part of the blog. This is directly linked to the topoi of the blogs. Speaking from my own experience with EDM blogs in particular (since I’m obsessed with that music genre right now), there are many similarities in the topoi. Patterns specific to EDM include a laid back writing style in which the blog posts can be long or short depending on the topic being discussed. If it’s a review of an album or concert, a few paragraphs of text accompanied by some pictures and maybe even a short video are provided. If it’s just an announcement, such as the lineup of an upcoming festival or a list of the top five songs of the week, the text is minimal and there will most likely be at least one picture, but the overall article is relatively short. While music, in general, is thought of to be a rather light topic, the EDM genre takes this concept to another level because of the culture that’s associated with it, i.e. PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect). To see these patterns at work, visit RageTracks, React Presents.com or EDM Sauce.
When looking at more mainstream sites, such as AOL, Yahoo, or MSN, there are different patterns to follow. The language is not as genre specific; the articles that are written for these sites are meant to appeal to a wide range of people. There are also a lot of pictures and graphics to catch people’s attention. The pictures and videos, in a many articles seem to overshadow the text, creating a scenario in which the readers only get the main points of the story. In a world where people are always on the go, this makes sense. These types of blogs seem to be geared toward the type of people who just want to get the facts.
Even though this analysis only really goes into two different genres (EDM and mainstream music), It’s interesting to think that the more genre-specific a music blog is, the more text there’s going to be with varying degrees of information, whereas mainstream blogs seem to focus on the main points, which allows a person to only have the minimum information when reading a story. The more genre-specific the blog is, the more the language and feel of the blog changes. Mainstream keeps a pretty monotone feel in terms of wanting to appeal to the masses.
In viewing several different types of music blogs, people who visit mainstream blogs are more likely to gain a general understanding of multiple genres of music, whereas people who only visit specific types of blogs are going to be more knowledgeable on that type of music as opposed to gaining insight into other genres. While there are pros and cons to each, I believe it is the topoi of these different blogs that keep viewers coming back for more no matter which blog they read.
Stay tuned for more on this topic as I dive into other genres in my next post.