Category Archives: General

Could music journalism be more profitable away from the web?

The Quietus - coverRecently you may have seen my post singing the praises of the new Quietus anthology, which might just be the finest compendium of music writing I’ve read in a few years now.

Since finishing it though, something about it has been playing on my mind. Perhaps not one thing; more a collection of realisations. In no particular order, these are:

1. I still don’t look at The Quietus website as much as I should – and I’m probably missing some good articles as a result.

2. I do all my leisurely reading via Kindle e-books, books and magazines. This is because I sit at a computer all day for my job; reading news & articles from one just doesn’t work from me. If I am reading from an online device, its my Nexus 7… but even then I tend to limit it to Kindle e-books because I want to focus and not get distracted by that “read for 2mins then surf on” behaviour that comes with websites.

3. The Quietus is, by their own admission, hardly raking in a ton of money from advertising – which, if I’m not mistaken, is their primary source of income as a business.

4. Something I loved about the Quietus’ anthology is that I enjoyed reading about artists or albums I wasn’t so familiar with every bit as much as those I was a huge fan of. Part of the reason for this was that I was reading these articles in an environment where I had the time (and lack of distractions) to really get into them. Had I been reading them on a website, there’s a pretty high chance I would – rightly or wrongly – have just moved on because when I’m browsing I’m immediately more ADHD about how long I spend on content.

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Attribution: How content creators get screwed and why it needs fixing

raceNote: this article first appeared on Drowned In Sound on September 3rd 2013.

Last week, Music Ally published a relatively small but nonetheless notable story: Daft Punk had surpassed 100m streams on Spotify – quite a milestone for both the band and the streaming music service.

The following day, the same story about Daft Punk appeared on the Music Week website. What was notable, however, was that Music Week had failed to credit Music Ally in any way. To all intents and purposes, it looked like news Music Week had generated themselves. The day after, the same thing happened on Music Ally got in touch with both sites and pointed out that they had originated this story (that is to say, they hadn’t received a press release along with many others and run their version of this news – they’d happened to notice the stream count and turned it into a news post). Both sites ultimately amended their articles to give due credit.

In that instance, the issue was resolved perfectly amicably. However both episodes are fine examples of an ever-growing problem, namely the lack of attribution in online content creation. Ask any credible website of note and I’m sure they’ll give you at least one example. Drowned In Sound famously saw most of their interview with Paul McCartney reprinted by the Daily Mail with no credit given. Buzzfeed routinely run stories driven from Reddit – as do so many other websites that it would be entirely fair to describe Reddit as the primordial ooze from which 90% of viral content flows. Every day, photos, jokes and more are shared on social networks, with the creator of that content blissfully unaware.

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In praise of: the new Quietus anthology

The Quietus - coverThe Quietus is a website I have a huge amount of admiration for. Like Drowned In Sound, they retain a fierce credibility and some fine depth to their writing – two things I don’t see much elsewhere at present (he writes, gazing in the direction of the NME…). I religiously read the priceless “Horns Up Ya Shitters!” metal column, as its now become the singular source for the best metal releases each month (to the point where it leaves me missing the Black Friday Radio Show I once hosted on ResonanceFM – to date possibly still the only ever drive-time black metal show). Beyond that though, I don’t check the site as much as I should. Not for any reason – just life gets in the way. No great excuses, that’s just how it is.

I was delighted then to discover that they have just issued an anthology of articles from their first five years as an e-book for Kindle. I purchased it yesterday evening, and I’ve only been dragged away from it since by life once again getting in the way. This anthology has some great articles and, put simply, I cannot recommend it enough. Whether its Quietus co-founder Luke Turner berating the baby boomers, Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess writing about the pitfalls of authoring his second book or – my current favourite – Bad Seed Warren Ellis writing about his fashion tastes and penchant for a fine pair of shoes, this has a brilliant spread of pieces covering all manner of topics.

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Affiliate links

Just a quick one to say that from now on I’ll be using affiliate links when linking out to products. Initially it will only apply to stuff on Amazon, but we’ll see. Personally I don’t have an ethical problem with affiliate revenue, and am quite glad that cool sites like Wirecutter get some money back for recommending me decent tech equipment etc. So, I’ll be doing the same here. I hardly think it will bring in insane levels of income, but figured it was still worth trialling purely to see what’s possible.

If for any reason you’re not in favour of that, just don’t click the links to products and go search them directly on the service. I’m fine with that too 😉

458 John Peel shows now online to stream and download [UPDATE: killed by the BBC]

Mother of God… for me this is like being handed a time machine to go visit any point in my musical history. I could write volumes talking about how much John Peel informed my broad musical tastes growing up as a kid in the Shires; aside from grabbing Melody Maker and other music mags and zines, this was the only way to hear about all that other crazy stuff going on out there. Even now my memories are less of his playing Nirvana, The Pixies and the like that occupied the indie movement around ’90/’91, and more of the bands I never managed to find beyond his show. Wig, Belt, 7 Seconds of Nausea and Puffball are all names that stick in my memory precisely because I tried like hell to find their releases and failed. I eventually found a download of Wig’s “Just Obscene” just 12 months ago – so around 20 years after I first heard it!

I’m told that in due course every single piece of radio broadcast by the BBC will be made available to stream online, as part of the BBC Open program. I almost fear when that day comes, because I’ll lose days if not weeks to trawling the treasures that lie within. For now though, I’ll make do with this motherlode… as fine a surprise as I’ve ever had of a morning. Enjoy!

UPDATE 12/09/12: Inevitably, it looks like the BBC have issued a complaint to Soundcloud and the Sets are now empty. Boooo!! That said, they appear to have totally missed the fact that all the individual tracks are still up (for now). So, get searching!