Do EDM Blogs Serve a Purpose?

By Ravi in DJ News, DJ's, EDM, EDM News
Friday, February 15, 2013, 10:00am. (Updated: 2/26/13 at 4:23pm) Add comments

A Brief Examination of EDM Blogging
Editorial by Ravi Bayanker, Brand Manager – Glow Washington DC

Are you in it to help spread the music? Or is it about all access comps and Facebook pics of you and your favorite DJ? This is my challenge to the ‘EDM’ media. Be honest. Be original. It’s about the scene… not about being seen.

worst edm blogs
What is the purpose of music entertainment media? Announcing concert tours? Spreading badass tunes to the masses? Providing a behind the scenes look at your favorite artists? What about informing people of juicy gossip and major happenings on the business end?

We are humans living in the age of information. The world is at our fingertips and the speed at which news spreads gets faster by the minute. We’re also an opinionated species. Translation? We cannot shut up. Internet blogs have given everyone the ability to spread their thoughts. 5% of these thoughts are of value. 95% are diarrhea. This article is thoughtful diarrhea.

There are a lot of great things that result from covering the music industry. But the days of William Miller going on tour with Stillwater are over. It feels like all I see these days (in the EDM world) are 12,000 recycled festival flyers, the latest release on Spinnin’ Records and fluffy reviews of Tiesto shows.

It was the late 00’s and early 10’s when our beloved ‘EDM’ found its way into the mainstream. And so the EDM blogging subculture was born. It’s that subculture – its purpose, relevance and the people fueling it that I’m here to examine.

Who are EDM Bloggers?

dada life at electric zoo
Some of them are aspiring industry professionals, others college students, while other EDM bloggers are just people who absolutely love dance music.

Many people who run blogs and online magazines find the term ‘blogger’ offensive. They prefer to be called ‘journalists.’

A ‘journalist’ is defined by merriam-webster.com as “a writer who aims at a mass audience.” A ‘reporter’ is defined as “a person who is employed by a newspaper, magazine, or television company to gather and report news. A person who broadcasts news.”

Anyone can write something and aim it at a mass audience. It’s whether or not they hit their target after pressing the red button that matters. There’s a word in that second definition which peaks my interest… ‘news.’

News can be defined several ways:

  1. A report of recent events
  2. Previously unknown information
  3. Something having a specified influence or effect
  4. Newly received or noteworthy information, esp. about recent or important events

For this article I’ll use the term ‘news’ loosely, like how TMZ, The National Enquirer, People Magazine or Daniel Tosh would use it.

For me it’s all about relevance and transparency. But ya know what really grinds my gears? ‘Journalists’ with sneaky agendas.

What sort of content can you find on an EDM Blog?

line at the club
Generally you find things like new music, event reviews, industry gossip, artist interviews, after movies, event photos and occasionally, original content. What do I mean by original content? It sounds kind of douchey, but this editorial is a great example. I picked a topic that no one else is talking about (publicly, at least), did some research and presented my findings.

The Loophole:

It can be rather accommodating to blog about ‘EDM’ or ‘house music’ in a general sense. It gives people the opportunity to hustle their way in anywhere. It also waters down your blog as far as I’m concerned. If you cover just trance, just techno, just moombahton or just deep house, cool. You can really target a niche. If you cover everything I just assume you’re trend-jumping to get media creds at the club.

People claim to be journalists when in reality they’re sneaky fans that found a loophole. They cover all dance music, as opposed to specific sub-genres. They expect event comps and backstage passes in exchange for positive event reviews. I know this because I’ve been promised great reviews in exchange for press. I’m not knocking their hustle. I just think someone needs to (publicly) call it what it is.

Break Time:

Here, take a break from reading and watch Tosh interview Sweet Brown

The Illusion of Exposure:

When it comes to event coverage, it’s impossible to tell who provides adequate exposure and who is along for the free ride. If your blog has a page rank of 2 and your Facebook page has 3,000 likes and 174 people talking about it, what value does it provide?

I believe a good EDM blog not only provides useful information to consumers, but also unique content from an educated perspective. A music media outlet should publicize artists, events, people and above all else, music. It should be interesting, engaging and most importantly, relevant. Event coverage, in the end, should result in ticket sales, right?

I appreciate all the ‘journalists’ who have provided Glow with pre and post-event coverage. But who is consuming this media? And how many consumers are there?

Case-Study:

I once had a manager ask me to coordinate a video interview with his artist and an outside media outlet. I made it happen. 6 months later the interview still had less than 1,000 views on YouTube. Later on, a different artist’s managemer asked me to set something up with the same outlet. I told them it was a waste of time. Why? Because it didn’t provide exposure to a new audience.

I was once denied an interview at Electric Zoo by an artist we’ve booked several times. At first I was offended. I represent Glow. We are a consistent revenue stream! We need this interview to sell tickets! I then came to find said artist was only doing interviews with hip-hop magazines. I realized my coverage was augmenting, as opposed to building. The hip-hop interview would expose the artist to new fans (and possibly bring us new fans the next time we book him). My interview was merely padding an already-solidified market.

At the end of the day, if a media outlet isn’t increasing the exposure of an artist, event or piece of music, then why should they be granted extra privileges? Where is the value?

As an event producer, I’m looking for reporters to help us reach fans that will actually come out.

Localization:

US club destinations
Where are these blogs based? What about their readers?

Are you looking for track lists from other cities? Are you from a small-market that doesn’t get the big names? Did you want to know how dance music’s debut at MSG went? Those are all valid reasons a reader would have for reading an out of town event review.

From what I read about the MSG show, it was an epic event where people jumped up and down and felt inspired by house music. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. What I am saying is that I could have written that review from my couch.

It feels like most blogs only want in if it’s NY, LA, Vegas and Miami. Every review I read is about Steve Aoki on an inflatable raft or some girl showing her vagina to Diplo. That is not reporting. That is star fucking.

I think the opening of Echostage is newsworthy for several reasons. The most important being it’s the first large-scale, EDM-specific DC venue since Nation.

But please, journalists – don’t treat me like a fool. You’re not doing me a favor by covering Echostage events unless you’re doing one of two things:

  1. Exposing the product to a new audience
  2. Galvanizing the local community

If you’re not a source (Billboard, Rolling Stone, etc.) then what value are you really providing?

I reached out to the Washington Post to cover Porter Robinson. They are local, have a wide distribution and can expose us to a new audience. The reporter informed me that he had planned on just buying a ticket and showing up. We helped arrange a short interview. I asked the reporter if he wanted to hang out backstage and get drinks. He told me he prefers the crowd. The action. The experience. He came to write a story about the party. He didn’t come to be seen.

He wasn’t hung up on tweeting pictures of himself backstage. He was there for a relevant, local story. He also didn’t need to be coddled.

Credit Where Credit’s Due

There are definitely some great EDM journalists out there. One had a Skype interview with Al Walsler days after that curious Grammy nomination. Another moved from one very reputable outlet to Billboard. Others have been able to parlay their success into media sponsorship at high profile WMC events. There are also blogs who get love from the artists and at times, are asked to break new music, mixes, etc. Some are making money.

I just think the sheer number of EDM Blogs makes it hard to find the good ones. There are so many self-proclaimed ‘experts’ out there. There are also so many new artists popping up that the music is starting to get watered down. But that’s a story for a different article.

The Final Straw

This guy gets it. Take notice at 2:21

Those who claim to be in it for the music but then expect +1s, back stage passes and artist access under the guise of providing exposure… you are my inspiration for this piece.

I had one kid ask for a press pass to Tiesto. He showed up and badgered me to bring him backstage for a chat with the tour manager. He kept telling me he knew him. They supposedly did shots in Miami. Meanwhile I’m thinking to myself, “So text the guy yourself. What do you need me for?”

This ‘journalist’ wrote his review 3 weeks later and backdated it on his website. He referred to Tiesto’s remix of Silence as Tiesto – Delirium. It’s just like… come on bro. You are the reason

I’d like to issue a challenge to anyone who writes on EDM:

Go outside the box. Make us think. Be original. Give press to those who are building. Whether it’s up and coming artists, innovative industry vets, major happenings on the business end, unique aspects of the various scenes, whatever.

Also, be more focused. Stick to a couple genres and then dig. Stick to your city and then dig. Don’t hold back negative comments based on fear of losing your ‘EDM social status.’ Constructive criticism is fine. Trollish rants are not. It’s simple.

In the immortal words of Gus Haynes (The Wire, City Desk Editor – Baltimore Sun):
 

“Some shameful shit going on here.”

12 Responses to “Do EDM Blogs Serve a Purpose?”

Comments (10) Pingbacks (2)
  1. Ben Hebert says:

    Someone had to say it and I’m glad this is the source. I agree that the space is crowded and new blogs or bloggers should target a niche and excel in it. You don’t need to be everything to everyone. It’s better to be very special to few. That’s how you create brand loyalty and start to build a following.

    What we’re seeing now are so many blogs that are only recycling content. Whether it be a new track, press release or other item. They race to press publish first, when really it doesn’t even matter. They ask for passes and access without delivering any value.

    Relationships need to be developed and built overtime… but more than that they need to be mutual. Without being able to reciprocate and provide something to the PR Agent, Artist, Promoter, Venue etc… there is no relationship.

  2. Alex says:

    Good article. I definitely agree with some of your points. Since I work full time now and don’t have the time I did in college to scour for new music all day, blogs are a great tool to help point out new music to others. That said, while I do frequent some of the bigger, more mainstream EDM blogs that cover all the bases, I do wish that there were some that were a little more focused. I would consider myself to have varied taste in EDM and music in general, but I still know what I prefer. Rather than have to go through and give everything a listen and wash out the Electro and DnB (not my cups of tea), I wish it were a little easier to just pick the subgenres and hear from people who are focused on that and finding the best within that category. As for the reviews, definitely would like to see a little more variety in those, be it different venues, more artist variety (feel like I’ve read a review on every Afrojack show ever performed) or maybe even giving more focus on the openers/closers. Just as with everything, I don’t mind hearing some of the same stuff that can be heard all over the place, I just want it mixed in with more originality. (Same with remixes…why are the same songs always remixed or bootlegged, instead of finding random Indie, Blues, any other genre.)

  3. Sean says:

    You know who does it right? DancingAstronaut and BeatMyDay

  4. Julian says:

    Although I don’t feel the exact sentiment of this posts tone, I couldn’t agree more.

    “From what I read about the MSG show, it was an epic event where people jumped up and down and felt inspired by house music. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. What I am saying is that I could have written that review from my couch.”

    So much information is regurgitated and diminished via a constant repetitive rehashing. Why are you writing about something? Because other people are? Because other people want you to? Or because you give a shit?

    Thanks for being the voice of a hopeful minority of writers who are here for the right reasons.

    Julian
    LivefortheDrop.com

  5. Jason says:

    Thank you for an overview that is precise and accurate. There are too many out there
    and many are recycling and have no real value. Here’s some I like and don’t like and the reasons why.

    Like:
    Mix Mag, original content and REAL fans engaging.
    Less than 3, cutting edge and on top of their marketing. Just ashame they had to buy likes not sure why they did that?
    Peanut Butter and Jams, good for new music and also original, been around a few years now.

    Dislike:
    Dancing Astro, (most would disagree and say they are great) found them too corporate and without soul.
    TechiBeats, worst of the batch. Comes across like a high school student who’s been to 1 show in his life.
    EDM Magazine, Doesn’t offer anything dj mag or mix mag hasn’t already done before them.

  6. I totally agree with the article. I come from the background as a dj and a media artist. Im into the behind the scenes. I want to know the gossip. People want to know the little details. I do interviews with local artists. I build releationships. Born in NY but bottled in Miami, im about to move up to DC and explore my abilities. That is why I am on this site. Finding out what exactly DC nightlife has to offer when it comes to dance.

    Having lived in over 7 countries, I have been exposed to a lot of music.

    Its like everything in life. Its like matching an outfit. Not everyone knows fashion. Not everyone knows how to configure objects and place them accordingly. It really takes that special somebody that knows the history and employs a steady dose of passion.

    Having conducted interviews with Dj Chus and Patrick M from Stereo-Productions, I cam to find out the little things that most don’t get from interviews. Come to find out, Patrick M actually said NO to Luis Puig to be the Space Resident in Miami. He turned down Space 2wice!! That was before he realized that he would have been an idiot no to take. The rest is history. I record his birthday sets live at Club space every October.

    So you see, its knowing your artists. Not one off interviews but building relationships. I package and edit his sets and send them off so he can post on his music sites. I do this for others. Im in talks with Chis Porter from Teka (Lima) and will bring my power moves to the DC area.

    There are those that are serious and those that are in it for the light. Those that hustle and make it happen, are those that succeed and prosper.

  7. And by the way, DCVAMD needs a nightlife forum. I a big contributor to the nightlife forums in miami but most of us are older and have more to offer than what latency settings are used for traktor scratch pro…. We are the first to break stories regarding SFX buying out Opiu Group… We gets down.

    DC definitely needs a proper forum.

  8. Peter says:

    Your article is pinpoint. The web is way too saturated with generic EDM blogs looking to get followers. Bloggers should focus on promoting local or less known DJ’s/producers so that they can get recognized. This in turn brings about new content, more variety, and healthy competition amongst other DJ’s.

  9. Austin G says:

    Ravi,

    Impressive that I actually finished this piece at 630AM before work. Really enjoyed it. I think one point you missed, and my biggest issue, is the constant positivity. Not everyone can provide added value, or higher exposure, because their blog doesn’t have the clout yet, or it’s a topic that’s been well-covered.
    What’s most important to me is that the piece is unique and honest. There’s always going to be 4500 writers writing about the same topic, it’s the sad but true nature of the beast. What bothers me is when every single review is ‘sick’ or the DJ ‘killed it’ or the show was ‘awesome’ and the crowd was ‘incredible’.

    Be honest with me and tell me if the EP was just OK. Don’t lie to me and tell me his cookie-cutter set was ‘killin’ it’.

    I most appreciate an honest review that truly says hey, I didn’t love it, and here’s why. That’s value to me, that says: Hey producer/performer, step your game up. And at the same time it does it without being an unnecessary troll just to be a troll.

    Or, just review it. Tell me how the sound matches his influence, how the record will change their path moving forward, etc. I don’t care if you liked it or disliked it, truly.

    And one more thing, I wish I could say I wanted more editorials, but I don’t. There’s a fantastic amount of editorial garbage out there. This was a great one though. Keep it up Ravi, see you on the block.

    Austin G

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