TOP 10 TIPS ON STARTING A MUSIC BLOG
So you’re interested in starting your own personal music blog? What kind? Hip-Hop? Trip-Hop? Pitchfork-Hop? HELL! Why not all three!? Rumor has it, operating a music blog can be quite the challenge (not like we’d know or anything ;)) and I’m sure you could use a bit of guidance to get you on your way. Well, you’ve come to the right place my friend! A music blog posting advice from other music blogs about how to run a music blog. Follow these top 10 tips from America’s hottest music blog professionals and you’ll turn your little blogspot into the next Stereogum. Don’t listen and you’ll be reminiscing about how cool “Tim’s Top Ten Tracks!” was for the six months you ran it, without an audience.
Don't critique. Curate.
A lot of music blogs waste time rating and critiquing as many albums as possible. I encourage you to focus on only featuring the music that you love. There is too much amazing music out there to not stay positive. Build your audience by consistently wowing visitors with your recommendations. Most people can do without the critics. What we really need is curators who will have our backs when it's time for finding new music.
-David Isaacson, indiemuse.com
What I have learned in the seven years that I have been publishing IndieRockCafe.com is that music lovers really appreciate the work that is put into soliciting and publishing about talented DIY and under-the-radar artists and bands that rarely, if ever, get featured anywhere else on the web. This approach has provided music lovers, musicians, licensing companies and record companies a unique place to find new and gifted artists and bands right out of the gate, before they are discovered by a larger audience and other indie music blogs. Staying true to what your audience wants is perhaps the biggest lesson a music blogger can learn from our experience.
-Phillip E. Daoust, indierockcafe.com
My bit of wisdom is an oldie but a goodie. The most important thing you can do is network locally. Meet bookers, bands (and their managers/publicists), folks that work the door and security and even things closely related to music like fashion, food and art. Building a real community helps you build an online community and vice versa.
-Josh Stewart, newdust.com
Music blogging is like any other form of expressive art. You are going to hear many guidelines with “do’s and don’ts.” In reality it is all about the content produced and whether or not it comes naturally. Your content and/or stylings do not need to fit in to any cookie cutter shape. Although it is fun to look at other blogs, do not compare your self or use them as a tool for measurement. Other music blogs are not your competition if you offer original content that you believe in and is sustainable in your daily life. Let your site define itself over time since your skills and interests will become more apparent as you progress.
-Adam Richert, visiblevoice.net
When you start a music blog, you’ll be full of excitement and passion for what you’re doing, which is obviously important, but like most things it takes time to start seeing the rewards for your hard work. Unless you’re extremely fortunate, your blog and you audience will grow slowly (but surely) and there will potentially be many times when you think of giving up. Be patient though, bear in mind why you started in the first place and make sure you enjoy and celebrate every milestone, even the small ones like reaching 100 views for the first time.
-Stephen Bradley, TheGoodChristianMusicBlog.com
I’ve always loved music and as I got older, I wanted to make it somehow a part of my workday. I figured that a site like Pitchfork had to start somewhere, so I thought, “sure, why not start a music blog.” I’ve found that helping to promote new bands helps drive more exposure to my site - it’s an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” effect. I’ll post an article, the band shares it, and I get traffic to my site, which equals better rankings and more exposure for me. The best part is, I get to hear all sorts of new music from bands across the world.
-Greg Guenther, AudioHeadline.com
Write passionately. Write about the bands you want to and be honest - tell your readers how the music makes YOU feel, not how they will sound to the 'listener'. Readers can see through pieces written in a perfunctory style. If you believe in something or someone (be it a new singer/band or genre/scene), showcase your excitement - if just one person checks it out, your job is done. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve when it comes to writing about music. Songwriters do, so why shouldn't you?
-Ryan Barham, SpectralNights.com
Pick Your Niche and be Unapologetic About It
The biggest mistake you can make in starting a music blog is trying to promote all music to all people. Focus on music you are passionate about and the people you want to share it with. If you try to be too broad, blogging genres from classical to grimecore-moombah-electrotrap, you will gain no loyal followers. You can trust me on this tip; it was the biggest mistake that I initially made with my blog!
-David Drees, MelodyScore.com
Write Compelling Blog Post Titles
Once you've written a killer music blog post, your goal is to entice people to read it. There are many ways to inspire readers, but one of the most powerful is with a strong blog post title. The title (or headline) is usually the first thing people see. It's what they use to decide whether to click deeper to read the post. So make sure it's a good one. Avoid vague titles like "What I Did Last Night" or "New Music Reviews." Strong titles are specific and intriguing. Examples: "Three Surprising Things About the New Tom Petty Album," "How to Improve Your Odds of Landing a Music Showcase," "Don't Make These Five Live Music Mistakes," or "What Every Indie Musician Should Know About Spotify Playlists."
-Bob Baker, author of the Guerrilla Music Marketing books, TheBuzzFactor.com
Creep it Real.
Yo, there's a hundred (more like million) motherf'ers out there who can write a pretty good article about the hottest music album review sensation or some bullshit like that. But what u really need is a dude with a rad voice and super cool opinions who doesn't give a shit what any1 else is writing about. Legit posts from legit dudes about legit music. Is that 2 much 2 ask for? Is that 2 legit? 2 legit 2 quit?
-Kurt Kroeber / Me, BitCandy.com
Pretty awesome stuff huh? This is advice we take each and every day. This is a bold move on our part letting you in on all the hot insider secrets of music-blogdom. But hey, that’s just the kind of people we are. Benevolent souls that just want to turn you on to the raddest music in the world. Well get on with it! Start a badass blog! Post in the comments! Can’t wait to see what you do!
About Kurt Kroeber
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.