This New York Times article by David F. Gallagher, outlines the shift from old media to blogs as a means of generating buzz for a new band. The article went on record as citing Warner as the first major label to ask an MP3 blogs to play its music in the form of downloadable MP3 files on the blog Music For Robots. It also provides a cautionary tale for blogs attempting to expand within the confines of a major label. Warner's attempted to circumvent any bad comments by posting several comments saying how their band, The Secret Machines, was "so cool." When Music For Robots got wind of this they turned apprehensive to future major label involvement, saying that Warner's had turned the blog into something as deplorable as an "AOL chatroom."
This article gives weight to the argument that it would be tough for blogs to retain their independent credibility once they are bedfellows with major labels (conflicts of interest, and downright manipulation by labels could arise). It complicates my argument that a blogs could truly work alongside labels without being crushed by the corporate steamroller. However, it does add weight to my point that MP3 blogs have become legitimized by labels as a viable venture in band promotion. Also , it reaffirms that record labels have now become middle men in the music industry. If new bands appealed directly to blogs, they could avoid the major label, and appeal directly to an audience--thus beginning their careers, like Vampire Weekend
In this article Andy Greenwald, examines the success of Vampire Weekend, a band for former Columbia University undergrads, who have recently and rapidly been thrust into the forefront of the music industry because of the blog buzz they incurred. Vampire Weekend appeared on the cover of the February 2008 issue of Spin Magazine, becoming the first band in Spin's history to achieve a cover before they have released an album. Admittedly, the band avoided sending their demos to traditional record labels, calling the very idea "ultimately fruitless" due to the industry's rigid thinking. Greenwald uses Vampire Weekend as the poster-child for the radical redefinition of 'success' in the era of the Blog. The band utilized this modern-grassroots venue to showcase their music, which with the internet, allowed for instantaneous dissemination.
This article highlights the growing displacement of traditional record labels by MP3 Blogs. Bands view the traditional route of label and broadcast radio play as obsolete, so much so that they choose to opt out of the process altogether. Bands directly appeal to these new gatekeepers who in turn appeal to their audience with a review to the benefit or detriment of that particular band. Also the idea of redefining success of bands is an important point to my claim that MP3 blogs have transformed the traditional music industry. The article states that no longer is selling CDs, selling out concerts, or in this case, even having a CD out is a means of defining success. Nowadays, success comes with generating blog buzz or appearing on a TV show that premiers to your demographic. Old media now plays catch up with internet, as opposed to the pulling strings, as it had done for decades.
This article by Forutune Magazine senior writer Devin Leonard, features Jon Cohen and Rob Stone, two veteran music marketers who have turned to MP3 web sites to reach their much desired demographic. However, the difference lies in the fact that these two have gotten advertisers (blue chip companies) to sponsor free downloading. They have set up a network of MP3 blogs and have already inked deals with Microsoft and Toyota. The two say that Fortune 500 companies are finally realizing that blogs are where influential tastemakers graze, the same gatekeepers (with a constant audience) they want to advertise their products to. While independent blogs have troubles obtaining profitable ads on their sites (due to the posting of illegal copy-written material), Cohen and Stone have capitalized because their network of blogs (serving only authorized material) has an audience of 240,000 which is more enticing to advertisers.
This article takes the postulated ideas of 'blogs as labels' and puts it into practice. While this isn't exactly a record label, this is blogs acting as the publicity department for major labels, while still maintaining free content. The marriage of blue chip companies with the trendiness of blog culture is what Cohen and Stone are capitalizing on. Both advertisers and labels seem to comply and since their network of blogs appeals to 240.000 daily their audience is certainly substantial. This could be the future role of blogs in the music industry.