This rebuttal ironically comes from a music blogger, and complicates my claim that blogs are poised to supersede traditional labels. Dave Allen of Pempelmoose, states that blogs will simply not be the new music labels. He credits this thinking to the crisis-mode state that the entire music industry is in and their hastiness to "grasp at straws." His counterpoints center on a blogs' need to remain independent and his idea that record labels will not discontinue their functions as A&R sources. Allen rebuts by saying that a blog must remain pure. Plainly said, if they are contaminated by the corporate steamroller, blogs will lose the credibility they have garnered throughout the years. Also, if MP3 blogging becomes a careerist endeavor, blogs will be shackled by a conflict of interest (promoting their own bands), betraying the very nature on which MP3 Blogs were founded. Also in regards to A&R, Allen states that the ceiling is caving in on major, not indie labels, who he claims to be thriving and will continue to act as band developers.
Allen is correct that if MP3 blogging became about money and sales, a conflict of interest would ensue. However, there would be other blogs around who would police these postulated 'label-blogs' and poseurs would be quickly flagged and discredited. Allen's second point is also true--major labels are flailing. However that is all the more reason why MP3 blogs could become the new labels. Capitalizing on the lack of trust in major record labels, a new system could develop--a congregation of smaller blogs.
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.
In this article Miles Raymer of the Chicago Reader makes a claim that MP3 Blogs could be viable record labels. He establishes MP3 blogs as "curatorial" in function, performing the acts of a talent scout, and then offering the band an endorsement in the form of a good review. He makes a note of the reader's loyalty to and trust in the blogs he or she visits. Because blogs project a personality, it presents the illusion of a one-on-one friendship as opposed to the face-less record label. The blog takes on the role of friend instead of a stoic music pusher. It would only make sense, as he says, for these blogs to start signing and developing acts considering the strong brand loyalty and audience blogs would already have.
This article is a major point in my argument that blogs have transformed the music industry. Raymer points out that Blogs are poised to replace traditional labels, since Old Media has lost out due to the tight reigns of radio and the narrow thinking of many major labels. Blogs allow a direct appeal to the consumer under the guise of a helpful friend. It is only a natural transition for them to become the industry norm, superseding the traditional label. In a sense, these MP3 blogs would be acting like the all-encompasing labels of yesteryear such as Motown--finding the act, being the means of the publicity, and serving as A&R executives.