I wasn’t going to talk about this yet, but then I had an interaction with an artist that forced my hand. Someone sent me a song asking for a write-up. It was one I included on our most recent playlist so I thought it deserved its own post. I asked the artist for the lyrics because I have trouble understanding some of the lines. Still, I felt confident in my decision to share it because it is a vibe-centric track. Delivering Earth-shattering wisdom was never the goal.
When I asked for the lyrics, the artist obliged, but not without asking me why I wanted them. Given that he asked me to cover the song I thought my wanting the lyrics would be self-explanatory. Evidently, it wasn’t. This reminded me how pervasive the normalization of thoughtless write-ups is becoming. Artists are so accustomed to writers disregarding their lyrics that requests to see them are confounding.
Now, I’m not saying my long-winded write-ups are for everyone. Nor am I making any claims to quality or superiority. Some people want to listen while others want to read and listen. Different strokes for different folks. What I am saying is that, by moving away from analysis and appraisal, these “blogs” are devolving into glorified Soundcloud accounts. If the goal is to share content with your “readers” then why not share it on a platform streamlined to do exactly that?
My suspicion is that doing so would cut their revenue. The “blog” is making content less accessible predicated on the promise of analysis. In theory, the blog provides a space for the writer to share their thoughts on the music. In reality, all the thoughts shared are empty and repetitive. As a result, there is only one functional difference between the blog and a Soundcloud page. The blog can charge businesses for ads and artists for coverage.
One thing these HypeBeast Bloggers have to offer that NB doesn’t is a busier stream of new content. When you copy-paste a press release it dwarfs the time it takes to “write” a post. But this is exactly why our site has a section of Soundcloud playlists and YouTube videos. There aren’t any write-ups accompanying tracks in this section, just lots of content. But wouldn’t you rather have nothing to read than read something with nothing to say?
This practice cheats readers out of actual content. But what’s worse is that it keeps artists stagnant. Or, at least, it fails to capitalize on an opportunity to help the artist grow. If a blog has no gradient in their assessment of submissions the artists never learns what they need to work on. This is not to say we need be all criticism. Helpful feedback exists somewhere between criticism and appreciation. Too much of either and the blog starts to lose that which distinguishes it from a Soundcloud page.
In closing, I would like to make an admittedly pretentious distinction. Bloggers don’t use a template to promote content before commanding readers to listen. Nor do they copy-paste press releases. These are the actions of the HypeBeast Blogger. Unfortunately, because this approach is lucrative, the HypeBeast Blogger is here to stay. And to any artists looking for such a “blog” post, I have provided a template below for you to use. Fill it out and you’ve in effect gotten what you would if you were to submit in earnest. Email me so we can set up a way for you to get me the fifty dollars you owe me.
Peep this fire (track/album/EP) from (artist’s home town) artist (artist name). Over dope production (artist name) flows like they make it too easy. Don’t sleep on this artist, (artist name) is bound to be next up so don’t sleep. If you don’t believe me, check out (track/album/EP) for yourself below.”