We live in an era in which people make convenience a priority. We have shorter attention spans which drives our desire to consume tailored content quickly and with minimal effort. This is partly why we love using products like Instagram or Twitter: they are simple, convenient and allow us to quickly consume and discover content that interests us.
Unfortunately, in 2016, most music blogs do not fulfill these requirements. There is no shortage of them, and it can be difficult to find the ones that match what we are looking for. On a music blog, each atomic piece of information shared, whether it be a song, an album, a review, an interview, news or a story is presented in a blog post. This method of communication requires the reader to do a minimum of one click to consume each piece of information. Most blog posts contain a song, and because it is difficult to appreciate music without listening to it, the reader has to make extra clicks to listen to the music in each post. All of this is to say that music blogs require their audiences to take many manual steps in order to consume the content. That was fine a decade ago, when people didn't know where to find or discover new music and music blogs were the only reliable and accessible place to do so online.
In the last few years, things have changed. Everybody has a smartphone, which accounts for the majority of their content consumption. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music became mainstream. They are accessible on desktop, laptop, smartphone and even your car. You can find them on pretty much any device connected to the internet. They bring millions of songs at the touch of a finger anywhere you are, helping you to discover music through expertly curated playlists advanced algorithms that tailor recommendations to your tastes. All of this is wrapped in a user-friendly interface that anyone can access in 2 to 3 clicks.
Music blogs have failed to evolve to meet these changing trends, leading to a loss of audiences, who are switching to streaming services. Aware of this, some blogs have started to diversify their content, sharing celebrity news, gossip and other click-bait content in order to maintain their audience and stay afloat. As Nathan Slavik, an internationally-known music blogger, has written in his article Artists, Don’t Pay for Blog Posts. Blog Posts Are Dead, some blogs have even started charging artists to share their content.
Will music blogs disappear? If they do not evolve, then they very well could. However, I firmly believe they can and will evolve, and some have already begun to do so. They are changing their format, investing in improving the user experience and increasing convenience by creating weekly playlists to highlight great music. Unfortunately, with playlists, it is not possible to share articles, news, reviews and other content that is a part of the identity and value of a blog. Some bloggers have even started podcasts, which provide the music and the unique perspective of the blog all in one. Not everybody can make a successful podcast as it requires time and skills that not all music blogger have, but they are certainly more easy to consume and more appealing to today's audience than browsing through blog posts. The wave of change is happening, but It needs to happen faster.
I think music bloggers are underrated and overlooked by the music industry and the general public. Most people have forgotten that what made them unique and popular in the first place is still there: their passion and great taste in music. Even with all the streaming services and the technology that exists now, that passion and taste is still unmatched. Just like the people in this world, music bloggers are diverse individuals with different opinions, philosophies and beliefs. This is why multiple music blogs in the same genre were able to co-exist happily. In the world of streaming services, that diversity is lost. Music bloggers have what it takes to evolve and mature but I think they are just missing the appropriate tools to do so. They need tools that will help them express themselves and share in a way that appeals to the music listeners of today. At Trebble, we want to participate in empowering music bloggers and music influencers by building a platform with the tools that will help them. We are not the only ones, fortunately, and online tools like SubmitHub from Jason Grishkoff is a good testament of how technology can help improve the efficiency and productivity of music bloggers. Music bloggers could be considered by some as a small participant in the music ecosystem, but they are key to maintaining equilibrium, and the time has not yet come for them to be replaced.