The web is teem­ing with out­lets for mu­sic jour­nal­ism – so where’s the di­ver­sity?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - COVER STORY -

The other week, Lueda Alia let fly at the cur­rent state of mu­sic jour­nal­ism. The jour­nal­ist, ed­i­tor and blog­ger noted that a wide range of pub­li­ca­tions, from The Guardian and Spin to

Rolling Stone and Bill­board, had de­voted a lot to space to Kim Kar­dashian’s arse and a spat be­tween DJ and pro­ducer Di­plo and Lorde, with the lat­ter diss­ing the for­mer over the size of his pe­nis.

Alia won­dered how and why such “lu­di­crous and ir­rel­e­vant sto­ries” were been cov­ered by the pub­li­ca­tions in ques­tion. She con­cluded that, in or­der to re­main rel­e­vant and make money, the ti­tles had de­cided to go down the “TMZ-es­que” road be­cause it was easy and it worked.

If you are even just a ca­sual reader of mu­sic me­dia, you will also have come across both sto­ries. For a few days, you could not avoid ei­ther Kar­dashian’s be­hind or Di­plo’s or­gan.

It’s usu­ally at this point in the story that you pull out a small vi­o­lin and draw a com­par­i­son with the mu­sic press of old. But for ev­ery fa­bled 1980s’

NME cover story on pol­i­tics or those in-depth, hefty pro­files and long-reads of mu­sic-mak­ers that used to be the nor­mal mu­sic press diet, there were also oc­ca­sions when the old­school mu­sic press was ev­ery jot as triv­ial and celebrity-crazed as its mod­ern-day coun­ter­parts.

The big­gest change is scale. There are now many more out­lets cov­er­ing this par­tic­u­lar beat, yet the same sto­ries dom­i­nate. You would have thought that the growth in the num­ber of out­lets would have meant a cor­re­spond­ing uptick in what gets writ­ten about and more breadth of cov­er­age.

But the op­po­site has come to pass. New on­line pub­li­ca­tions are so con­cerned with at­tract­ing clicks and clock­ing up ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue that their site quickly re­sem­bles ev­ery other site on the block.

Click from out­let to out­let and the same sto­ries dom­i­nate. It’s as bad as Ir­ish mu­sic sites cov­er­ing the same gigs, new EPs and remixes day in and week out. Do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent, which you’d imag­ine would be some­thing to as­pire to for a new ti­tle seek­ing to make a mark, has be­come so rare as to be com­mented on.

A wide range of pub­li­ca­tions, from The Guardian to Rolling Stone, had de­voted a lot to space to Kim Kar­dashian’s arse

For in­stance, that bril­liant new ar­rival Won­der­ing Sound, pub­lished by eMu­sic, has brought a breath of fresh air to the form in re­cent months by virtue of what it cov­ers and how it does so. But that’s the ex­cep­tion which shows just how jaded, pre­dictable and dull the rest of the pack have be­come.

Of course, all pub­li­ca­tions will say that there’s just as much sub­stance in the mix as there is fluff. They’ll point to the fact that celebrity sto­ries are popular with read­ers (just look the most-read col­umns in rel­a­tively au­gust pub­li­ca­tions, in­clud­ing The Ir­ish Times) as a rea­son to keep pub­lish­ing them. But that’s not quite good enough. Mu­sic jour­nal­ism, it would seem, re­ally needs to fig­ure out its arse from its El­bow.


Var­i­ous Beats In Space 15th An­niver­sary Mix (Beats In

Space) Tim Sweeney (above) marks 15 years on air with his sem­i­nal WNYU ra­dio show with a stel­lar mix of ex­clu­sive tracks, knock-your- socks-off mixes and all-time clas­sics. Turn on and tune in.


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