The trouble with music…

… is that is can be so distracting!

It’s been a hectic week so far as I’ve been ploughing through new music, press releases and forward-planning future commissions. But there’s still so much out there that I haven’t yet heard.

It’s a topic that keeps coming up time and time again but there just isn’t any central hub for people to find out about new music any more. Back in the days (oh, how I sound old!), you’d have a small selection of magazines, radio stations and TV shows who would educate you on the latest releases. Maybe they were selective – there were always fanzines and the local gig circuit – but they’d still give you a good feel of what was out there. Even when the internet first started, you could go to a webzine on your selected genre or perhaps a forum/newsgroup and read up on the latest noise but now it seems that everyone, everywhere is in a band and there are only so many hours in the day in which you can listen to them!

The internet has speeded up our lives and communication but it’s also empowered people.  Nowadays, anyone can be a musician/writer/artist/director/model etc with one click of the “publish” button but how on earth do we separate the wheat from the chaff?

We still have some great music magazines (I’m privileged to say I write for some of them!) and respectable channels that broadcast new talent but are these mediums as reliable as they were? At the end of the day, no medium is all-inclusive. As a music journalist, I rely very heavily on PRs to tell me all about forthcoming releases and I subscribe to some mailing lists and internet communities that keep me up-to-date with comings and goings but I read something the other week that rather startled me. An underground band whose blog I subscribe to was berating a zine writer for not mentioning their latest release. Fair enough. Except this band had deliberately not notified said writer of this release, expecting him instead to trawl the internet and stumble upon it by chance. The justification was that if this writer was worth his salt, he would actively be hunting down new bands 24/7. Maybe that’s true but maybe this band should also be prepared to do their bit.

Oh how I wish there were more hours in the day for me to spend them foraging for new sounds this but sadly there aren’t. While I’m not suggesting that all bands should hire PRs to do their spamming, there is definitely a more active role they could play in getting their material out there. Finding things on the internet takes time – you have to know what you’re looking for, for starters – and as bizarre as it sounds, modern society’s quick-fixes have left us all with less time on our hands. As a journalist, I am expected to build myself an online presence as well as hunt out new music,  write articles and go about my daily business – my job is never 9-5! This isn’t a sob-story but a simple plea for bands to promote themselves to journalists so we know you’re out there.

We’re now nearing the end of the second week of January and already my calendar is filling up with promising gigs. Deadlines will doubtless prevent me from attending all of them but I’m really looking forward to stumbling across some exciting new talent. This is, afterall, why I became a music writer in the first place! But bands, please, let people know you’re playing so we can come along and discover you!

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