Digging Your Scene
The heyday of music blogging predicted a future of endless niche outlets for music coverage. Instead, the number of music sites is condensing and release coverage appears increasingly homogeneous. Could there be even fewer places for publicists to pitch to then there were in the pre-internet era? Billboard examines the ‘Shrinking Media Landscape:’
Part of the problem, [publicist Nathan] Walker believes, is the decimation of regionally focused media outlets: alt-weeklies, zines, city-specific blogs and websites. The loss of publications like Baltimore’s City Paper, the Boston Phoenix and The Village Voice took a valuable rung out of the ladder many bands in those markets used on their way to landing national coverage. “There’s something to be said for organic growth that is fostered by local music writers,” he says.
This goes hand-in-hand with my theory why we aren’t seeing obvious new music movements or genres pop up: the waning influence of local and regional identities, made opaque by the absence of dedicated support systems (local music papers, college radio focused on regional scenes, and so on). There are opportunities here for local music communities to fill these holes … the strategy is to think local, aim global. When starting out, it’s a mistake to think global out of the gate.
Another quote from the Billboard piece:
There’s no magic formula for “going viral” and most publicists interviewed agreed that, no matter how much the media landscape changes or contracts, their number-one job is still to help their artists tell their story in a way that will compel journalists and fans alike. … [Publicist Talia] Miller: “I’ve found the most helpful way to promote new tracks from less well-established artists is to develop the story behind those songs.”
As a recording artist, the best place to create a compelling story is within your local scene. And, if you’re starting a music blog or media outlet, the easiest way to fill a niche is to cover that scene.