The Hype Machine is a music blog aggregator, in the early ‘wild-west’ era of music blogs it was responsible for introducing me to entire music scenes, new artists and people with blogs that had tastes similar to my own. I ended up meeting some of those people and in some cases, actually became ‘non-internets’ friends with them. It also levelled the playing field in a pretty revolutionary way, allowing anybody with the spare time to write and post about music the opportunity to have their voice heard.
Some music blogs had a tendency to treat it as a ‘golden cow’, it was a bountiful resource of traffic and it would be incredibly boring to list the numerous ways they would try to milk that cow. This has changed immeasurably since I’ve been away, to the point where it could be considered detrimental for my posts to be aggregated by them. Hopefully, I can tie together a memberberries post and explain that in a way which doesn’t come off as self-serving because I think in age of algorithms and having to pay social media services for people to see something you do for free and as a hobby, Hype Machine is missing a trick right now.
This is the final instalment of Monday Memberberries! I’m aware that only doing eight instalments of something is rather short-lived. An ‘OK’ amount of the archive has been restored since I started the feature and it was sort of a ‘thanks’ to all those who said nice things to me on my return to music blogging.
It’s actually been a fairly successful little weekly feature, it’s just not been the type of success that I want. Week after week tracks featured have featured in the Hype Machine’s chart, in some cases, picking up tens of thousands of plays and well, 1% of that converted into a visit to this blog. I’ve never been concerned with traffic, it’s just that I can’t ignore the irony of doing a feature that partially champions the relationships artists used to have with music blogs being screwed over by the thing that is meant to champion them. I’ve essentially been generating plays for Hype Machine to give to soundcloud…. and god, even writing that is boring.
I’m generating clicks/plays with no context. Music with no context is not something that appeals to me. A good song is always a good song, without some sort of context though, it runs the risk of being disposable. I’ve mentioned Flight Facilities before in the first memberberries post and touched upon their story with music blogs, elaborating on this helps prove a point in a direct manner.
Flight Facilities are amazing, they are now award-winning amazing. They are very popular now. They once weren’t very popular (despite being amazing). Music blogs such as myself and the likes of Stoney Roads conspired (it was sort of an accident) together to change that. What was in it for us? Nothing, other than some good music getting out. I wrote something ridiculous about who was behind Flight Facilities and Stoney Roads spoilt it (meanies) by outing who they really were. Between us, our writing generated interest, it generated HYPE. It’s a very small cog in the scheme of things…. but, I genuinely believe enthusiasm is infectious and people could see that.
Obviously, this is still Monday Memberberries. So, here is a Flight Facilities before they were called Flight Facilities. I would advise not re-tagging this as being a Flight Facilities because they’d probably hate you a lot for doing so and perhaps hate me a little for unearthing this from my hard-drive.
And I guess that’s the musical theme for the final memberberries…
“Music that artists wish I would forget” 😉
Obviously, Hype Machine is not entirely to blame for people choosing to ignore to blog posts and they owe me nothing. I honestly don’t understand why people would rather just add a track I’ve posted to a list they are ‘curating’ than link to a post which contains some basic information that could gain the artist they apparently enjoyed another fan.
I’ve had some refreshingly honest comments from readers who called themselves out and admitted they do this. That’s cool and I understand that my own writing isn’t to everybody’s tastes, especially now that I mix slightly surreal in-joke humour with holier-than-thou preachy posts like this. I have blogs where I don’t like the writing so much, where they write, “this is pretty chill”… but, they post nice tunes and I can always encourage them to add a bit more to what they post by just telling them it’d be appreciated. It’s real simple stuff.
I just find it weird that Hype Machine essentially give the option for people to skip blogs in the first place. It’s also worth noting their feature of rotating blogs when they post the same thing is nice in the short-term, incredibly flawed in the long-term. Dead links are increasingly common now (yes, aware some of this is me) and myself including a track such as Herr Styler’s “Zero Ghosts Out The Door” as part of a post to promote the new project of somebody behind that track is totally missed by Hype Machine users and that sort of sucks when that track goes into the top ten of their chart. It’s useful information regardless of what you may think about the quality of my writing.
I’d like to see a bit more of the ‘wild-west’ era of Hype Machine again personally, it not making regional decisions for me (making the decision to close yourself off from blogs based on on country should be the choice, not the default) and more encouragement towards people using the site to check the blogs out again. A place where somebody doing it as a hobby being on the same footing as the big smelly corporate site that drops huge amounts of cash on buying music websites? That’s fucking cool imo.
You can also breathe a sigh of relief, that isn’t only just the final instalment of Monday Memberberries it’s the final part in the “TMS Is Sorta Real Preachy These Days” trilogy. 😉
Here’s hoping I can introduce some new music you can get behind in 2017 and ignite a bit of enthusiasm.