My name is Adam Reeve and I run Sounds Good, a music blog. Its just over four years old, and I myself have been writing for nearly ten. It’s not my job but it is a hobby that’s managed to keep my attention. Weird? Perhaps. Although the weirdest thing is that I’m not the only one doing this as a hobby. The music industry is one of the most in-depth industries around, and deep within the layers there’s a section that houses like-minded people who also write about noise, purely for the love of it. It’s the level you could trust the most when it comes to searching for new music.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years is that I’ve no clue how to run a music blog, so the title of this piece is less of a statement but more of a cry for help. With so many people out there, a serious fountain of knowledge has formed that absolutely should be tapped into. In this piece, myself and a few friends give a couple tips on How to Run a Music Blog, so that if and when you decide to dive into the industry, you can be fully prepared to blow us away with your professional AF music blog.
ADAM REEVE (SOUNDS GOOD)
“With so many artists, PR companies and record labels around, your inbox is going to be flooded with submissions. When I started blogging, I wanted to try and feature everybody but quickly learned that it is not feasible in the slightest. There’s no way you’re going to have the time to write and publish reviews about every artist, and you’re not going to enjoy every song you receive. What matters most is retaining the mind-set that this is just a hobby, so you should only feature the artists and music you enjoy and forget about trying to please everybody.”
LIAM TAYLOR (STABBED PANDA)
“Running Stabbed Panda, I’ve learned to be clear about what you want from artists – How they can submit stuff in a way that might actually allow us to write about their music, and to be brutal about deleting emails that don’t confirm to those guidelines.”
MUSIC FOR THE MISFITS
“My tip would be to be consistent!”
- Be prepared to spend money and loads of time on it
- Work hard to build your brand on your WEBSITE – there’s no money in social media
- Surround yourself with good people (whether this is other bloggers, photographers, or people from labels or PR agencies) and be kind!
EAR TO THE GROUND MUSIC
- Write at least 10 articles before you launch your site. If you enjoy writing those ten, you’ll confirm the idea AND have a nice basis for the search bots to crawl and get your initial traffic
- Try to have a genre/theme/mood focus. Don’t start out with “I like a little of everything LUL.” Find a focus so that you can craft a sound for both submitters and listeners to follow.
- Create branding (social media, logo, etc) rather than having your site connected to yourself. It will save you headaches. Mostly, make sure you have a blog-based email address for subs and professional correspondence.
KRISTER AXEL (CHILLFILTR)
“One of the biggest things is consider your niche. I personally did NOT do that. I just opened up to all the music I love. I don’t regret that, exactly, but it is certainly true that – for ex. – Hype Machine likes niche-based blogs. So it’s worth thinking about.”
DAN SHEED (TURTLE TEMPO)
“My tip before you start a blog would be to outline and focus on a particular genre that you enjoy the most on a personal personal. You’ll find it much easier to write about genres you’re most familiar with. Keep it consistent with your posts and slowly but surely you’ll build a community. Most importantly though, as long as you enjoy blogging there is no wrong way to run your music blog!”
“People have asked me in passing for input on how to start a website and my biggest piece of advice is that it’s important to really know what you’re getting into. It’s not easy to launch a website and expect it to go places without a lot of hard work. I think a big problem with young people is our tendency to lose interest in things quickly because there’s something new CONSTANTLY coming out every day. You have to be REALLY passionate about something like this if you want it to get you anywhere.”
Alright, well that sounds vague and obvious, so what does that actually mean? Even as there are thousands of music blogs and millions of artists at our disposal, many still approach the path to success as an independent publication as bandwagon-esque. Some of this is intentional, some is subconscious (many fall for fancy EPKS and PR reps). What’s important to understand is that if you’re saying the same things about the same artists everyone else is (and if 80 publications write about an artist, there’s going to be tons of overlap), there’s no reason to follow your site over and in addition to anyone else’s.
Our insights on music hold value, but the primary role of the music blog in 2020 is to aid in discovery, not re-enforce opinion. If presented with two artists you love and only have time to cover one, ALWAYS prioritise the one who has seen less coverage. It’ll mean more to the artist, it’ll help your readers find more artists they love, and it’ll help distinguish your site among the sea of thousands.”
LITTLE DOSE OF INDIE
- Try not to become overwhelmed with submissions! Remember that in (most) cases your blog is a hobby. It’s easy to get stressed about not being able to feature everyone who sends you music, but you’ve got to remember it’s not a full-time job!
- Remember you’re appreciated! There’s a lot of talk about the relevance of music blogs these days, but niche and local media is still highly important, especially when reporting on the music scene in your country/local area. Music blogs are often some of the first people to report on certain artists – you never know who you might discover!
- Be as creative and true to your art as possible. Staying consistent with your work is a key thing, and if you enjoy what you do, even better!
- Have a good presence on social media. Promotion with features/reviews should be shared on socials to attract a wider audience.
“Write about music you love
If there is one thing I have learnt through Full Volume it is not to write about things for the sake of pleasing others. You need to make sure that everything that you are writing is because you genuinely love the music you are writing about. You can soon become bored of writing if you are trying to write about music you aren’t into. Remember why you created a music blog in the first place and stick to your guns when it comes to choosing what you write about, all in the name of a love for music.”
SARAH CALEY (ROSEPLAYLIST)
“Only post about the things you’re genuinely passionate about.
While social media can be a great place for countless reasons, it can also put you under a lot of pressure. Don’t ever feel like you have to follow trends! If a bunch of blogs are all covering the same artist, don’t think that you have to, too. And if there is something you genuinely love, just write about it! It doesn’t matter if no one else is. Take the time to gauge whether a conversation is worth adding to, or if you’re better off starting a new one. It’s your blog, write about whatever you want to!
If you’re thinking about it, just do it.
Yes, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. I was admittedly hesitant to start my blog, too. Before I started blogging, I felt as though no one else understood just how passionate I am about music. But I can now promise you that you are not alone. There are other people out there with the same interests as you. There is such a supportive community of bloggers out here, and we’re just waiting for you to join us!”