There is one very simple yet fundamental principle about life, which states that nothing is static. Things move around, evolve, shift and take different turns whether you like it or not. It’s just the way it is and if you are smart enough, you will not resist it but rather embrace what’s coming. And then…adapt. This is how I’d like to start off this non-black metal related post, even though it is very much connected to this genre through music reviews.
Since the beginning of this blog, I’ve stated that I don’t perceive reviews as the majority of scribblers out there do. I take things on my terms despite what is at stake being fundamentally narrowed down to potential rejection from readers. You know, stuff like the way I write, the non-technical approach I undertake or the fact that I completely and purposely avoid negative charges in my writings. I just publish what I like. Simple as that. For a large period of time, I did love that little endeavour of mine until the media has shifted so dramatically that I had to finally take measures. The need for reviews from a reader’s standpoint has diminished and that tendency is only about to grow more by the day due to the broad accessibility to music in present days.
No longer is necessary to wait eagerly for your favourite reviewer to drop a post about some albums. Now you’ve got so many outlets where you can consume thousands upon thousands of hours of music without the intervention of a 3rd party to let you know whether it’s worth your time or not. Essentially, arts in general are hardly to be criticized objectively since everybody’s taste is as different as colours and their variations. That said, for one “this album” could be an utter piece of shit while for another, well, the best record he’s listened in years. There is no right or wrong as to music even in the most extreme distortions of artistic expression.
Why have somebody else tell you what album is worthy, when you have your own taste?
As most bloggers, I also began writing “reviews” evolving into “CD recommendations” because I had that enormous desire to point my followers to great and unpopular manifestations of black metal. However, with the rise of full album streaming on whatever the hell place you could think of, the value of my work got increasingly depreciated and the returns were minimal. Let me clarify by “returns”, I don’t mean “monetizing”. My only sin is having that stupid Adsense banner up there and that’s it. Anyway, what I mean is actually something else. Far more important. It is user interaction.
For better or worse, the interaction between people on internet has become very close-minded. Fans rarely take the time to share their experience with an album that they’ve discovered though a blog or some media outlet. All they have now are the outnumbering sources of multimedia where they can stream everything at any time without being forced to read pages long reviews of somebody sharing his own experience. Why would they? Now, all music is just at a click away, thus they can form an opinion on their own. Plus, they get to listen to the album of their interest in its entirety (in most cases) making it even more favourable, doesn’t it?
So where does the need for reviews go? Well, straight down into the drain, in my opinion. Although, you could argue that popular online zines generate huge traffic, they have their fair share of devotees who just stick in there for support while most visitors just skim through the texts until they find the player and set off.
Reviews take a lot of time, patience and resources. More than you can imagine.
And I don’t complain at all for I am all for black metal support. It’s part of my life and it is here to stay. However, dedicating so much time for reviews is of so little worth given that people just look up where the player is, listen and go away without batting an eye to the writings. How do I know? Well, obviously analytics tell a great deal about user behaviour. Eventually, my goal does get met when it comes to promoting a band and their album. Their stuff does get seen and heard but the hours and hours of pouring my soul into words is completely unjustified. I can easily achieve the same effect with a few sentences and still do both the bands and the visitors a favour. I have already done multiple tests where I wrote short pieces generating thousands of visits. For example. Fuath’s premiere of I, or Ausländer – Into The Ice announcement, or that Mortifera update etc. Many, many examples, in fact.
The common thing these short pieces of writing share is that they let me cover more stuff frequently and they are by far easier to manage than sitting down and working on my next review that won’t be thoroughly read as meant to be.
The change is imminent but shall yield more good.
I’ve got one last AMAZING CD in store before I conclude album recommendations once and for all. From that point, I will focus on digital releases entirely. Let’s face it, it’s easier that way and more cost effective for the bands who would like me to check out their work. I’ll share as frequently as possible concise posts including premieres, From the depths issues, short lists and all kinds of stuff that I could think of and find entertaining. Whether you feel like supporting me or not is up to you. Either way, I’ve thought out the facts, made up my mind and decided to move on no matter the circumstances.
Since this post ended up being massive and dry, I’d like to end this rant with a very dear song to me by Fäulnis titled “Angstzustand”.
PS: Join Metal-Archives’ Do You Count on Metal Reviews Nowadays discussion.