I’ve been trying to figure what to blog about for a few days and I thought about some advice posts; I like them but I’m also one of those people who doesn’t feel the need to follow the same set of rules of others. These will be things that I do that might be useful to the newbies or somebody who would like to experiment every once in a while.
What does it mean to be a music blogger?
I started writing reviews back in 2011, probably four months after I actually created this blog. I will say, those first few reviews are really bad. I have the worst grammar and I cannot describe what I hear for the life of me! I will say though, since I’ve been doing them and the fact that I try to get out of my comfort zone, I feel like I am getting better at it.
In the beginning, I wasn’t really thinking about what could come out of the review itself, I just knew that I needed to express myself about what I hearing inside of my headphones. Towards the end of 2012, I’d say my music choices started to go in a darker direction and since I was already listening to tons of international music, I knew I wanted to share it with more people, whether it be my Twitter followers, friends and/or family. Everybody wants new music, so why shouldn’t I help promote these artists and groups?
What can you talk about on your blog?
Well, that’s up to you really!
I think it’s important to establish what kind of music blogger you want to be from the very beginning. To me, there are two ways you can go about this, you can be like me and only focus on the music itself–that means you discuss nothing about anything else but whatever you’re presented. Second way is you talk about that artist’s personal life, which is something that I do NOT participate in because I think it’s absolutely rude!
There are a lot of bloggers out there that only review new artists, which is good because they need all of the promotion they can get from people. However, if you do put your email address on your about or contact page, be aware that you may not always get to talk with that particular artist or group, majority of the time you’re talking to a third party. It has its ups and downs, because honestly the artist will make you feel welcomed and allow you to have time to listen and get your words figured out, but the third party does not. At least, from my own experience, they haven’t made me feel like I was going fast enough to reply back to them about anything.
Besides the new artists, you can talk about your favorites, but in reality you’re really closing up opportunities to get to know other musicians. Thankfully, when I started blogging about music, I was already in the thick of international music, so I was listening to stuff all over the world and it didn’t really matter if they were singing in English or not.
There are different ways to review music:
- Albums/EPs – These are pretty much the only way I review anything to do with music at the moment. However, I do have my own limit. I do discuss an album that’s over 20 tracks. It just puts a lot of pressure on me to stay open enough to speak my thoughts and I never want the number of songs to change my mind about a particular track.
- Single – If you’re going to write about a single, be prepared for that post of yours to be pretty short. I think I always had two or three paragraphs whenever I’d review just a single, but on the bright side, I always thought it would be fair to release two single reviews in one day!
- Music Videos – Music videos are pretty easy to talk about, as you can just find it on YouTube’s recently added and go from there, but you also need to think about something else. Are you going to only discuss the song, the content of the video itself, or both? I always found it to be easier to do both, but whenever I would listen to the heavy metal music, I wouldn’t review the actual video in fear something creepy would pop out and scare me!
What kind of ways to listen to music to review?
I mostly only use Spotify to listen to my music. They are convenient, because they have the new music on their browse tab. Once you start using it a lot, and you “follow” more and more artists and bands, then it’ll create a “release radar” playlist for you of the music and you basically go from there. After I’ve found an album or EP, or even a selection of them, I’ll create a playlist of each one and save them for later until I’m ready to work on them.
If you can’t use Spotify, then YouTube is my second option. Unfortunately, you will have some issues going in this direction. Musicians and record companies will not always upload a full album onto the artist or band’s main page, it’ll just depend on the circumstance honestly, so if you’re unable to find all of the music on the record, you’re going to need to hope another fan has put it up without tampering with the sound too much and of course YouTube has taken all of them down!
My last suggestion is whether or not, you want to purchase the album on iTunes. I mean, all your doing is reviewing the album, and in case you’re not sure about the genre or if you’re going to like it in general, you’ve just spend $11.29 or $14.99 that you now have to keep in your library. So, everything is up to you on what you want to do.
Here are some tips on what I do before I start the reviewing process!
- Have a notepad nearby! It’ll be smarter to write or type out the song titles and date of when the record came out. Something else you should look into, is some information about the artist you’re talking about, you have to remember that you are not only selling the album, but the musician too!
- Trust your gut, and I mean this in the nicest way possible. If you are not comfortable talking about a certain subject, do NOT push yourself to write about it. However, on the flip side, if you can’t figure out how to describe the song and how it sounds, go with your next best option. I’ll usually say whatever I’m feeling at that moment. I’ve described song(s) as “driving around in a small town while the sun is setting!” So whatever comes to your head first, then say it!
- Don’t rush the process, if you need to take a break in between a group of songs, then do it! I have started reviews in the mornings and finished them at night, and I’ve even spread them out over a couple of days since I usually schedule them at a later date.
- If you’re unable to find the album cover on the artist’s social media accounts, then I recommend you making a banner for your future review posts. I’ve used Paint to create mine, but I’m sure you can make really clever ones using your own photos!
I think that are all of my tips and tricks that I can share with you today! If you are thinking about starting on music reviews, or reviewing anything such as books, movies, etc, it’s a fun experience for you as a blogger but it also helps promote the musicians you’re talking about too!