Earlier this summer, YourEDM.com hit 1 million fans on Facebook. It was a huge moment for the company, as they blasted out ‘We Made It’ images & grateful posts about their audience. The employees posted on their timelines how excited they were to hit such a milestone. I’m sure there was plenty of champagne and good times that weekend.
1 million fans is pretty damn good. It’s more fans than we have—its probably more fans than you have. But. look at EDM.com—they have 1 million fans too. Dancing Astronaut has 627,000 fans. EDMsauce has 111,000.
Those are huge audiences. Audiences that everyone wants to borrow. But how did they get so big? How did the blogs take over the electronic music industry?
As Ryan Holiday describes in his book, Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, online media plays by a different set of rules than print media. In traditional print media, readers are subscribers. Readers pay a certain amount per month–or per year—to read the best content selected for them. There can only be a certain amount of pages in a magazine, which means there can only be a limited amount of stories published. When you can only publish 20 stories, then it becomes the responsibility of the magazine to find the 20 best stories to provide their paying customers. The better those 20 stories, the better your magazine is, and the more paying readers you have. The trick is to deliver the best stories to make the reader’s feel that the magazine is worth the money.
Now, fast foward to our digital magazines, or blogs. In a blog, you are not limited by story space. Generally speaking, a blog can post as much and as often as they would like. This changes the game completely. When you have the ability to publish unlimited stories, you run into a supply & demand issue. If you publish 100 stories a day, which you can do now on a blog, it isn’t likely that your paying subscribers can read all 100 stories. But, if you publish 100 stories a day, you can sell advertising on every single one.
The blog-economy (blogcon) model says that money should be generated by page-views, not loyal subscriptions. When this occurs, quality content designed for the reader turns into clickbait that is designed to trick people into viewing, sharing, or commenting. Ridiculous headlines, 27-page slideshows (that show a new set of ads on each page), and spammy articles become the way to generate revenue. Thus, quality goes down & media becomes sensationalized.
Blogs in Electronic Music
Everybody in electronic music wants an audience. Producers want exposure, record labels want promotion, event promoters want ticket sales. But here’s the thing: nobody besides the media has their #1 priority to be audience building.
Social media, in combination with the blogcon, creates a perfect marriage. Every Facebook like or Instagram follow a blog gets is another person who can click on a link and generate ad money. Thus, building a huge online audience becomes as important as constantly publishing content.
It’s no coincidence that YourEDM & EDM.com have more Facebook fans than most musicians in the scene. As a musician, your work is creating music. Your money comes from making songs, or practicing skills, that will put you on tour. Your Facebook audience, while important, isn’t as important to you as it to a blog. For a musician to make money, you have to convince your audience to buy something that you have spent resources making. For a blog, they have to simply convince someone to click. That is a huge, unfair advantage. If you think about it, every minute you spend creating a track is a minute a blog is growing their audience. It’s now becoming clear why blogs rule the industry.
[Part 2 coming soon]