Saturday, 13 September 2008

Blogging: The Gift and The Curse pt.1

Since Sitemeter is moving house and I couldn't get my ego-feeding hit of how many people are coming to my page I was just checking out how I'm doing on the Music Blog Toplist. I'm currently 218th. Not bad considering it runs all the way to 2387 - that's top 10% innit?

Anyway, I went through the listings, looking at all the Hip Hop blogs charting higher than me. I was expecting to find some quality sites - after all they are 'beating' me stats wise. What I found was 20 or so clone blogs peddling stories of Gucci Mane's incarceration, T-Pain and Ne-Yo's latest mp3's and free (illegal) album downloads.

If I was interested in providing the people of this world with the same thing that someone else was providing then I suppose my blog could be more 'successful'. If I wanted to read stories on other websites only to recycle them on my own blog then I guess my blog would get more hits. If I posted every single mp3, video, news item, album that littered my inbox everyday then I could be reaching the heady heights of the first page of the Music Blog Toplist. But to do this would be a compromise.

I, as a fan and a blogger, am 'tarred' with the very same brush as the music I seek to expose and represent. Take a look at those top sites again (or don't, you'll only give them more hits), what do you see with their Flo-Rida free downloads, their Lil' Wayne mp3's and their identical links to some R'n'B bird featuring Ludacris track? What is evident in their news stories of Kanye's Bail, their Skull Gang exclusives and their horrific advertising? I don't know your answer but mine is this: I see conformity, I see blindness and all in all, I see drivel.

These bloggers are relying on the fickle minds of people fed radio hit after mtv video by some higher power, a higher power who dictates what will sell. If something gets that much exposure, of course it can be pumped into the minds of the masses. The fashion industry works in much the same way. Somewhere, some weirdo's in a room decide what will be in in which season. They design the stuff, they put it in the shops and people have no choice, no choice but to buy it - there is nothing else! Most people who don't actively seek music are force fed what someone else deems suitable for their auditory diet. Of course it sells, there appear to be no other options.

Obviously there are other options, which is where blogs like Certified Banger come into play. We present other options, we don't give choice, we provide an alternative. Certified Banger gives you the chance to listen to something else, namely Hip Hop and specifically, more often than not, UK Hip Hop. Which is a problem. Despite the fact we offer this music, there are not sufficient amounts of people actively seeking this music. And why? Because they're not told to.

The Hip Hop bloggers holding up that first 10% of the Music Blog Toplist are not offering anything of much worth to the internet user. Sure, they offer all the latest downloads, but at the end of the day the only reason they offer them is because they've been conditioned to do that by demand. They don't do anything out of the ordinary.

These bloggers, groupies in a Hip Hop world of high life, want in some way to gain what their 'heroes' have - fame, their name in lights. I know this myself - I like to see the hits my blog gets, I like to know someone came searching for something and found it in my provision - it gives me a sense of reward. At one point I was very obsessed with getting more hits and constantly posted mp3 links so as to be featured on the Hype Machine as often as possible. This is why they do it - it's their bit of recognition in this world of superstardom - but recognition for what?

I'd rather be recognised by a few than by the masses who simply take what they want and leave. I can safely say that through honing Certified Banger to what you see now, I have begun to feel a different fulfilment, a better fulfilment. People who also love what I post come here and enjoy it. It becomes a name they will (and do) return to. I've gained contact with like-minded people. I've been privileged to receive music from the artists who I listen to and respect. I've been welcomed into the UK Hip Hop community (well, I feel I have) as a (very small, admittedly) part of it's workings. Have those top 50 Hip Hop bloggers gained that honour in their area of reportage? I very much doubt it. And by posting their samey posts devoid of commitment and belonging, they'll get their hits, oh yes, but they wont ever be more than simple spectators in their chosen field.

The proof is very much in the proverbial pudding. Look at that list, look through the blogs. Which specialist Hip Hop blog is the highest in that chart? Certified Banger. Despite limiting myself to a sub-genre, a sub-genre created in a country the size of a ten pence piece CB is up there. It's the highest-rating UKHH blog out there. I'll stick to my corner, thanks. I'll continue to represent my niche because there are evidently people who appreciate and need what I provide.

Whew, who needs stats when you can blow your own trumpet like that? Sorry! Leave a comment and totally harangue me - I probably really deserve it!

1 comment:

Ana Saturno said...

As a usual reader of your blog, I just wanted to say thank you and keep up with the good work. I really appreciate what you do, the music you blog about and your efforts to show that there's something else. I know sometimes it's hard, but I'm sure that you have more readers than you suspect.

Best regards