Whither The Local Musicbloggers?

DSC_6123dx.jpgIn the comments about today’s LA Times article on the local blog scene, Oren pointed to an interesting point over at Coolfer:

Isn’t it ironic that Alec [Hanley Bemis’] article on blog power [for the current issue of LA Weekly] will be read in a city that has a surprisingly low per-capita rate of music blogs? For whatever reason, Los Angeles is behind the curve. I can’t explain it, and locals I’ve asked can’t explain it.

Granted, there is music content here at B.la and at Tony Pierce‘s blog, but three other websites that I check out for the local scene include LA-Underground, Losanjealous, and LAist.

And then you have the much-discussed Cobrasnake, who posts almost daily updates on the local hipster scene.

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11 Replies to “Whither The Local Musicbloggers?”

  1. the problem that exists within LA is a little deeper than no music blogs, i think it distills down to the fact that there is very little in the way of a real “scene” within the city. the reasons for this are varied and this really isn’t the place to go into them in detail. but things like geography and the entertainment industry calling our fair city home definitely factor in. now before you start telling me about local bands and how awesome they are, note that i realize that we have local bands (a few really good ones even) and small pockets of community, but all-in-all i would have to say that any “scene” or music community is pretty lacking, especially in comparison to any number of other cities. if you want to start a band this isn’t the place to do it.

  2. You know what? Hipsters in LA kinda blow. Bottom feeders of generic white culture, having no cultural connection to the influences found elsewhere in LA, it is an enclosed scene. At the very least they should shower more.

    I can’t tell you how much I have been turned off on the idea of going to a show in Silverlake and Echo Park simply because of the unwashed morons that inhabit clubs like Spaceland and The Echo. Self-referencial scenes are so lame.

  3. I’m with Gregg. I write about a lot of shows (I’ll see De La Soul at Royce Hall tomorrow night), but don’t consider my blog a “music blog.”

  4. LA has a great music scene for people who love to see great bands play live. As far having a ‘scene’ the way some cities do, where incestuous band/instrument/girl/etc. sharing happens, it’s not as good for that.

    But I will put LA above just about anywhere else when it comes to being able to see great music in great venues, large, small and inbetween. It really is amazing.

    As for Music Blogs, that’s a good point… I like USOUNDS which I think is based in LA but they don’t say much about LA in general. I think the nature of the internet is such that there’s no reason to be overly identified with this or that local scene.

  5. yeah, just for clarification, ted is totally right, LA is great for bands that are established, AMAZING opportunities for people to see bands that are already fairly well-known but not so many for bands just starting out and those that are not well-known at all.

  6. I think one of the problems in LA is that a lot of artists come here to get a record deal, not to build a fanbase and try to be working musicians. The flipside of that is that many people I know will only go hear a band if they know there is industry “buzz” about them. So the relationship between many bands and the people who come to their shows is not always conducive to loyalty or passion.

    However, the same is true in New York, where there is just as much “industry” and cynicism about it, so maybe there’s another reason.

    And of course there are tons of exceptions. Kiss or Kill is a great example.

  7. Great comments. Just a guess, but maybe the difference is the community itself? Maybe the structure and geography of New York lends itself to blogging? There’s an incredible amount of live music every night in this town. Lots of good clubs and small venues to host local bands and touring bands. People here *live* for the nightlife. Music bloggers are constantly out seeing bands, going to clubs, release parties, hanging out with each other. (Sometimes I have to force myself to go home after work, otherwise I’d be at this show or that show or this party or that party. It never ends.) Seems like we all know one another, and many of us are very good friends. There’s definitely a sense of community, and it breeds even more blogging.

    And the NYC music scene is compact — it’s pretty much the East Village, Lower East Side and Williamsburg. Makes it easier to see two or three shows in a night if you’re feeling up to it. Sure beats driving around a sprawling city. (And this is a California native speaking. I’ve been here only a few years.) The more you go out, the more you have to blog about.

    New Yorkers sure do love to go out and see the buzz bands, the next big things. When a hyped band comes here from the UK, for example, the club is always packed. Same as in LA, I would imagine. But the local scene is really good as well. Very diverse.

    One important thing is that a lot of bands know the bloggers and the fans and have good relationships with them/us. Labels (the indies, at least) and some PR companies have good relationships with the bloggers. Is that the case with LA music bloggers and the labels, bands and publicists?

  8. My experience, to your last question, is that it’s true of some bands and totally untrue of others. The younger, myspace era bands definitely get the blogging scene and are all for it… but the slightly older, let’s say a bit more hard-partying dude rockers tend to be someone dismissive of any press that isn’t the big time. That’s been my experience at least (I take photographs at shows, and have had them appear in major music magazines or LA Weekly, but mostly on blogs).

    LA is just to large and sprawling (as you mention) to have one scene or community. Music For Robots and Fonogenic (an online music store for independent artists) have been organizing a monthly thing, and of course people get together via friendster, myspace, etc. The Echo and Silverlake do their Monday night residiencies where the resident band can often choose who they play with, so you get a sense of which bands are friends and stuff like that… but there’s really no one writing down what’s happening or how things are progressing.

    It’s a shame because a great local music site would be a good way to find out about new music. For example, I go to a lot of shows (3 per week) but only recently saw Foreign Born– I had really been missing out! Just a small example of how the scene is too big, disjointed and unconnected.

  9. I’m in L.A. and write a music/pop culture blog (Kofi’s hat). There may be great reasons for some people to identify with particular scenes. My blog has concert reviews and other local content, but it isn’t primarily about music in L.A.

    There are a lot of great clubs in L.A. Plenty of people are probably writing about them regularly; they’re likely under the radar. Benjamin made a great point about geography. People in Southern Cal. are scattered (geographically-speaking, that is). It’s a lot of turf to cover.

    Also, NYC is intense and energetic (or so I hear), whereas L.A. is pretty laid-back. A body at rest tends to not blog about the L.A. music scene. Folks from record labels and bands sometimes are concerned at the lack of an early line-up for a show. It is not indicative of a lack of popularity in L.A. L.A. is different. More casual… we don’t like to show effort or interest. I’d answer the question about my relationship with readers/bands/publicists/record labels, but I totally think I saw Tobey Maguire walk by drinking a smoothie and I have to go gawk at him while feigning disinterest.

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