Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Gradual Fall of Musical Bloggery

Last April I noticed that the once-vibrant musical blogosphere had started to slow down. It used to feel very rewarding to write about ideas, post links, and use the little corner of the internet where I squat in whatever manner I chose to use it. Lots of people read my posts, but the number of people who come to my blog has dwindled down to less than half over the last six months. I have been writing at about the same rate, but no matter how much I "give" to the Musical Assumptions "audience," it doesn't do much to stir the pot.

The kinds of musical discussions that used to be on blogs seem to have migrated to Facebook, but they occur in miniature, and they can occur in real time. I guess in this on-line world you have two options: Facebook or Google, and it looks as if Facebook has won.

But I'm loyal to my faithful readers, and I will continue to write here.

August 12th Update: Here's more about this subject.


Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi said...

I'm grateful that you continue to write, Elaine! Sometimes I think the blog reading trend is cyclical. Perhaps summer tends to be slower? I'm not nearly ready to give up yet!

Pliable said...

Elaine, you make a good point and I share your concerns.

But the readership trend for your blog and others may not be as bleak as you think. There is a shift from reading blogs on desktop PCs to reading them on a variety of mobile devices, and it seems - for reasons I do not understand - that the traditional tracking tools that compile readership statistics are very fallible when it comes to monitoring the new platforms.

So your apparent readership decline may not be that at all. It may be accounted for, in part or whole, by a switch in technology platforms by your readers.

But even if readership isn't declining quite as fast as you think there are other reasons to be concerned: notably the undermining of serious writing by a combination of Twitter and junk journalism.

However that is not a reason for quality blogs like Musical Assumptions to abandon swimming against the tide, so do keep up the good work.

Best wishes from Bob Shingleton

Erik K said...

I think the above comment is on to something. I read your blog on my phone with the NewsBlur app. I'm not sure if that would show up in statistics or not...?

Glad to know you're keeping on. This is a terrific blog...which is why I have an app dedicated to bringing it and other great blogs to my immediate attention!

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

I agree with everything said here - and with Pliable's followup post over at his place.

You mention the "kinds of musical discussions that used to be on blogs". I think some small part of that disappearance has to do with there once being more interaction due to:

1) several of the blogs I started following six and seven years ago have gone dark, in part for the reason Kyle Gann cited when he almost quit here a while back - that people feel they've said most of what they want to say and that after a while it gets to be much harder to seem fresh. (We can't all be as good as you and Pliable and Kyle Gann.)

2) commenting is so much harder than it used to be back in the old days. Everyone has had to turn on spam filters, which adds a step - and a couple of my favorite horn blogs went to WordPress which I find impossible to comment on.

I started my own blog only after commenting on other blogs, and still try to add to the discussion on other blogs whenever there seems to be something worth adding. But with the fewer (for me anyway) blogs and the increased difficulty of commenting there's not the zesty community feel there once was.

Elaine Fine said...

I also noticed, as a new smart-phone user, that blogs with lots of text and pictures take far longer to to load (and use up data minutes and battery juice) on the little devices than they do on other kinds of browsers.

The difficulty posting comments (or writing in general) by using smart phones is also a really big issue.

I really appreciate this discussion as well as Bob's post and Lisa's posts in response to it. I have been swimming against the tide all my life, and there's no reason to stop now!

Erin said...

I'm still here Elaine! Even if I let my own music blog go dark, though for the age-old female reason of going off and starting a family, I'm still reading quite a few of the music ones I used to read.

I also read your blog via feedly, I have no idea how that shows up in stats.

-- Erin (formerly Fugue State)