Where have all the music blogs gone?
August 6, 2018 12:31 PM   Subscribe

A decade or so ago, the web was awash with small mp3 blogs, presenting all manner of music old and new, often grouped into categories that reflected genres or personal interests. Where are they now?

I'm not really after the 'post whole ripped album' type of blog (although these have also gone into hiding, perhaps necessarily), but the type of site that often solicited new music and welcomed submissions. I can totally believe the audience for this sort of thing has dwindled to a trickle, and other sites evolved into more sophisticated commercial concerns, but back in the day, places like Said the Gramophone and chromewaves.net were the doors to much fun discovery (StG still is, I know). Any other recommendations?
posted by srednivashtar to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
I am deeply interested in the responses on this one. I can offer a few, though they mostly link to services rather than host MP3s themselves:

Cover Me - a blog dedicated to cover songs.
AM, then FM - blogs rock, R&B, soul, funk and pop from 60s to today.
Le Garage Abandonné
Indie Shuffle
Bandcamp Daily is worth watching even though it's obviously tied to artists who sell on Bandcamp.
Flea Market Funk
Hymie's Records

I also tried my hand at music blogging, covering my favorite 100 records but never really sensed anybody was reading even after 100 straight days of blogging and throwing out signals on social media.
posted by jzb at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Speaking personally, I decided that the Rapidfire-type sites that still hosted mp3s were sketchy AF, and decided to stop using them altogether, no matter how much I wanted the mp3s contained therein. This sentiment may have contributed to the declining audience.
posted by thelonius at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2018

When I was listening to podcasts more often, I was drawn to All Songs Considered. I found myself making notes of various artists they covered, and still listen to those new finds.

I'm not 100% sure if this is what you are looking for; hope it helps anyway.
posted by hydra77 at 1:12 PM on August 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

There's always Hype Machine, or what's left of it. Most sources are likely to be the remains of the MP3 Blog era.

Like many things, I think it's likely what replaced them were facebook pages or groups. I'm on a couple of them where people can just post of whatever in the genre (as long as it's not shoe pics), and on the other, tips about physical releases or places to watch the bands. Searching there for a genre will produce a few results, and you can see if it's worth joining.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:46 PM on August 6, 2018

My previous question may interest you, since it touches on much of the “why” aspect.
posted by nightrecordings at 2:17 PM on August 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to peruse this kind of blog actively but now I do my discovery by following Spotify playlists. Gorilla vs Bear has a show on Sirius XM's XMU station which is kind of the KEXP-like indie station. You might also want to subscribe to various KEXP podcasts.
posted by matildaben at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2018

There's 3hive and fluxblog, the latter has miraculously escaped takedown notices or somehow has a deal worked with labels given the very high profile names on there (madonna, prince, taylor swift) and has definitely shifted to more mainstream.

Relatedly, I think the decline of ad revenue and the shift of consuming music on spotify, youtube, tidal, bandcamp have dampened the demand and also the supply of mp3s; labels and even self-released indie bands are no longer sharing mp3s; they're directing people to the aforementioned services.
posted by fizzix at 2:23 PM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I love Aquarium Drunkard
posted by frumiousb at 3:33 PM on August 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Not updated recently but this post reminded me of Ants in my Trance - http://aimt.us/.
posted by lafemma at 5:06 PM on August 6, 2018

My favorite active one is Austin town hall. There's also did not chart which is less active but has like an 80% hit rate for me.

I also a weekly podcast/radio show and write up a post of short recommendations each week (link in profile).
posted by noloveforned at 5:56 PM on August 6, 2018

One of the very best is Musicophilia, although it doesn't do .mp3s of individual songs; it's all themed mixes, usually about an hour long, usually an incredible cornucopia of stuff you've never, ever heard of that's amazing. Afrominimalism 1966-1978 is the one I'm listening to right now.
posted by escabeche at 8:09 PM on August 6, 2018 [6 favorites]

Submithub is designed for musicians looking to submit their music to blogs and/or playlists, but it also functions as a pretty comprehensive directory of existing blogs. You can sort or filter by the genres to the left, but you can see the individual blog statistics will tell you more about what they actually feature in practice. Many of them are Spotify- or Youtube-based, but there are plenty of "real" blogs in there too.
posted by mykescipark at 8:21 PM on August 6, 2018

I like songsfortheday, which is about the only blog I follow still - but it has increasingly shifted to Spotify playlists, which are a pain imo. I haven't looked at largeheartedboy for a while, but it's certainly still going.

(Yeah, I miss the Said the Gramophone era. I think blogs hosted mp3s through blogspot, which at some point became no longer viable?)
posted by ahundredjarsofsky at 9:38 PM on August 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I use the WFMU blog a lot, though this might depend on how much you like outsider music.
posted by mippy at 5:43 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anecdote: 5 years ago, give or take, professional promotion companies (places that were paid by labels or bands to promote albums) started listing tracks that could be posted online with the links to the complete copies of albums they sent out. Looking at the one promo list I'm still getting, I don't see that any more, so I'm not sure if the practice of condoning the distribution of individual tracks has faded, or no one payed enough attention to those suggestions or offers.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:39 AM on August 7, 2018

I think a lot of them have migrated to Facebook.

A few to search for:

I Despise Pop Country

Worldwide music jazz funk soul


The Underground Garage

The way I’ve found most of them is by watching a music video, then watching the next few suggested videos. There’s some great pages out there, but I’m having no luck finding them right now. Sorry!
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:39 AM on August 7, 2018

I used to run one (even got an FPP once! ). Probably the biggest reason I stopped posting was that it became harder and harder to find old albums that were of good quality and fit the theme of my blog. It seemed like the well ran dry, at least for me. It's frustrating to go to store after store, day after day, and only find the same old picked-over crap. Also, every time I checked my blogroll links, another site would disappear, so the sense of community was also dwindling. I left the site up for a few years as an archive, but when the hosting bill came due this year, I decided it was time to pull the plug.
posted by Otis at 11:41 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to read so many of these blogs! I even had one for awhile, focusing on obscure 80s and 90s indiepop, but I ran out of things to write about. For jazz, I like JazzWax; Tommenton en la cuadra covers 60s garage, folk rock, psych, and freakbeat; occasionally I'll pop into Anorak Thing for more 60s stuff. Kevin Pearce's Your Heart Out was an amazing blog and it's worth downloading some of his essays about all kinds of music, I think the PDF files are still active. Caught By The River always has good writing about stuff I've never heard of (Pearce is a contributor).
posted by plasticpalacealice at 5:17 PM on August 7, 2018

forgot a more recent one: this is not a drill
posted by noloveforned at 12:19 PM on August 8, 2018

I used to love Oliver Wang's Soul Sides back in that era but stopped visiting often when it seemed to go pretty quiet. But it looks like at some point it picked up again so I'll be checking back again.
posted by fabius at 6:46 AM on August 9, 2018

Radio New Zealand has a huge focus on lesser known and new music - some days you might think the dial has slipped to the varsity station. They really cover some ground, mainly kiwi/aussie but a lot of us travel and cross-pollinate. There no ads either.

Quite a lot of live (Tiki Taane) in the studio music too, as well as recorded interviews (Death & the Maiden) with new bands. Everything from Metal to throat singing.
posted by unearthed at 12:34 AM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

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