When do you think music media lost its ability to break bands?
I’ve got a few different theories. The big one is when publications tried to compete with the abundance of the web, and new music coverage became a deluge of recommendations rather than focussing limited attention on a few names. Outlets became overwhelm. At a time when attention was diluted, there was little focussing people on a few names, instead hoping to be first to cover the next big thing…
In recent years, I think a lot of people have lost trust with media that gives everything four stars, even if it was only surprise released a few hours ago. A hill I’ll die on is that the day In Rainbows was released, was the day remains the day when music criticism died. Any sense of thoughtful, trust-worthy writing about music evaporated in rush to be like a YouTube comment proclaiming “first!” as music critics rushed their instant reactions out within an hour or two of the album dropping.
There’s now even less space and resource dedicated to finding and surfacing new music nowadays, seemingly because people are satiated by algorithmic grey sludge (music that’s similar to what they already like but usually nowhere as good).
I think having access to all the greatest albums of all time puts new acts at a disadvantage. No longer are they trying to stand out from their peers but from Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac and Beethoven.
Anyway, I’ve got all these thoughts swirling as I had an insightful chat with one of my favourite TikTokkers Atlanta Cobb. Tiktok is just her side hustle, as she’s a mentor to 400+ act, drawing on her experience working at major labels and on the management team of some huge acts including Becky Hill and Ella Henderson. Loved hearing about her journey from starting out running a Florence + The Machine fan site. If you’ve spent any time on TikTok you’ll probably be familiar with Atlanta’s great advice, so this chat about the dwindling importance of the music press was fascinating (if potentially a wake up for some in the industry and new acts trying to get a footing).