In 1993, Eddie Vedder was placed on the cover of Times Magazine with the catch line, “Angry young rockers like Pearl Jam give voice to the passions and fears of a generation.” Vedder became a symbol for the grunge rock movement that captured the hearts of restless youth, disenfranchised and angered by the many symptoms of a conservative government spearheaded by George Bush Sr. Around the same time as Time’s cover story, Vedder did an acoustic rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changing.”
Eddie Vedder: “The Times They Are a-Changing” (Bob Dylan Cover)
Now, I ask you to play the song because bloggers and readers alike, the times are changing. While the “original” blogs (those beginning before 2007) permanence appear stable, the relevance and context of blogs in general seem to be drastically reaching a precipice. The biggest factors are the excessive growth of blogs particularly within the last three years, the increased efficiency of access to downloadable content, and political uncertainty of copyright issues.
“There are so many blogs now why read any one?” Gimmicks are more important than ever—just ask Hipster Run Off—who branded himself with a “unique” critical voice. The original music blogs that discussed their music tastes such as Gorilla vs. Bear, Aquarium Drunkard, or FluxBlog have been mimicked to such excess that to stand out—one must produce more content than the rest! This has lead to an emphasis on less written content in favor of shorter (two line) posts that include downloadable content.
If this incessant appetite for new music isn’t alarming now, it will be for bloggers as online copyright infringement becomes a bigger American debate.
The abundant resources such as HypeM, Shuffler.FM, or MOG, enable users to sift through thousands of blogs quickly to find particular and discover new mp3s. Each website seems to encourage bloggers to satiate readers’ constant need for new music, and encourage their short attention spans. Take HypeM’s new design that rewards bloggers who post songs onto the website first by giving them “credit,” thereby directing that song’s traffic to that blog. Or Shuffler.FM, which enables readers to click next if they don’t like a song, quickly moving them to a new blog—minimizing the reason for readers to scour through one blog’s archive for older content.
If this incessant appetite for new music isn’t alarming now, it will be for bloggers as online copyright infringement becomes a bigger American debate. The Department of Homeland Security seized control of 75 domains for copyright violations in late November of 2010. The sweeping move may just be the first, after the passing (*correction it was proposed in the House but hasn’t passed the Senate*) of Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) bill on November 18th, 2010
So maybe I’m just a grumpy blogger, saddened by these developments at my own potential growth. I hope so. If not, I envision an eventual conglomeration of music blogs that are bought by companies who have political sway on Capital Hill. Meanwhile, the majority of unfortunate will either disappear discouraged, frightened, or worse—bankrupt from fines or seized.
Ace of Base: “The Sign”
I encourage you to respond to this, as I’d love to discuss this issue further.