VAN DYKE: That’s news to me
I was watching the news today and I wondered where people go to get music news these days. No one really buys magazines anymore, and there really is nothing about music on TV other than award shows (garbage) and cable/satellite channels that are in the expensive plan (I get to write mine off as a research expense). The Internet is a wonderland of information, but where is the good stuff?
First, some history…
Once upon a time there were locally owned record stores. In these stores were people who knew a thing or two about music. They would tell you what the best new bands were going to be and which ones you should check out based on what you bought or looked at in the store. They would also know about current artists and what albums would be coming out and usually would have some industry gossip about who was going on tour with who, or what singer is getting kicked out of what band for wanting to be a movie star or whatever. Eventually, these stores were eaten by the national chains, never to return. If you go to larger cities, you can find a few of these stores still open. You should really check them out. It sure beats clicking around on iTunes or Amazon.com.
Sometimes, those same record store clerks would moonlight as radio personalities. They actually played the songs and told you something about the artists once in a while. They would tell you when acts would be in the area so you could go see them live, sometimes letting you know if it was worth your time and money, which was pretty cool, I thought. A few of these old dogs are still around and going strong. Explore your radio dial sometime, you will find them.
When MTV was launched in 1981, it provided 24 hours of music videos, concerts, and music news. It was really great for a while, but now they really need to look at changing the name to Music-less Television or Moron TV because all that it shows anymore are ‘reality’ shows. Even that is a misguided label. The only reality about the shows on MTV is that most of the people on them would need to go to night school to evolve a thumb, as comedienne Judy Tenuta would say.
So with those avenues of information blocked off, where can one turn for music news in today’s world? The internet, of course! These are some sites that are fairly decent and others that are fairly indecent. I’ll let you do your own exploring, but here are a few starting points.
Rollingstone.com — very much like the magazine, it contains news and features about movies, tv, and politics. Boo!
MTV.com — it has music news, but why bother? Just go to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘suggestion box’ link and tell them to change the name, in your own words, of course.
Blabbermouth.net — this is more of a hard rock/heavy metal site created by Roadrunner Records. It has news, but I go here to read all of the user comments. They are downright hateful and let me tell you, it is hilarious. You can usually tell by the headlines where the entertaining responses will be. One of my favorite sites for this reason only.
Band and artist ‘official’ sites — These are a little hit and miss. Some have a band-appointed ‘webmasters’ and some are run by the record company or a publicity firm. You can usually tell pretty fast which are which. A lot of artists use Facebook and Twitter in the same way. Sometimes the artist actually does the typing, but a lot of times they do not.
Wikipedia.org — this site is constantly updated and has a lot of information about band and artist history. Sometimes ‘haters’ will go in and place ‘facts’ about bands that are amusing. They are usually found on polarizing groups like Nickelback that people either love or hate. It is always a good day when I stumble on these.
I am hoping to do a few posts on some local artists from the past, present, and future. Any suggestions?
Don Van Dyke
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