On this very day a year go I wrote my first post. I sat and ruminated for a while on which of my favourite albums to try writing about, and came up with Tangerine Dream’s Zeit. That turned out OK and I enjoyed writing it, so here we are today.
The genesis of this blog was actually a suggestion from my wife — I wasn’t feeling so hot, and perhaps she thought it would pick me up to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for these thousands of albums I’ve purchased over the years. God knows my acquaintances had no idea what I was on about half the time. Well, she was right! Reaching out to like-minded listeners around the world has paid off.
At first readership was slow to grow, and I thought no one was going to read this thing, but as I wrote more, more people visited. And I was particularly pleased to get positive feedback from some of the artists I’ve written about. It’s very satisfying when someone tells you that you “got” what they were trying to say with their music. That sort of response is very gratifying, because music is probably the most important component of my life. If I don’t get it, then what hope is there for me? Bigger acts of course have not acknowledged my scribblings, but then, they probably have never seen ’em.
My aim is to provide the sort of in-depth analysis that you don’t find a lot of on blogs — you must really learn about the music and the musicians. I’m hard on myself, too, having worked for the last sixteen years as a book editor. If I’m not erudite, I’d better just give up.
I was surprised to start getting a lot of submissions, which I guess means people feel my words will have value in the promotion of their project. So I do my best through my roundups to give some exposure. If I haven’t answered your email yet, sorry … real life gets in the way.
I think I’ve fulfilled the mandate I started with, which was to write entertainingly and enlighteningly about any and all kinds of music I enjoy. The aim is to the get the reader sufficiently curious to follow up and consider a purchase. Hence the YouTube links. I check those visited links regularly, because stuff gets pulled down all the time. I’ve been involved with music for my whole adult life, and I can say with dead certainty that without radio play and with only intrepid online radio shows and mix-makers to help promote unheard music, YouTube is where people end up to sample stuff — whether we like it or not. So it’s counterproductive to make a big deal out of getting YouTube videos of your music taken down because you fear it’ll adversely affect your sales. The result, I feel, is actually quite different; if people can’t hear it, they can’t buy it. And when people finish reading my reviews, they need to take the next step and sample some of the music I’ve just raved about. Mind you, I personally have never received a complaint, but I’m sure there are musicians out there who disapprove of these links. I’d remove any if anyone asked.
It turned out that the blog really does reflect my tastes, though I’ve only scratched the surface. Obviously, ambient music is very important to me, having been my chief source of solace for some time now. But I’ve also discussed my share of rock and progressive rock bands, as well as folk-rock musicians in the last little while, and I’ll be expanding the scope even further as I work through my collection (a little early music or metal, anyone?). And I will always welcome submissions, even if it takes me a while to get around to them.
In January of 2013 the blog averaged 34 views per day, and by October 2013 it was up to an average of 134. There have been over 23,000 page views, which makes me feel very satisfied. I know this is just a molecule in the bucket compared with the sort of action that genuinely well-read blogs get, but it’s enough for me to keep writing. As a musician myself, I know that a little positive press can be a real shot in the arm, and it’s very hard to come by. The online music world provides opportunity, but also an insane amount of competition for attention, now that we all can put out as much music as we like, when we like. I’ll keep being a voice for those deserving of a little attention.
So if you’re a regular reader, I’ll keep pushing out those posts, and if you just got here, there’s a ton of posts from the last 12 months to occupy your time! Who knows, maybe I’ll expand into interviews this year. And coming up soon … a review of my favourite album!
Enjoy the music.
PS: It also wouldn’t kill you to visit thegatelessgate.net …