New Media Pioneer: Jody Whitesides of Singleoftheday.com Blog
Essentially this is a daily blog that will be a song that fits the mood the writer is in for the day or what‘s currently happening in the world. It will always be a band or artist th writer thinks the audience should know about, and support by purchasing the music or seeing them play live. Who knows, you might dig his taste in others enough to even support him in his creative endeavors as well.
Q:: How long have you been blogging?
A I’ve been doing the Single of the Day blog since June 27th, 2006. That puts me at a little over the two year mark and counting. That’s a post for every day! It’s not always easy.
Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?
A: Being that I’m a songwriter I’m probably more critical of the music I select for the blog. If I come across a song that somehow grabs me and does fit my normal ideals, I’ll point that out on the blog. I’ll explain what it is that grabs me in the song.
First off an intro that has a vibe that either piques my ear or draws me in is a major plus. That could be a hook of any sort, be it a vocal, a guitar, a piano, a bass, a drum, something that clearly denotes that song as soon as I hear it. Once the song comes in it has to have some sort of flow. A vibe, often times a bounce or swing. So much music these days lacks flow. How good the people playing their instruments are comes into consideration as well. Being in tune helps a bunch. With that typed, production rarely makes a bad song better. The real trick is getting me to feel it in some way. Then come the lyrics, can I remember them? Is the melody supporting those words? Does the music support that melody? Does the singer sing in tune? Do they have a voice that is pleasing to my ear? Do I get a nice journey in the lyrics? Tell me something that I can relate a portion of my life to and do it in a way that is unique.
Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?
A: I used to have favorites when I was learning to play. Once I got to a certain level of playing ability on my main instrument I no longer had favorites. Then my focus shifted to songwriting, adifferent beast from being a technically good/great musician. Some bands have had great players that are/were great writers. At this point, I really don’t have favorite bands anymore. As for genres, well… I primarily dig the all encompassing field of Rock. However, I’m very much into combining that with other genres. For my listening though, I really will listen to a lot of genres and if a song really grabs me, I’ll buy it. If the whole album is really strong, I’ll buy the album. I much prefer an album over a single. But it has to kick ass front to back. That’s hard to do, even for me (with my own releases). I think the real question is: what music gets one to part with their hard earned money. Anything that can do that is probably able to be listed as a favorite.
Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?
A: I’m probably about to shoot myself in the foot with this answer. My rep at SESAC, Derek Sivers, Brian A. Whitney, and many of my musical peers, were all really excited to hear about the blog when I started it a couple of years ago. I’m actually amazed I’m still doing it. Every single day. I tend to focus mostly on non-signed or blog/podcast friendly artists. Which makes it easy for them to give me permission to have their song play when someone visits the site. I could allow the player to play the music in the RSS feed, but I’ve opted not to do that incase I get attacked with some arcane law. In a way, I get the feeling, I’m sorta flying under the radar. Who knows what the future will bring. I don’t make anything substantial off the blog, maybe a few pennies here and there based on google ads. It’s not much money, certainly not enough to justify why I do it. I don’t take money or bribes to be on the blog either. It’s strictly stuff I choose that shows I love music, it’s that simple. If I got hit with a lawsuit, I’d first see if there’s some arrangement to avoid the lawsuit. Otherwise, I’d probably have stop the idea of playing the music and continue by only talking about it.
Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel blogs have that power?
A: At risk of being a dick (I have a sticker that says, “Don’t Be A Dick”) I will say the following about Myspace. Myspace screwed themselves with poor usability. At first it was an ok way to find music and match it with fans. The closed system did not, and still does not allow for easy personalization of a page – not exactly what I would define as ‘my’ space. It took 3rd party developers to come up with ways to make myspace more useful. Smart peeps used the programs to target very specific profiles and gain fans. There was some weird belief that if you had X amount of friends on Myspace you’d get signed. So bands would spend hours a day on myspace looking for anyone to friend them.
Since I’m not a fan of promoting my music to other bands and vis versa, I don’t accept band requests on my myspace page. Of the 19,000 or so peeps I have there, maybe 50 are band pages in my friends list. But they’re all bands I know personally or have written with. My reason on that is: it’s a waste of time if it’s not making a sale.Which is probably why Myspace failed to really generate amazing sales for most bands, attempting to sell to other bands. I’m sure a few people got something out of myspace. I doubt you’ll see any new band come out of it now. Why? Myspace killed off all the ability to mass communicate. They’ve turned their back on the artists that helped create the site and are now bowing to the major labels. I understand it from a business sense. But it’s going to prevent them from returning to the “cool” status they had two years ago.
Blogs on the other hand are a whole different beast. They are generally much more personal. A way for a human to expose themselves. If that exposure of the self is something others happen to like, it ends up creating a community. When Single of the Day first got off the ground, I had a lot of people offering me suggestions to check out music. Some were great suggestions, lots of others not so much. The idea of an artist doing a review of other artists seemed to be something people really liked. My blog has morphed a bit. I’ve incorporated way more of my own musings of what I go thru as an artist into it. I remember the blog post where I made that switch. I then attempt to relate me to the song I pick in some way shape or form. I actually have no idea if people truly read it or not. My desire is readers get something from it. That something is the song. It always surprises me when people tell me “oh you know when you wrote…” it shows they are paying attention. I know artists have made sales because of Single of the Day. That makes me feel good. I also get emails from readers saying how much a song meant to them so they buy it, that’s great too.
I would say that if the blogger is worth reading, people will follow. It can make a great way to connect music. We all still need a filter system and a blog is a very nice niche filter.