Internet music hype is usually based around New. The newest sound, song, or band, can go from putting a demo onto the internet, to being the most hyped track on the internet in mere hours. This is because the internet, or more specifically, the music blogging internet, wants more to talk about and listen to. Some bands may see this as a good thing, but in more than a few cases, this sort of instant hype can be a death knell for bands who aren’t mature enough (in sound, style, or mind).
Pitchfork has a great interview with Henry Owings, the man behind the zine Chunklet. Owings has years of indie cred behind him and his newest book The Indie Cred Test is an fun ribbing of indie culture. In the Pfork interview Owings brings up some interesting points to ponder about how the net has changed the way bands grow:
Pfork: …was a greater chance of seeing a really exciting show in the late 1980s or early 90s than there is now, or is that idea just a nostalgic fallacy?
HO: Well, the instantaneous nature of internet journalism has made it so that bands can’t be bands anymore. Like, Fugazi would play to 20 people the first time they came to town, and the next time they’d double it, and the next time they double that. It was a very– I hate saying this word– “organic” progression. Whereas now you have a band like Vampire Weekend who played to four people the first time they came to Atlanta, and then they sell out the club in advance the next time. I’m not saying they don’t deserve it, but you can’t become a good band like that so fucking quickly.
Look at Clap Your Hands Say Yeah– they were barely a band when they “finally” became an overnight sensation, and then they fucking sucked live. There’s something very exciting about seeing a band figure out their own thing as time goes on. Here in Atlanta, Deerhunter and Black Lips were two of the last bands that were allowed to be bands– Black Lips did countless fucking tours, many of them booked themselves or by shitty booking agents, before they “made it.” I’ve seen them since they were all 16 years old, coming down from the suburbs. Those motherfuckers did some horrible shows, and god fucking bless ’em. I like things that are shaky; I like four-track recordings. Crudeness is a way of encapsulating genius.
Any old dude can always say, “It was so much better 20 years ago.” But it’s great now. It’s just that sometimes I get frustrated when people think that popularity equals good. Just because somebody could sell out doesn’t mean they’re good. It’s rare that you have a good band sell out a huge place. And I was lucky enough to learn what’s a good show and what’s a bad show. I think there are people who will take whatever they can get and think it’s a good show no matter what. (More here)