The Unspoken Rule Of Music Blogging (Until It Happens)… Don't Ask For Money

Yesterday, the on again / off again / currently kind of on again (but always excellent) music blog Tympanogram started the Twitter hash tag #musicblogkickstarterrewards.

At first, I thought they were just trying to start a mildly amusing hash tag game of ‘see who can think of something funny to add’, but with no other real motivation behind it. Eventually the true reasoning behind the hash tag became apparent. Another music blog had entered the extremely crowded music blog world… and they broke the cardinal rule of music blogging: Thou shant start a Kickstarter to try and fund what everyone else is doing for free.

And it rubbed people the wrong way.

This is not the first time this act has rubbed wrongly. I remember there being a bit of an uproar when Adhoc started a Kickstarter to fund their music blogging adventure, and more recently, when Uncool attempted to raise some money to pay for the writing of their words on music (this distaste was captured in audio form in the slightly tense We Listen For You vs. Dave Rawkblog podcast). It's an interesting thing. There is no doubt that we live in a capitalist world, but at the same time, especially in the music & blogging world, we also live in a 'doing it with no real plans of how to make money’ world. I'm definitely guilty of the latter (and you can throw in running a ‘not a record label, not not a record label’ into the mix, on top of the whole blogging thing).

I imagine the thing that really upsets ‘bloggers doing it for free’ the most (ps - I don't really classify myself as a proper blogger, but I definitely do what I do for free, so I will use a 'we' instead of a 'they' in this paragraph), is that we all would love to get paid to share our thoughts. Of course we would. Who wouldn't? (but how?) So whenever someone actually just asks for the money —and when one also sees that Indie, Bikes & Beer has already raised over $3000— there is a bit of a “how dare you just ask for the money / I can't believe it might be that simple” knee-jerk reaction.

The naivety of IB&B's pitch probably added a lot to the vitriol (he appears to have only been at it since October 2012, bless). The reward for donating $125 is to be able to write your own post on their site (that sort of thinking is definitely going to bring out some deserving guffaws). And vitriol is probably not the best word. Mild mockery would be more accurate. But surely that mockery comes from a personal realization that blogging for free is also a kind of mockable pursuit. “You do realize that you aren't getting paid?” said every blogger to themselves at some point; their partners, families, and friends have said it at a lot more points (there's a pretty good related article over on The Village Voice about all this and it's worth a read).

I don't think Indie, Bikes & Beer will get the $12,500 that they are after (side note: has anyone tried raising a more sympathetic ‘help support my love of blogging’ amount, like just the cost of hosting?), but if they do get the money, expect a lot of bitter bloggers. It will be like the real world equivalent of when a less deserving co-worker ditches being unambitiously modest in their yearly evaluation and just comes right out and asks for the raise. And they get it, along with a promotion. Which leaves you bitching at the water cooler; vocally hating their ladder climbing trickery, secretly wishing you had done the same, and seriously thinking about quitting.

/