Book I’m reading: Net, Blogs and Rock’n’Roll by David Jennings

 Found this in the local library. At first I thought it’s just introducing the uninitiated to the blogging and social networking world regarding music, but past the first chapter and I’m finding there’s a lot of useful stuff.

For example, one chapter looks at certain marketing data in the UK analyzing the varying enthusiasm of music listeners from ages 16-45 (2003-2005). Out of that age group about 40% don’t really listen to music -they’d rather listen to talkback radio or sports than a music station. Then there are three grades of listeners -‘Casuals’ (32%), who are more into the social experience of music, the ‘enthusiasts’ (21%) who are more serious into music, like to stuff their ipods and explore niches, and finally the ‘savants’ (7%), fanatics who are often musos themselves, or dedicated fans who run blogs and websites about their favourite artists.

I wonder if I qualified as a ‘savant when I was at school. I went through several stages, the first being Bon Jovi, then 70’s British punk (loved to collect the fanzines as well), then guitar music as I took up guitar -which meant lots of Jimi Hendrix and Santana, then there was the moody Cure phase into my early twenties.

What was interesting about the noughties decade is that many people over 30’s still maintained an active interest in music (which includes me), but a lot of this enthusiasm is focused on retro stuff from 60’s to 80’s. Looking in my local newsagent I notice many mags devoted to all the past great bands and well-known artists -almost as much as mags devoted to mew music! Is it that new bands don’t have as much credibility these days?

I guess the internet has opened everything up. The established media can’t cope with it all, so it reverts back to the common denominator of the artists prior to about 6-7 years ago. That’s why the top artists are still U2, Radiohead, Sade, Britney Spears, Madonna yadda yadda… Only the odd  new act gains as much traction to dominate the charts (which apparently don’t sell like they used to anyway).

Back to the book… It gives some good insights into how the whole music culture online works with different types of fans. The savants may only be around 7%, but if an up-and-coming act gets their attention, then those savants can make a decent impact in spreading the word to enthusiasts and so on.

But I always find it amusing when these books refer to psychologists doing studies of youth culture -like they’re some kind of aliens who need analyzing. Didn’t those pyschologists go to school? Or were they the nerds not into music? I’m just being silly -it’s all good.


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