2016 sees MelodicRock.com celebrate 20 years online.
It has been a privilege and an honor to be part of the melodic rock community for this length of time.
It has been both humbling and rewarding to be able to help promote many of the artists I grew up listening to. So many great musicians I have met along the way and am proud to call friends.
And I thank so many loyal readers and followers of the site for your friendship and support over the years.
To all the companies that have supported MelodicRock.com over that time, I thank you also. Such an investment has allowed me to do this “job” full time for a good part of the 20 years and I trust that my services have helped sell a lot of records over that time.
Some like Frontiers Records, AOR Heaven and NEH Records have been with me almost since the very start.
That said, times have changed since 1996 and the music business has changed. Information delivery has changed.
And now on the occasion of my 20th Anniversary, it is time for me to make a change. For the better I think. This is a long post and I hope folks will have the interest to read through it all. It’s not a missive of doom and gloom, but more a reality check from one person’s perspective and a look at what’s to come. Read on please…
The industry I started in some 20 years ago is all but gone as the music business continues on through a complete overhaul. The massive increase in piracy and the move by consumers to switch to digital formats and streaming has brought about the closure of a lot of companies. Magazines, retailers, labels, PR companies…
Many of those were companies that supported MelodicRock.com over the years with advertising and promotional activities.
Businesses have always come and gone, but these days the ones that go aren’t being replaced by new enterprises. Everything has consolidated to a handful of companies.
iTunes and Amazon rule pre-sales – but neither invest in advertising outside of their small % affiliate programs. YouTube and Facebook are the #1 outlets for promoting anything and they just want your money to support their bottom lines.
We must support the labels, stores and artists still willing to put everything on the line for the love of music. Anyone mentioned on my site is part of that.
On the subject of piracy, I filed complaints against a Blog yesterday for 9 different MRR related links. And today the bastards have up audio of an album not even released yet.
Basically there is very little money in the music industry for independent outlets. Everyone is struggling. Of course to state as much is bad for business… To survive, one must adapt.
There has been no decrease in users of the site over the past several years. Stats actually remain very constant and reliable. And I am absolutely dedicated to continuing to give all readers reasons to continue coming back!
But - if I still want to be here next week/month/year, then the focus must shift to where the income is today.
And that for me is MelodicRock Records. I’ve put a lot of energy into the label in the last 12 months and I think the results can be seen. In order to continue to focus on the label, there has to be some changes.
These changes will commence after this week’s Easter break.
The biggest change is to place the focus of the site back on reviews. Adding reviews for the latest and upcoming releases (in advance) will be the primary aim of day to day updates at the site.
The delivery of news will take a back seat to reviews.
Once it was awesome to be at the forefront of breaking news, but these days everything is so controlled, so safe and predictable. There is little opportunity today to discuss rumors, expose backroom deals or report a story that hasn’t just gone out on the wires to 45,000 other outlets.
Facebook ensures that any news sent anywhere is instantly everywhere else and for someone that thrived on being at the head of the pack, there is little inspiration served by cutting and pasting endless badly written press releases that are designed to say as little as possible.
I’m spending so much time cultivating content you can get anywhere else that I’m missing out on doing the thing I truly love – writing.
Of course all the important news will still be posted. And all the news that doesn’t get picked up by regular outlets – news from the melodic labels and artists that all too often get ignored. Nothing will change there.
You can follow breaking news and comments constantly via my Social Media outlets: Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelRockAU) and Twitter (@melodicrock)
It’s time for a shift of focus for my brand. Time for me to get back to what I wanted to do in the early days - exposing as many people as possible to the best music on the planet.
And I’m going to do that via this renewed focus on reviews.
Reviews are what have suffered most over the last 12 months and it is with these that I can still deliver exclusive content and do the best possible job of talking about everything that’s available to check out. I’d like to get back to focussing on discussing all new releases – the good, the bad and the Bret Michaels.
Additionally, I’ll take this opportunity to say that there are no further MelodicRock Fest events in planning. I’m really looking forward to the first MRF event here in Australia in May (www.melodicrockfest.com) and helping Justin Murr out at Rocknskull vs MRF 2016 in Illinois in October (https://www.facebook.com/events/1508106629513304). I’ll still help Justin and others out where possible if asked, but I’m not planning on doing any more standalone MRF events. The time and effort and stress that go into each one is simply too distracting.
Back to my other passion – working with artists. MelodicRock Records is something I’m very proud of and want to further expand. Despite those few willing to destroy the scene via uploading albums to pirate blogs, there is still a market for great music from new artists, plus artists that aren’t marquee names that are currently very limited in their options for releasing what we here all love – that “album” format.
This is where I can make a difference - and where I intend to focus my time outside of writing more of those reviews than ever. Getting great music and great artists to as many people as possible has always been the one thing I set out to achieve and get a lot of satisfaction out of.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to offer some truly inspirational artists an offer they can work with and the next 6 months is going to see the release of some truly amazing albums on MelodicRock Records.
So MelodicRock.com will focus more heavily on reviews and you’ll also get all the MRR news and previews as well as direct links to purchase. The advantage of selling direct to readers is a vital cog in the survival of the label and the promotion of these artists.
But I’m not stopping there.
It never ceases to surprise me how many comments I get when talking about past releases folks missed and are now curious about. And when better to take a look back than on a 20th Anniversary year?
Over the course of the year ahead I will be running a series of lists titled “20 from 20”. Taking a look back over the last 20 years and the music that has stood the test of time (and some that hasn’t) and the artists that have made it.
But first, the 2015 MelRock Awards…
And finally….while I am here seemingly writing up my life story, it seems like a good time to introduce a couple of additional writing projects that I’ve been working on in a very piecemeal fashion for what seems like forever.
I harbor ambitions in writing greater than I’ve showcased to date. It’s time to introduce those projects, as perhaps by doing so it will be a catalyst to ensure I stay focussed and don’t come up with new reasons to procrastinate as I have done for too long.
If I’m honest, these ideas may not go as far as I’d like, but at least I will know in myself that I tried and gave it the chance I wanted to.
For the past several years I have been working on plans for a story surrounding my site mascot – The Wombat.
Those ideas have grown over time and I now believe there is a very commercial story that could find widespread appeal.
I’ll begin the process I think best suited to bringing “Rock Wombat” to life via Kickstarter in the coming weeks/months. As soon as possible... I have an updated Wombat to debut soon thanks to the pen of John Hageman and Mel Smith – two fantastic guys.
The other idea we’ll call “The Label”. It’s an idea that I’ve had for a long time - a way of telling some of the unbelievable things that go on in parts of this industry. The dysfunction and the bullshit, parts of which will be drawn from my experiences in the business; everything I have learnt (and shouldn’t have) along the way as well as stories I’ve been told, things I’ve been a party to or just witnessed and some of the strangest stuff – you just couldn’t make some of it up.
There are some truly hair-raising tales to be told and some that probably shouldn’t be.
As well as looking for investors in both projects, to help fund these plans I will continue to sell off unwanted CDs and LPs from my personal collection over the next month or two via Ebay and will post links when available.
And should you feel inclined to support what I’m doing, you can always invest in any of the great MelodicRock Records titles (via www.melodicrockdirect.com) or the upcoming Kickstarter campaign, or simply donate via Paypal using the username: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone’s support and friendship over the past 20 years has never been taken for granted and is wholly appreciated and friendships cherished. I’m privileged to be among such fine people and to have made so many lasting friendships.
It’s time to have some fun again and I believe this is the best way forward, the best way to keep me sane and a way to guarantee I can still be here to deliver the word on what to buy and when to buy it.
So maybe this is a slight detour from what everyone is used to, but I’m not going anywhere and long may this crazy ride continue!