A blog is an odd thing; before you know it, it solidifies into something with an identity which might be extremely foreign to you but, nonetheless, demands your devotion and attention. I’ve been an editor for Heavy Blog for close to three years and in that time, it has changed considerably. And yet, the shackles of expectation and routine that shackle me to its core are still unrusted and secure. From time to time, however, one must take a long, hard look at those shackles and ask some hard questions: “Why am I chained to this? How do these parts serve me? Or is it I that serves them?”.
On rare occasions, after one has answered said questions, a hammer must be raised against the chains and iron must fly. This is one of those occasions. Whether you know it or not, blogs across the internet are dying; social media, the rise of clickbait and much more is leading to decreasing traffic numbers. In their panic, many turn to the poisons which had, only a short moment ago, been working their treachery on them. Thus, once established blogs become bogs of irrelevance, mediocrity and pandering.
We refuse to become that. We’d rather burn this blog to the ground (metaphorically and virtually, of course) than see it turn into one of those sites. We already enacted a series of changes a little over one year ago as our first step in this direction. We said that we would cease covering news in short formats and killing ourselves to publish 6-8 posts a day, mostly about things we didn’t even care about all that much. We began exploring longer-form content with our Deep Dive essays and more. But it was just that: a first step. We’re still not where we really want to be as a website, nor do we believe we are in the best position to remain vital and relevant in an ever-changing digital media landscape (all of those systemic issues we identified in that post from last year certainly haven’t gone anywhere).
Thus, we have the next step in our continued evolution as a blog and enterprise: The Brooklyn Plan™. Text cannot do it much justice. Therefore, here’s a video taken in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. It speaks for itself but let me add this: if you’re reading us, then we adore you. We think us together, reader and writer, are the best hope this community has for intelligent, productive discourse about music. Our readership especially is where amazing things happen: collaboration, recommendation, creation.
If for some reason you are simply unable or unwilling to watch the video, here are the three main takeaways and changes we are making to content on the website.
- Doubling down on longer-form content: We will continue to emphasize longer analytical pieces, personal essays, and journalistic deep dives that will explore the issues we care about most. We will put into context trends we are seeing in the music sphere, whether it’s strictly musical, business-related, both, or neither. These will be fully developed and thought-out pieces that will require your full attention and perhaps even more than one sitting, but we are convinced that this is the kind of content that not only will stand the test of time, but will best feed our passions for the music and ideas about music we love. This means that our overall output may continue to decrease (we will still post daily reviews and other shorter post staples like our Hey! Listen To This! series of columns and more), but the quality of each post will greatly improve.
- No more review scores: We realize that review scores serve a purpose and do have some merit in theory as a way to summarize or encapsulate the feelings of a writer about a piece of music at a glance, but we have long felt that the drawbacks of it cause it to serve as too much of a distraction from the actual review. Review scores are ultimately a wildly arbitrary measure of the quality/worthiness of an album, and we no longer feel like including something that is so reductive and counter-productive. If you want to know if you should listen to an album, read our thoughts on what the album sounds like and what its respective strengths/weaknesses are, and then go judge it for yourself. We believe in you.
- Genre agnosticism: Most of you who have been visiting this place for the past couple of years have surely noticed that we have been gradually broadening the scope of our coverage more and more to include more posts about genres like post-rock, jazz, hip-hop, electronic, indie, and more. The fact is that we all listen to a ton of music that is metal and a ton that isn’t, and we take great pride in our eclecticism (and know that many of you appreciate that from us). We will always be a website that focuses first and foremost about metal of all stripes, but we will no longer hesitate to let you know about anything else going on in the wide world of music we feel is noteworthy enough to write about. And if you’re not interested in our other coverage, well, you don’t have to read all of it!
TL;DR. Watch the video. We’re still Heavy Blog and we want to stay Heavy Blog and thus some changes to what Heavy Blog is are needed. Thank you, and we love you.