How You are Turning EDM Into MTV


I read an article on Dödselectro that struck me. Not so much for their description of blogs as “the new gossip tabloids,” but for the fact that we as curators and writers are quickly shifting away from the reason we all got into music.  Sure, we give detailed accounts of Diplo’s war of words with Flo-Rida and speak on the breakup between Deadmau5 and Kat Von D. But it’s what the 99% wants.  Our stats prove that you react more to this than music.

Brandon Stanton of Humans Of New York explained people’s participation in media perfectly during his TED Talk by listing the reasons we watch movies. Violence, danger, sex, conflict, and puppies are the reasons he listed that keep viewers coming back.  The only difference between movies and music is that we could care less about puppies. We love cats. The reality that shock value has more merit than representing real life is quantifiable though.  It’s sad, and it’s your fault.

You are the reason that websites post what we post.  Whether or not anyone wants to speak honestly and openly about it, drama equates to ad dollars.  If you clicked our article on Martin Garrix (conflict) or Crunk Bear getting fired for twerking (sex) or clicked any one of our articles on artists getting beat up or shot (violence), you were one of the people that would sway any writer with college debt into catering their content to you in hopes of making it rich in this industry.  Or at least paying their bills. You should know though that if we posted nothing but the things that generate the most results, we would only focus our articles on drama. I suppose it would also be beneficial to report news on Daft Punk.

You clicked on these dramatic posts tens of thousands of times.  Did you furiously share any of the hundreds of great records that we posted?  Is the SoundCloud account that we run going viral due to the stack of original (and exclusive) mixes we’ve hosted?  Nope.  But the drama is pulled from our hands and placed on a pedestal the second we post it.  The new and unique music was all but ignored in comparison.

Remember MTV Jams? MTV Unplugged? The Grind? Alternative Nation? 120 Minutes? AmpHeadbangers Ball? Yo! MTV Raps?  If not, you either didn’t have cable as a child, or you are too young for these references.  All of these shows were staples in the lives of anyone that cared about music at all, and none of them exist anymore. The reason these shows matter isn’t because of branding or nostalgia. It’s because each show was represented by a set of voices that actually knew what they were speaking on, and because they all put music first.  Stats undoubtedly showed that consumers cared more about reality and celebrity television, and music is all but dead at MTV. EDM is moving in that direction faster than anyone should be comfortable with.

Websites are currently flooded with content that you will find on most other sites. There is more than one reason for this.  First and foremost, most platforms are being run by fans of music that have no background in music beyond, well, liking it. They never got into production or spun records, can’t differentiate between genres or find records that are unique, and are stuck when forced to explain what they like about a record.  And as a ridiculous amount of sites are accepting money for placement, we are sitting on a market where not only do platforms not know what’s good, but they are also taking money or collecting favors in exchange for favorable placement or opinion. We are seeing flat write-ups about flat records that land on every other site in the world.

Tobias at Dödselectro (who wrote the original article that inspired this one) called it the “arena house culture” in another article. (I think I like this guy.) This is because corporations and companies are putting music before business. We can add the fact that PR firms package your favorite artists up, hand them to every site imaginable, and shape the market to post what is relevant to them. We’re still out here scouring SoundCloud for new artists, checking Bandcamp for original releases, and listening to each and every submission that lands in our inbox. Why are we working so hard?

The thing about music is that the fans shouldn’t have to look for originality. The fans trust our opinions. If those opinions were unbiased, this world would be perfect. And as Complex is giving us the rare opportunity to write pretty much whatever we want in exchange for regular checks, we don’t have to deal with all of the shady backdoor shit that every other site has their hands in. All we need to do is keep our numbers up. You should all know though that doing so would actually be EASIER if we focused on Twitter beefs and slam pieces. Posting unique records from little-known producers doesn’t produce clicks for us. If you want music to thrive over drama, it’s your duty to share the shit out of a record that you love on ANY website that you go to for music. If you “Like” nothing but the juicy stories about headlining acts, you are forcing writers to cater to it and should hold yourself responsible as music is being removed from EDM.

  • Kathryn

    Yo dawg I heard you like click-bait, so I wrote some click-bait about click-bait so you can click-bait while you click bait.

  • Mr Strongg

    this is the sad truth, but at least you guys are being real about it.

  • Kiren Srinivasan

    Quality justifications, Nappy.

  • Fuzz

    Call me weird but I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about drama. All I care about is bass, and lots of it.

    • khal

      that’s what we like to hear.

  • Name

    insulting the reader vs. saying “you know what? we really are just a gossip blog that looks for miniscule problems and try to make mountains out of molehills in a poor attempt to get more clicks”… Real professional. It’s my fault you write shitty articles? Get over yourselves.

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      we had some great tunes that went up today. you clicked on this article and responded to it ;-)

  • Real Trap Sheep

    I want Nappy to have my baahbaaaahbabbbbies.

  • u wish buddy

    stay true to whats really good and you’ll get ur shit, puttin the blame on err one when it is truly only the writer who actually controls what goes on the blog doesnt justify it.

    • khal

      “stay true to whats really good” we do that every day, buddy.

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      and if websites (not just ours) consistently get the most clicks on everything except music, you don’t see how that can sway what people are posting?

  • ZeroAlpha

    This is very true, And anyone who says that its not the readers fault is wrong. It all has to do with the “train wreck” affect. People always find more interest in something when there is an issue. People can’t be happy unless nothing is perfect. People won’t look away while someone else gets put down. its human nature, and the media industry has played on it for decades. I doubt this will ever change, but thats not the point, the readers who make an active choice to look for something other then the drama will find more enlightened and honest articles and posts on the web. Even if its the silent minority.

  • Andrew

    Real recognize real. I liked the article, I like Dödselectro, I like everything you brought up. Everyone’s mad because it’s our duty as music listeners to make sure the music comes first and sometimes that gets lost in a flurry of tabloids and unnecessary shit. 10/10