Korova: We Haven’t ‘Lost One Sale to Anyone’ From Music Blogs
A lot of labels and artists cite music blogs as the bane of the Internet and the infection causing the lackluster sales of the music world. But for bands self-releasing and not living the touring life, those blogs are a key channel of distribution. “I don’t think we have lost one sale to anyone that downloaded our music from a blog, but I know for a fact that people have bought our stuff because they heard it on someone’s blog first,” Korova frontman Ian Wise told Noisecreep. In the past year, the Birmingham, Ala. outfit has received much praise from these blogs for their cutthroat hardcore utilizing the scene way back machine.
When the band released their full-length debut, ‘Another Happy Customer,’ Wise contacted blogs that would post the album for free giving them everything they needed to give people an honest free album. “We’ve been able to reach kids in places like Greece and Chile — where we wouldn’t be able to get any sort of physical distribution for our CDs — due to blogs,” he revealed. “That is f—ing awesome.”
He continued, “For a band like us, that doesn’t play outside of Birmingham very often and doesn’t have a lot of money to promote our music, blogs are a great way to reach people that never would have gotten into us otherwise. Being able to reach kids in hip cities that are constantly bombarded with bands and need someone to filter things out for them as well as kids in ‘Nowhere, Idaho’ who are completely cut off and need someone to recommend music to them because nobody tours there is awesome.
“The Internet has allowed us to reach people all over the world, and things like blogs allow us to communicate on an international level in a way that was impossible 20 or even 10 years ago.”
The singer runs a music blog himself, which also acts as a sort of home for Korova. “I basically started it because I was f—ing bored out of my mind. I wish I had some cool mission statement, but I don’t,” Wise said, explaining the nature of his site. “I was married and living outside Chicago and needed something to do during the nights I couldn’t sleep and everyone else was in bed, so I made rips of records I had and posted them on the internet. That’s about all the thought I ever put into it at the beginning. Later on I started realizing that I had accumulated a lot of hard-to-find records that people were paying a lot of money for on eBay, so I started posting those as sort of a service to others or whatever.”
The site has gained a great momentum as a place to hear long out of print underground LPs. So far, the complaints about the site can still be counted on one hand. “I posted an old An Albatross LP that was limited to less than 200 copies, and the label owner flipped [its] s— completely. He sent me a really b—-y email about ‘releasing the corporate bloodhounds’ on me, and I tried to respond nicely, explaining that I’d posted the record because I liked it and it was out of print and I wanted others to hear it. He responded by CCing me in an e-mail he sent to the band (who obviously didn’t give a s— and never even bothered contacting me about it).”
Two other artists voiced displeasure for their material being on his site, but later Wise was able to reach common ground when meeting in person. One band mailed him a package of records as an apology for the misunderstanding.
Wise sees the Internet’s ability to get music out there free as what makes hardcore better now than it was before, as well as a reaction to rare vinyl just being too expensive to buy. “MP3s are important because the ‘collectors market’ has gotten so out of hand in the past few years and there are some great records that were only pressed in quantities of a few hundred and sell for too much money for most of us to afford. But also, as a band nowadays you can’t ignore any sort of promotional avenue.
“Blogs are an amazing way to promote a band because there’s absolutely no limit to the number of people it can reach, and I still firmly believe that people will still buy records to support bands they like, even (or especially) if they download it from a blog first,” he says. “It’s still new and exciting, and it might just be a fad, but I doubt it. And I think that people that try to fight it are just upset that their time has passed, you know? I’m not trying to knock traditional print zines — I write for AMP and Razorcake as well, and they’re both filling an important role — I’m just saying that the Internet is definitely playing a huge role in underground music right now, and you have to be willing to take advantage of it or be left in the dust.”