With more than half of 2015 behind us, it’s time for the latest Ones To Watch. This feature takes a look at the most blogged artists of the year so far and identifies the names newest to the set—the ones who made their biggest splash in recent months…the ones to keep an eye on. We apply two simple qualifiers: it’s the artist’s first appearance in the data, and they’ve yet to release a full-length LP. More on the science behind the series here.
It’s fun to revisit past features and spot names that went from went from the pages of blogs to the posters of major festivals, along with the sounds they introduced: Sam Smith, Tinashe, Yumi Zouma, Years & Years, Gorgon City, Tove Lo, to name a few.
January 2014: Ones To Watch 2014
August 2014: Ones To Watch 2014 ½ with BBC Radio 6 Music
January 2015: Ones To Watch 2015
And now, August 2015: Ones To Watch 2015 ½
Who will stand out a year from now? Share your favorites on Facebook and Twitter, or embed this player on your site:
Hype Machine’s been tracking music discussed on blogs since 2005, bubbling up the most popular tracks of the moment in our Popular charts. We monitor what the Hype Machine community is favoriting, which artists are being posted most frequently, and what’s getting tweeted.
But there was one part of the music landscape we hadn’t been tracking—videos. YouTube, which also launched in 2005, has become the preferred channel for many labels and artists to announce their new releases. Bloggers may have been talking about them, but they weren’t being recognized on Hype Machine—until now.
This is our new Videos chart:
It collects videos being posted most frequently by blogs in our list, and we hope it gives a more complete view of what’s happening in music right now. As usual, you can play the tracks, visit the blogs, and read their posts.
Try it out, let us know what you think!
We’ve been fans of Snapchat forever (I think since early 2013?). We love the room for play that the platform creates, and have been thinking about how to apply the same playful approach to music.
It’s a big question, but for now we’ve made an account: ‘hypem‘, and this weekend, Dave will share a few moments from the amazing FORM Acrosanti festival. Add us by name, or take a snap photo of the image above.
More experiments ahead.
A few years have passed since I’ve written about our approach to Hype Machine’s Popular charts.
Since that post, we’ve prevented hundreds of artists and marketing teams from gaining an unfair advantage on our site. It’s disappointing, but it comes with the territory of maintaining a music chart that remains closely watched six years later. This has helped millions of people find some truly incredible music through each of the blogs in our index.
More recently, we’ve become concerned over some new patterns on music blogs themselves.
A handful of labels and PR outlets have focused their efforts on illicitly gaining coverage on Hype Machine-indexed blogs. The most common approach is to become a contributor at an established blog and post their clients (or clients their friends are promoting). For maximum impact, the same person would then get a spot at multiple blogs to create the appearance of broader support for the release. In some cases, the people running these blogs were aware of this, in others these discoveries have come as a surprise.
We have stopped indexing blogs that support such behavior or do not select their writers carefully. There are a few reasons why it’s important for us that this does not continue on Hype Machine:
• You should be able to listen to a track knowing that it was posted because the writer thinks it’s good—not because they’re a client.
• By creating a false sense of popularity for their artists, marketers can manipulate you into liking the music they are paid to promote. For example, if a track has been posted by many blogs, some of which are well-established, it is more likely to be heard and gain momentum through repetition. This encourages more blogs to post these artists, and the cycle repeats.
While blogs are an integral part of music marketing in 2015, we want to support bloggers, labels, and PR agencies that operate with integrity.
That’s right, some of you have been finding new music with Hype Machine for 10 years. Thanks for listening, and for being so curious.
I also can’t thank the people who have built Hype Machine with me over the past ten years–their creativity, commitment and patience are outstanding.
There is a lot to say about this much time but one thing stands out: there has never been a better time to be a music listener, and yet it is still difficult to playfully connect with new things. Finding what to listen to is as hard as ever, and that means we need to get back to work.
PS. In the meantime, enjoy the Norton Commander CGA color remix of the site.