How much credit can the internet really be given when it comes to breaking a new band; and how much is just good old fashioned PR?
"Don't believe all you read about web-driven musical phenomenons. Old-fashioned PR and marketing still have a big part to play in their success..." according to the UK's Guardian Unlimited."...there's Sandi Thom, whom newspapers have hailed as a webcasting phenomenon, broadcasting to the world - and signing a record deal - from her basement in Tooting, south London..."
"What all these stories actually demonstrate is that the labels have adapted much more quickly to the new technology of the internet as a means for boosting artists than the media. For when you examine each in detail, you find the music business letting the media believe what it wants to about the "bottom-up" internet - and hiding the top-down PR at which record companies have excelled for decades."
The article goes on to talk a critical look at the success of MySpace, The Arctic Monkeys and others concluding that while the net is a great tool to spread the word; it's old fashioned press and PR that still drives traffic online and into record stores. It's a convincing argument and in some cases like Sandi Thom the net has been used as the latest promotional scheme to be smartly exploited. In all instances the internet like any media needed to be "worked" by some combination of the label, pr staff, fans and even as with Hawthorne Height by the band itself.
Whatever the source the net has created a more level playing field; one usually less under the thumbs of giant corporations or the highest bidder as radio has been. The line between good PR and organic buzz will always be blurred, but a more democratized net with endless blogs and comments at least gives us many more choices as to who we want to trust.