It’s been another hectic week for StereoGrid with lots of change-ups and tweaks, but we finally finished this week’s Blogger Q+A installment with an under-the-radar brand, Just A Love Thing, led by Alex Anda, Alfredo Ocegueda and Robert Armez. We talk about the massive success of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne and their impact on the music industry, while also chatting about music start-ups aiming to empower music fans in support of their bands.
How did Just a Love Thing start and where are you based?
We’re actually based in a Southern California town called Victorville just a few hours away from Los Angeles. One night while drinking with my friend Alfredo, we were browsing through a few hip-hop blogs and when we saw how much music we had to wade through just to see maybe a page of worthwhile music we decided to do our own. Our name for the blog stems from the Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth song ‘It’s A Love Thing,’ and although we’re small, we set out to just give people good music. We wanted to post music with a message and not have people wade through a massive amount of posts just to find a few songs they might like. Although small we have ever increasing numbers and we’re working on establishing ourselves as a brand: hosting concerts, shirts, stickers, sponsoring events, things like that.
You’re a fan of StereoGrid. What do you like about it so far?
The thing I really love about StereoGrid is the widget. It offers people the chance to buy music from the artist in addition to different embeds. There’s no limit like most sites as to what you can upload. It’s really accurate as far as stats and that was something lacking in other sites. We were hooked when the first post we dropped was a little messed up and we got an email like an hour later telling us you guys fixed it. Aside from the widget that was probably another thing that hooked us, that service.
There’s been a lot of new start-ups trying to build around the idea of fans helping out their favorite bands via social media. Do you think this concept can work?
I think it can work. Most bands or artists we post are unsigned or are on indie labels. Some don’t even care about the label because they don’t want to be forced to sellout. With the help of fans via social media it generates buzz for artists. It’s like an online street team. Hopefully major labels, or even indie labels, who want to sign these artists see the fans love these artists for the music they make at that time and not something radio-friendly to be made later on. So we fully believe and support this concept.
Where do real hip-hop fans go for a serious authority on music outside of the blogosphere?
Honestly, if you don’t have internet, you’re out of luck. Hip-hop magazines, I believe, have gone down hill. These magazines are biased because you can’t see artists on the rise, only the ones with popular buzz. Even their respective websites are saturated and stick to only popular artists. I haven’t watched BET in a while since the whole Little Brother fiasco, where they were told their music was too intelligent to get play. MTV is a reality channel and no longer showcases artists, except maybe MTVU. That’s why blogs are so important. They highlight different artists or bands at different stages. Whether newcomers or veterans, you can always find a few sites who support these people.
What does this year’s massive success with Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West say about the music industry? Is it getting better or not?
We never really saw anything wrong with the music industry sale-wise. Technology has advanced and although we still are avid vinyl collectors, it looks like CD’s are on their way out like vinyls. It’s all about digital distribution, places like Bandcamp and iTunes are becoming the standard now and it’s a way for artists to bypass the label altogether and actually make money off their sales rather than pay the label. On a side note, we believe there is a problem with the music that is being bought. You’re gonna start seeing a lot more big collaborations due to them selling so much. We personally listened to the album and felt it was mediocre. Lil Wayne is another story. Hip-Hop fans complain about the lack of good music but until people stop supporting artists like Lil Wayne and others who have no message, they can never expect to get hip-hop to a positive standpoint.