We wish to bid farewell to 2010, which turned out to be a bumper year for this music blog, with many highlights, in a year in which our visitor numbers improved, our network grew like never before, we received more comments per post, our credibility as a music commentator grew, and our reach continued to stretch around the globe.
The single biggest thing that we experienced was the blog’s full redesign. A wonderful job was completed by Andy Nelson, a full-time web designer, who also happens to be the excellent lead guitarist from one of Brighton’s most joyful bands, :Kinema:. “Slick” was the word most commonly used by the many people that mentioned it on Twitter and in our comments section.
Our editor, Mike, was interviewed on radio stations both here in the UK and in the US, as well as getting decent mentions, such as ‘Website Of The Week‘, on major music websites around the world. Cloud Speakers.com and Musformation.com Q&A’d us and they have been known to quote our tweets to help inform professional musicians.
Our Twitter account has grown month by month and as we close the year we are about to hit 2000 followers. We put a lot of effort into throwing out our opinions on there, alongside some decent updates and genuinely useful links, to make sure it’s rewarding and providing additional information (that you won’t find on the main blog) to our followers. As a consequence, the large American website, Flavourwire, put us in their ‘top 10 music critics to follow on Twitter‘.
We were also made a proud ‘Charter Member’ of the all-too-brief global blog collective Strangers In Stereo, which launched in style at SXSW, before it’s untimely demise only a few months later, but the creator Will Hines informs us that he plans a return, so it’s not over, just due for a full re-launch in 2011. One of the best things to come out of it was being fully integrated with an expanded network of high quality music bloggers.
We covered this year’s SXSW Festival like never before, as we sent our contributor and Austin local, Olivia, around the town to hunt out the giant festival’s highlights. Meeting up with many fellow bloggers, chatting with Anthony the creator of the Hype Machine, and reviewing what seemed like a million bands. You can read that coverage here.
The music industry continued to interact with us on a greater scale in 2010, with A&R employees, record labels and booking agencies picking up on The Recommender’s popularity and ability to help discover new music. We were fortunate enough to be lavished with free drinks, dinners and a multitude of guestlist shows by a handful of these companies, allowing us to feel a sense of appreciation and respect.
PR companies were kind enough to hand our blog a selection of exclusives throughout the year, which is always appreciated. This was alongside being sent many new albums, EPs and single releases, both in the post and digitally, with 2010 being a year that physical promo copies were replaced more and more by digital ones.
In February we launched The Recommender’s parties, a monthly get-together, based at venues in central Brighton, showcasing some of the finest cutting edge talent from around the world. Every show seemed to produce exceptional performances, which we hope is partly due to the effort we put into making it feel like a proper party, rather than a standard gig. The Phenomenal Handclap Band, We Have Band, Velo, Young Empires, The Foreign Office and King Charles, all stated that they had experienced their best ever gig in the UK at the close of their amazing sets.
One major highlight from our promotions was the packed out after-party that we organised for The Great Escape Festival back in May, alongside the magazine that we continue to proudly write for, Brighton’s ‘going out bible‘, The Source Magazine. Five amazing bands were on show, with King Charles stepping in at the last minute, after Velo sadly had to pull out. The venue is probably still trying to repair the roof, which was duly removed by all five thunderous performances.
During November, we were once again asked to vote in the annual BBC ‘Sound Of 2011‘ poll, amongst just 165 of the UK’s nominated tastemakers, with two out of our three votes making the list. The final winners of this will be announced in the first week of January.
As the year closed we provided our large, annual posts, that always turn out to be among the most popular of each year, with Everything Everything scooping ‘Track Of The Year‘, with ‘Suffragette Suffragette‘, and Sleigh Bells’ ‘Treats‘ earning ‘Album Of The Year‘.
EVERYTHING EVERYTHING – SUFFRAGETTE SUFFRAGETTE
SLEIGH BELLS – A/B MACHINES
Since the blog’s re-design we’ve dipped into new areas with our editorial too, as we tried our first forays into reviewing, rather than our typical previewing. This allowed us to write the occasional negative piece – how else can you do it if you’re being honest – about some of the worst music on show this year, and more recently with the post titled, ‘The Most Disappointing Albums of 2010‘. Although we fully intend to remain a largely positive site, who’s intention is to make your lives better with amazing music, this other style of editorial always stirs up debate, which is also healthy.
One successful, new idea was to hold a peers-only vote for ‘The Best Music Blogs Of 2010‘, where we invited everyone on our network of music bloggers, from around the world, to nominate their three favourite music blogs. The response was enormous, with the post receiving more visitors than any other posts this year, as well as getting mentioned all over the web and the social networks. Votes arrived in their hundreds and the overall winner was announced as the very friendly Sunset In The Rearview.
Looking ahead to next year we will certainly do the vote again, alongside all of our other successful, annual posts. We plan to do a 2011 preview on our next piece, which seeks to point out and predict the year’s hotly anticipated releases, so make sure you head back here soon for that.
All that is left to say is a MASSIVE thank you to all of our contributors, all of the industry professionals who have interacted with us this year, all of the music bloggers in our network, all of the bands that have played absolute blinders each month, but most of all to our readers. Without you all we wouldn’t exist. Music is one of those things that serves to make life that little bit better, so we wish to raise a glass for all those people that enjoy searching it out.
See you in 2011…