Over the past six years, Hype Machine has become one of the facets most associated with helping artists get that extra push to succeed. The exposure you could get through uploading a track to Soundcloud, getting strong blog coverage, and then promoting the post to get hearts has been massively influential in the career of thousands of artists over the years.
In a post recently appearing on Hype Machine entitled "On Integrity And Blogs," we see that the service has taken another stand to prevent unfair activities on their site. The website started in 2005, and announced changes in 2009 via a post called "On Chart Integrity" and switched up the way favoriting a track worked.
Now today they have taken another stand, this time actually removing a handful of blogs for illicit activities and what they believed were unfair practices and activities. They want to make sure the music you hear charting is there because it's good music, not because of the connections someone has.
This unfortunately happens far too much nowadays, in an industry where almost every producer, publicist, PR intern, manager, and promoter has direct access or friends with direct access to a blog's backend, mostly because more and more people started at blogs or even helped start these blogs.
If you've worked in the industry even for a few years, you will start to notice the trends. Interviews for a PR position or internship where the bulk of the interview is focused not on your merits or talents, but what blogs and specifically Hype Machine blogs you have direct access to.
PR people that offer gifts or tickets to events if you post their artists. It's all a very real thing, and Hype Machine is taking a stand to end this cycle and focus on artistry as opposed to social numbers and contacts.
We are still unsure of what blogs removed, but we have a feeling more information will arise on this matter in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can read the full post below from the Hype Machine website.
Update: So far Stoney Roads and Hillydilly are showing up as no longer being tracked. You can see what the message on these blogs looks like below.
On Integrity and Blogs
"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."