Welcome to the second Point Of View post, a weekly Monday opinion column on some music things that have been keeping The Point Of Everything up at night.

There was an interesting discussion across the waters in America on the future of music blogging as aggregate sites such as Hype Machine and Shuffler grow more popular. First of all SFcritic suggested that, “While the “original” blogs (those beginning before 2007) permanence appear stable, the relevance and context of blogs in general seem to be drastically reaching a precipice. The biggest factors are the excessive growth of blogs particularly within the last three years, the increased efficiency of access to downloadable content, and political uncertainty of copyright issues.”

Sunset In The Rearview, recently voted the most popular music blog by bloggers, via The Recommender, asked what the point is to music blogging: “Who cares? Bloggers put it on themselves, they love doing it…what’s all the fuss about? Well, the point of this isn’t to complain. It’s to raise awareness. You, as readers, are what keep me going. By satisfying you, I am satisfying myself. But, I will challenge you to one request: when you read blogs, think about the people behind the scenes doing the work.”

Numerous other music blogs joined in the debate. Probably the best contribution came from Pigeons And Planes who said: “… Bloggers are kind of wondering where we stand in this industry and where the boundaries are. It’s clear that there ARE boundaries, and although not visibly laid out, the events of 2010 choked out the sense of power or entitlement that some bloggers may have had.”

But what about in Ireland? What does the future hold for music bloggers over here? These mentioned blogs all talked about how they want to grow bigger, how they want a larger audience and how they want to be congratulated for their efforts. Now I might be reading too much into this but do they expect a pat on the back for writing short pieces on music and bigging up (generally) small bands? It is hardly anything new: NME, whether you love it or loath it, has been making grandiose claims about mediocre bands for years; Pitchfork has been around since the turn of the century and basically created the sound of the alternative music world; Drowned in Sound and numerous others are putting together solid collective efforts that would be more than enough for the average music fan. And these three American examplesare erratic reads at the best of times – just look at this post about Lykke Li which does not once mention the new music that is featured.

I have been running The Point Of Everything by myself for little over a year now and do not expect anyone to say that it is good. I am just enjoying writing about music and hoping that the bands shine through. I don’t see this as something that should keep getting bigger or else I will pack it in. This blog is not in competition with the other 25 in the Digital Socket Awards or the numerous other Irish blogs that are around. It would be a stupid attitude to have in a country of four million. And we should not forget that music blogs should be about the music. Words make people come back but only if the music is good.

It brings to mind those great philosophers of our time, The Simpsons. Comic Book Guy: Last night’s Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured I was on the Internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world. This is Bart and Comic Book Guy talking about The Itchy And Scratchy Movie.

Bart: Hey, I know it wasn’t great, but what right do you have to complain?
Comic Book Guy: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.
Bart: For what? They’re giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.
Comic Book Guy: Worst episode ever.

Bloggers are not owed anything by anyone. Generally, depending on how good a job they do, they get sent some CDs, some demos, bands start coming to them looking to showcase their music; bloggers have it so good. If a career is what you are looking for when you start a music blog then you are certainly going to be disappointed.

As for the copyright infringements, this is something that is questionable and may come up more often as the year goes on. Irish blogs before mine have been involved in issues in the past, but Soundcloud and Bandcamp and others have come to the rescue though even then, issues are not exactly clear cut. But there will always be more great bands to talk about. There is not going to be any ‘crisis’ and though some blogs will perhaps slow down their input (presumably due to the acquisition of a ‘proper’ job) new blogs will come in and take their place.

If there is one thing that is assured in 2011 it is that sentimentality has been watered down. The Star Sunday newspaper in Ireland has recently had to close its doors. It was only a matter of time before one of the national newspapers became financially problematic. But it will probably be one of a number of titles that will have to close as the recession bites harder this year. If an online music blog were to close then tears may be shed by some for as long as they are reading the site’s final post, but then things will move on.

I have no delusions when I update this blog. I try to let the music shine and I try to inform with the accompanying words. I hope that when people come to The Point Of Everything they think about one day going, ‘Oh yeah, that was a good blog, let’s take another look.’ But it is difficult to stand out from the crowd, especially when there are so many great blogs in Ireland doing a similar thing, let alone in America. But as long as I get to listen to bands creating good music every day then I will be very happy indeed with how things are.

So music blogging in 2011? It is as good as ever. Honest.