Friday, April 17, 2009

Commentary: New MOG Design is
Like a "Long Tail" Pitchfork

I have watched a number of music blogging/social networking sites come and go since I jumped into this, and one site that I have always been interested in is MOG. Initially launched as a site focused around music blogging, MOG launched a new design this week, which also highlights a new direction for the site. MOG is now more of a music news aggregator, looking very much long a "long tail" version of Pitchfork.

Visit the new MOG and you will be reminded of the new content-over-look that Pitchfork unveiled several weeks back. The direction of music sites is now emphasizing their wealth of content in such a fashion that is accessible and minimalist. MOG breaks its content down into simple categories, ranging from news, videos and free MP3s to the more specific ones of festivals, covers and "On the Brink" (whose in jail, whose in rehab, etc). This is nothing new - what makes this new MOG impressive is the fact that all of this content is not created by a news team relying on their excellent research skills and emailed tips from fans. All of the content is coming from bloggers (some of it from New and Used Records).

Late last year, the N&UR blog joined the MOG Music Network - a group of blogs who agreed to have their content funneled into MOG pages in exchange for ad revenue. A side banner placed on blogs in the network displays headlines from other blogs, while the mogdotcom Twitter account also links to other blogs. This new design is the site's strongest effort yet to consolidate the content provided by all participating blogs.

In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson writes of shared economies - sites such as Wikipedia which thrive on contributions from thousands of users. In music, the fans (ie the bloggers) have become the predominant source not just for news, but also as tastemaking entities. The new MOG is a great attempt to consolidate that all into one place, creating a strong business model.

I do have one suggestion for the new MOG, though. Anderson also writes the the future of business lies not in selling lots of major stars, but instead selling lots more to niche audiences. There are countless blogs which represent niche genres, and I would like to say the new MOG create a very accessible means of searching these niches (whether your taste be girl groups, black metal or drum-n-bass).

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