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Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Band blogs rise in popularity

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Noel Gallagher from Oasis
Oasis use their blog to give their fans updates on what they're doing

Amongst the host of nominations and categories announced last night [January 26] for this year's NME Awards, one recent addition catches the eye.

Whilst it perhaps doesn't hold the gravitas of say best international band, best new band or best album, the inclusion of a best band blog category recognises a significant shift in the way bands now communicate with their fans.

Blogging has become an essential part of an artist's publicity armoury, fondly looked upon as it essentially cuts out the middle man [otherwise known as the record company or management].

It appears almost every artist is taking advantage of this uncensored form of communication and jumping at the opportunity to screen videos, demos or in some cases merely highlight what they've had for dinner.

'Candid blogs'

There are many types of blog. Some are genuine conversations between a band and fans - others a good gossip or tour-weary moan.

Take, for example, the nominees in the best blog shortlist.

We suspect Noel Gallagher's very funny blog, one of the five nominees, is penned somewhat under duress from his record company.

Victoria Hesketh from Little Boots
Victoria Hesketh from Little Boots used blogs to find success
He did after all once admit to not having much interest in the internet.

With a band the size of Oasis a blog is just another cog in the promotional machine - instant headlines generated with the minimum of effort.

However, it's the other nominees who are most creative with their blogs.

Blackpool's Little Boots, recently crowded BBC's Sound Of 2009 winner, first attracted attention with her candid blogs and home-filmed videos of her covering other peoples' songs posted on YouTube.

Her viral success is testament to the popularity and power of personal marketing.

Music news

Third nominee Lightspeed Champion, aka Dev Haynes, spent much of last year pouring his inner feeling onto his blog, logging everything from his tickly to his recommendations for a good read.

Radiohead used the relatively environmentally-friendly medium to blog from their studio, a direct and discrete pipeline from one of the world's biggest bands.

Yannis Philippakis from Foals
Foals use blogs to showcase new tracks and photos
With a press lockdown surrounding the group, news was dispensed in cryptic messages.

Final nominee Foals have spent their fledging career announcing last-minute squat shows, showcasing drummer Jack's photography and debuting half-finished tracks.

It has earned lead singer Yannis and keyboardist Edwin a devoted online following.

And those are just a handful of artists. Jack Penate, The Streets, Kanye West, Mark Ronson, The Enemy [who announced their new album title on Monday via their blog] are among those regularly typing.

Now it's often the first place to get news on your favourite artists. For example, Lily Allen's track The Fear, currently threatening to engulf the charts, was first debuted on her MySpace page last summer, albeit in an incomplete state.

NME's best blog nominees
Lily Allen
Lightspeed Champion
The Streets
Meanwhile, it isn't just literate types like Stephen Fry who've taken advantage of the latest micro-blogging services like Twitter.

Kaiser Chiefs, Sonic Youth and The Maccabees can be seen updating their statuses regularly.

All of which means fans are getting ever closer to their favourite artists, at least in the cyber-sphere.

It must be becoming a press officer or label executive's worst nightmare, since they have little or no control over the output.

Blogging, it seems, is giving the power of communication back to the bands.

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