Confessions of a Music Journalist

I want to preface this post with the fact that I do not write about music full time. Writing about music does not pay my bills. I work in an office, doing a job I’m not particular passionate about in exchange for money, health insurance, and a 401k. I write about music because I love it. Would I like to make a living off of it? Sure, but as it stands now, it is my way of finding new bands and keeping connected with those that I already love. Even now, as an adult, I am not ready to let go of my punk rock roots, and when it comes down to it, it is still the music that I love, the music that gets me moving, the music that puts me in a good mood, the music that defines me.

All that being said, I do work full time, in an office setting, and by the end of the day, my inbox is over flowing, and I spend hours listening to each and every thing that is sent to me. The thing is, I want to hear the music first. Back in the day, when I was still sent cds/albums/tapes, I would put them on without knowing anything about the band, all I had was the cover art. And that is how I still prefer to do it, which brings me to my first confession, I don’t care about your album announcement if you don’t give me a link to your music. I am not google searching you or sourcing your facebook page in hopes of a song.

Confession number two is directly related, if you do give me a link to your music, but it is buried in a busy press release, I am not digging for it. While I love the “here is a link to XYZ” with the link following, I totally understand the design decision to place it within a paragraph, but if you do that, make it bold and ensure that the links are the only fancy colors in the release. I want to be able to immediately click on it and hear what you sound like.

Three, as I said before, going through my inbox takes me hours a day. Please listen to the music I write about, do you fit in with it? Yes? Great. No? Then explain to me why you are sending it to me. I am totally open to getting my mind blown by a genre that I don’t usually listen to, but let me know you have taken the time to know who you are sending your stuff to. If you do blow me away and I don’t feel capable to writing about your stuff, I will try to find someone who can.

Four, I clearly have a taste. Which I think is a positive thing for a reviewer. I turn away a lot of solid bands that I just don’t know how to write about. I can recognize that an indie or rock bank is awesome, yet have no frame of reference or vocabulary to talk about them. To those bands I apologize, but I would love to bring people on board to cover other genres. Interested? Let me know.

Five, I only write about bands that I love. I review one album a week (sometimes two) because it is all my schedule will allow, and because that guarantees me that I only have to write about the albums that I am super psyched on. Nothing wishy-washy nothing that I feel pressured into review, just things that I will legit add to my personal collection.

Six, again, back to the huge inbox. Best way to get your music heard, send it to me in the mail, album or cd or cassette tape. Reach out to me via email, I’ll send you my address, we’ll start a conversation, we may become best friends. Not only will it set you apart from the masses of email. But I grew up in a time when listening to music was an event in itself, not just something playing through computer speakers. Packaging and design matter to me, it is part of the experience, so I am always a fan of something that I can hold in my hands. Next best is download. I will never review a stream. Sorry. I like to listen to music though devices that were meant to play music, not through shitty computer or phone speakers.

Seven, I will not subscribe to some new service in order to listen to your music and please, do not assume that I have an iTunes account. I don’t. I never will.

Eight, I am fine with impersonal press releases, but know that I will not email you back unless I am moving forward. If you take time to write to me directly, I will respond personally, though it may take a week or two. And yes, I do have an email form that I tweak to everyone, but I promise you that I have listened to it, at least once.

Nine, I want to love your music.

Sorry if you all think that I am a dick, but since this is a labor of love, it is how I keep myself motivated to keep on writing, and it is how I ensure that I only have to write about bands that I really fucking dig.

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