Advice For Aspiring Music Writers: Quit Now

indie bikes.jpg
There may be 100,000 blogs about indie music, bikes, and beer already in existence, but what if there were 100,001? There is now, thanks to the initiative of a young man in Boston behind this Kickstarter project to fund his blog Indie, Bikes & Beer. All he needs to get going is $12,500. Sounds like a bargain, where do I sign up for this unique service?

See also: Cake Shop's Kickstarter Project Fails, But They'll Press Ahead With It Anyway


"The music industry as a whole is a pretty negative place," Maxwell Nagel explains in the video introduction to his fundraising project, which isn't a Portlandia sketch as far as I can tell. "But within the indie music scene there are a lot of great artists, and there's no need to put any more negative exposure on great musicians."

You sure about that? That's where Mr. Nagell and I part ways. Well, that and the idea of starting a blog, wanting to "champion" anything, liking things in general, listening to music earnestly, talking about music, doing literally anything, and thinking other people want to read your writing about music. As a longtime music writer and blogger I can say this without it being racist: no one gives a shit. It's not just an entry-level blog no one gives a shit about either -- it's all of them. Skip the sincere pontificating jerk off, tell me a few hacky jokes, then fuck off so I can go look at this Buzzfeed gif roundup. A music writer isn't even a writer anymore, we're DJs who just point at a song for other people to go off and do their own thing with while we're moving onto the next track in the queue.

I know what you're thinking, though, starry-eyed would-be music scribes. There's soooo much good music out there, and you need to share it with the world. And yes, there is a lot of good music out there, and sharing it with people can be a rewarding experience, but one thing you may not be accurately assessing here, quantity-wise, is the sheer breadth of time and space. The internet is an infinitely gaping maw, and there are a lot of days in a year. You might not think you'll run out of great bands to hype, but you will, and sooner than you'd imagine. And then what do you do? You start repeating yourself, or writing about a band you're a little less enthused about. Eventually you write about a band you don't love all that much yourself, but hey, people seem to care about them, so let's get a post up. Next thing you know you're on to bands you actively dislike, because the content mill sleeps for no man. Woops, now you hate music, because, shit, look at all these bad bands you're writing about all the time. Didn't music used to make you feel good? What're you doing with your life? Then you inevitably hate yourself, which is kind of a bummer, but to be honest, it does provide a little creative-spike, material-wise, for a while there.

I'd have quit the whole charade myself a long time ago, but I'm literally unqualified for any other job in the world, so I'm pretty much stuck, frozen, as an inevitably downsized castoff in a dead industry. Don't end up like me, Maxwell *rattles ghost chains* Look into your future. It's not pretty.



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17 comments
dplblogger
dplblogger

Wow, great article. I couldn't agree more - which is why I actually hold down a 9-5 job so I can pay for the ability to do creative stuff the other 16 hours a day (minus sleep).  No kickstarter wishlists for me. You seem like the kind of guy who would write an honest review, if maybe not the most poetic.  I'd send you some music to listen to, but since it's apparent that the last thing the world needs is yet another music blog post about a band who is not-widely advertised, I won't bother.

acer
acer

Good, good advice.


I wrote record reviews for a fairly well-read site through my 20s. Reading that shit now makes me want to drown myself.

mae23
mae23

This pretty much sums up my feelings about kickstarter. 

faulknersaysrelax
faulknersaysrelax

"The way you talk about interviewing a little known band let's me know that you're not ready to be a music blogger, son. "

*lets

The way you're writing lets me know you're not ready to be a writer, boss. 

YouAreNotAnArtist
YouAreNotAnArtist

"Music journalism is by people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." -Frank Zappa

paeturek
paeturek

No-one seems to be talking about the fact that $12,500 is a stupid amount to ask for - for some pretty vague aims. This dude is incapable of finding $400 to get onto WordPress?! He wants to buy "audio equpiment"? I smell a scam.

luxavalanche
luxavalanche

Maybe if you spent those ten years creating something of your own vs. bitchily commenting on other people's lives and art for $25 a pop, you'd be less bitter, Luke. Those who can't create, curate. Those who can't curate, commentate. You lose.

nicolars
nicolars

This is like someone working at McDonalds giving out advice on being a sous chef.

lamantia22
lamantia22

So the perspective through the snark is accurate and you force a chuckle pointing out the obvious but what I'm afraid you also do is scratch your own open wound against any others attempting to enter the fray. As a very good songwriter (Declan McManus) once said  at the dawn of the internet and DIY everything in your basement music industry - be careful what you wish for!

skotrok
skotrok

was this written so badly on purpose? to prove the point about how useless music blogs are? if so, good job!

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