Advice For Aspiring Music Writers: Quit Now
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?
"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.