Rolling Music Writers' Thread

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Since there's no longer (and hardly ever was) an I Love Writing board, and since there are a quite a few pro and amateur hacks here, I thought it might be worth starting a general purpose thread for the dark art.

I don't really consider myself a journo, having only had a couple of things published here and there (mostly for free might I add), but it would be good to get more stuff in print I admit. It would be interesting to hear more from people who've been doing it for longer than I have.

To get things rolling, I thought I'd ask a staple question that I think may have been toiled over before on ILX, regarding use of the first person in gig and LP reviews. Is this generally considered unacceptable in anything less than the most stylistic circumstances? Or does it really not matter too much? What about the use of "this writer" (don't really like this myself, I'd rather use "I/me" than "this writer", but that's just a personal thing).

Anyway, feel free to discuss whatever you like about music writing and journalism here.

dog latin, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:04 (6 years ago) Permalink

I've said before about how I always hated that "The NME was told by Morrissey'" which is fine on the news page, but when it's "Morrissey bought the NME a drink and began .." on an interview, it's dumb.

Mark G, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:08 (6 years ago) Permalink

Wrt first person: depends on who you're writing for and what kind of piece it is. Personally speaking, I've often had issues with the idea of "objective" criticism, so pretty much everything I've written, music-wise, has used the "I." But I've also avoided writing album reviews for publication, preferring to keep to autobiographical essays, short takes on singles, and blog posts, and in those contexts, no one's had an issue with it.

jaymc, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

I often use first person, though rarely in a particularly deliberate way. It doesn't seem like that big a deal to me.

Tim F, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:17 (6 years ago) Permalink

Something I've noticed that crops up in features like that, something that isn't necessarily wrong per se, but I feel is one helluva boring way to start one of these goes along the lines of: "It is 3:17pm on a rainy Monday afternoon. The NME sits in a Harringey spit'n'sawdust boozer sipping a pint of Timothy Landlord..." etc. What I mean here is that the intro seems to tell you more about the time and weather and location of the actual interview than about who is being interviewed. Whenever I read features like this I tend to stop reading much past the first paragraph.

dog latin, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:19 (6 years ago) Permalink

3:17pm on a rainy Monday afternoon. The NME sits in a Harringey spit'n'sawdust boozer sipping a pint of Timothy Landlord

^ very accurate summary of state of british indie rock in the 09, though

thomp, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:22 (6 years ago) Permalink

"It is 3:17pm on a rainy Monday afternoon. The NME sits in a Harringey spit'n'sawdust boozer sipping a pint of Timothy Landlord..."

if you're gonna "set the scene" like this the best way to do it is to say "[the artist] sits by the swimming pool sipping a mojito" - the i/v is about them after all

lex pretend, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:26 (6 years ago) Permalink

i mean all obv dependent on what kind of feature, which publication &c &c &c

lex pretend, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:27 (6 years ago) Permalink

"[the artist] sits by the swimming pool sipping a mojito"

The Lex interviews Raygun.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:45 (6 years ago) Permalink

I tend to use first person if my experience is an important part of the total picture. If I'm writing a piece that's based on a phone interview and three listens to the album, I don't do it; but if the publicist has flown me to Ireland to spend three or four days with the band, fuck yes I'm gonna inject myself into the story because I am then part of the story. I never use first person in CD reviews.

unperson, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:52 (6 years ago) Permalink

there's no i love writing board per se but consider this thread. a not-just-music writers' discussion might be fun.

New: "I Love Writing"

the first person thing is tricky. back when I wrote for the village voice many many years ago it was practically required in music reviews. as time went on many publications took the opposite tack, pretty much banning the "I" these days in the NY Times reporters are required to don this pseudo anonymity which I think reads terribly. instead of "so and so told me that..." it's "so and so told a reporter" waht? was it YOU or just some other random journalist who happened to be in the room?

m coleman, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

ha, you *are* the room!

Mark G, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

Maybe 5% of music writing in the first person isn't hacky. I see it as a huge red flag. Unless it's absolutely necessary to the story, don't do it, imo.

wooden shjipley (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:08 (6 years ago) Permalink

How is it "hacky"?

jaymc, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:12 (6 years ago) Permalink

Maybe 5% of music writing in the first person isn't hacky.

Hoot Smalley, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

On second thought:

Maybe 5% of music writing in the first person isn't hacky.

Hoot Smalley, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:14 (6 years ago) Permalink

o here we are slagging off writers again, that didn't take long at all

lex pretend, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:17 (6 years ago) Permalink

there are different kinds of first-person usage. the kind i can't stand is the showy first-person narrative, where the writer becomes some kind of presence. but there's also just the casual "i" where it can be sensible and unobstrusive. "i love the first two tracks" doesn't seem more objectionable to me than "the first two tracks are great" -- they're both obviously subjective statements of personal preference. but i know some editors who will reflexively remove every "I" from copy, so it's good to know the standards you're writing to.

flying squid attack (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:18 (6 years ago) Permalink

Just slagging off the hacks. If you'd like to defend bad writing, have at it.

Hoot Smalley, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:18 (6 years ago) Permalink

My favourite one, (iirc)

"Kirk Brandon formed Theatre of Hate around the same time as I joined the NME. At the time, we were both unknown..."

(Can't remember the writer)

Mark G, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:20 (6 years ago) Permalink

(many xposts)

I mean, I get into this argument all the time. Generally, I don't CARE about the writer. If the writer was an interesting person, I'd be reading an article on THEM, not the artist I care about. Like wow, the Jesus And Mary Chain helped you get through high school. You and America, buddy.

Generally if a piece of music writing has the word "I" in the first sentence, I usually stop reading, real talk. Save it for your dream journal.

The sad shit is now most mag writing is indistinguishable from internet writing because rates are so low.

wooden shjipley (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:21 (6 years ago) Permalink

Not that there isn't exceptions blah blah blah strawman lol flame etc

wooden shjipley (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:22 (6 years ago) Permalink

What about "I don't know about you but I'm fucking sick of this indie-lite electrodribble that permeates every airwave within earshot"?

dog latin, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:38 (6 years ago) Permalink

Whiney, you do realize you just used the first person yourself five times in two sentences yourself, right?

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:41 (6 years ago) Permalink

I'm posting on a message board, not writing for a paycheck!

wooden shjipley (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:42 (6 years ago) Permalink

the mark richardson thing about lovely music in stylus is pretty much verbatim all the first person objections ur spoutin btw but imo its top5 great but I suppose its kinda like how it used to be pretty awesome when Buffy had to make some inspirational speech but in the last series she did it every episode and it was really tiresome?

❊❁❄❆❇❃✴❈plaxico❈✴❃❇❆❄❁❊ (I know, right?), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:44 (6 years ago) Permalink

xp (And I just used "yourself" twice in one sentence, duh.)

Anyway, first person is a tool, like any other tool. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (As an editor at the Voice, I was frequently known to edit sentences from pitch emails back into submitted reviews in part because the emails did use the first person, and sounded less stiff and stilted and more conversational in the process. I.e., sometimes it helps make for better writing just because that's how people talk. So I've never bought the idea that "writing for a paycheck" required "detaching yourself from the subject.")

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:47 (6 years ago) Permalink

Again, i'm not saying that it's always bad, but there's not a lot of writers who can pull it off without sounding like My First Fanzine

wooden shjipley (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

"The first time I saw Spoon..."

wooden shjipley (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

So why would print them (unless it was a really good fanzine?)

Still, especially when space on the page is at a premium -- which it was even when wordcounts could get away with being ten times higher than they are now -- wasted words are wasted words, "I" included. (Though at least "I" is a fairly short word.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:50 (6 years ago) Permalink

the mark richardson thing about lovely music in stylus

Think you mean Mike Powell, but Mark Richardson is a good example of someone who uses the first person to excellent effect in his Resonant Frequency column.

jaymc, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:52 (6 years ago) Permalink

oops yeah

❊❁❄❆❇❃✴❈plaxico❈✴❃❇❆❄❁❊ (I know, right?), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:53 (6 years ago) Permalink

If you can write entertainingly, I forgive your first person narrative.

Mark G, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:54 (6 years ago) Permalink

xhuxk on point

max, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 15:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

xp "So why would print them?", I meant.

Anyway, bottom line is, no fucking way does the the detached pseudo-objective tone used in most glossies and daily newspapers make for better music writing than what I was printing week in and week out in the Voice for ten years (though sure, a few pieces I published may have sounded "Internetty" or whatever. Point was to have lots of different voices, so it'd be a miracle if anybody approved of all of them. I didn't want to ban Internetty writing -- which can be good too, sometimes -- either.)

On the other hand, I like the creativity with which guys like Sanneh at the Times have managed to get around the limitations against first person and swear words. A smart writer can work within those perimeters, too, and make it entertaining anyway.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:02 (6 years ago) Permalink

its funny you mention sanneh--his profile of michael savage in the nyer from a couple weeks ago was very careful about not using "i" (which i think is generally a no-go in the nyer, except in the personal essays they publish every once in a while) but still managed to tell a set of interesting stories about sanneh's own encounters w/ savage that sort of hinged on sannehs own specific experiences trying to set up an interview... in the end, though, i thought it would have been a better piece if they had let him use an authorial I

max, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

wow that got convoluted

max, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

I thought about that, too.

Over the years, Savage has noticed that his disdain for the mainstream media is widely reciprocated ... So when he received an e-mail from a journalist asking for an interview, he was deeply suspicious. He read the e-mail on the air — he kept the writer anonymous, and didn’t mention that the request came from The New Yorker — and then asked his listeners, “Should I do the interview or not?”…

About a week later, Savage revisited the topic — “my continuing correspondence with a big-shot magazine writer.” He quoted the latest exchanges, along with his tart response, in which he asked, “Why must all of you in the extreme media paint everyone you disagree with as demonic? Why is the homosexual agenda so important to the midstream media?”


When he invited the journalist into one of his undisclosed locations, he proved to be a first-rate host, chatty and solicitous. A steady supply of beer refills lubricated the conversation (one of his earliest books was “The Taster’s Guide to Beer,” which was published in 1977), and as the temperature dropped and the sky above Berkeley started to turn orange, he seemed to be working hard to stay suspicious, despite himself. On his next show the next day, a caller asked how the interview had gone, and Savage described his interlocutor: "If I told you he looked like Obama, I wouldn't be far from the truth." Coming from him, this sounded like a deeply twisted compliment.

Sanneh has to resort to speaking of himself in the third person ("the journalist," "his interlocutor") but otherwise does a decent job with passive-ish phrases like "a steady supply of beer refills lubricated the conversation."

jaymc, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:22 (6 years ago) Permalink

no i think you're OTM, that NYer piece was convoluted. it read to me like sanneh had a personal 1 on 1 reaction to savage that was quite different than what he expected and the resulting article would have been more effective and immediate using the "I" but the NYer has always employed a certain lofty distance from its subjects, even in the 70s it wasn't really into the personal/new journalism thing. well apart from pauline kael I guess.

but journalists do have to meet readers half-way. my problem with a lot of the vintage village voice stuff is that it's so personal to the point of being impenetrable or off-putting.

m coleman, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

the best first person stuff illustrates how the subject of an interview interacts with other people, rather than "setting the scene"

lex pretend, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:25 (6 years ago) Permalink

i'm guessing whiney's not big on fiction as a rule.

strongohulkingtonsghost, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:26 (6 years ago) Permalink

I'm not big on fiction as a rule either, and one of the principles that was drilled into me when I started writing was that first-person is something you have to earn--expecting the reader who's never heard of you before to go along with I-I-I-me-me-me instead of saying "So what?" and moving to the next item is not generally a good idea--but I love first person writing even if (despite whatever reputation I may have for it due to the 33 1/3 book) I don't use it all that often professionally.

Matos W.K., Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:30 (6 years ago) Permalink

matos if you don't mind me asking: you're not big on fiction as a journalistic device or (gasp) you don't like reading novels?

m coleman, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:36 (6 years ago) Permalink

I don't write fiction or about music, but first-person is the default in my area of writing (analytic philosophy). Sometimes we resort to the royal "we" if we're feeling nervous about first-person. But it was made clear to me that third-person is to be avoided, as is passive voice.

deep olives (Euler), Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:37 (6 years ago) Permalink

hang on, you're not big on reading all?!


lex pretend, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:37 (6 years ago) Permalink

xp I don't buy the "have to earn" thing. I'm not even sure what it means. If I listen to a song sung in the first person, I might be able to relate to, and be moved by, the song even if I'm unaware of the singer's specific biography. Not sure why reviews are necessarily different. You don't have to be a famous writer to have a life that creates a context.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:37 (6 years ago) Permalink

i thought he meant less that you have to earn it in the sense of being already famous or noteworthy, but in the sense that you have to earn it through your writing--i.e. you have to justify use of the first person in the piece itself, not necc explicitly, but at least in making your "I" of interest to the reader

max, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:39 (6 years ago) Permalink

When it's well done - and it does have to be superbly well done, and yes, generally (but not always) "earnt" - first-person music writing is my favourite of all music writing. (And when it's pointlessly done, the reverse holds true.)

For my own part, I avoid it at least 95% of the time - but then I come from a personal-blogging background, and taking "myself" out of the equation was a deliberate, sought objective.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:40 (6 years ago) Permalink

My first piece at the Voice (when no reader could've had any idea who I was) and a couple soon after were in the first person, fwiw. I seriously doubt they would have improved if the "I"'s had been edited out. (Whether they stunk regardless is another question, but they wouldn't have stunk less.)

Editorial "we" -- first person plural -- bugs the hell out of me no matter what, though. I never buy it, and I've fought editors to keep it out of my own writing (which usually they've been open to).

And btw, I've also edited at Billboard, where first person is almost never allowed. So it's not like I don't know that drill. I just don't like it much.

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:45 (6 years ago) Permalink

Of course, at Billboard, the writing tended to be more news and less review-oriented. (So first person would have probably have made no sense anyway.)

xhuxk, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:47 (6 years ago) Permalink

one of my personal guidelines is to try not to assume the reader agrees with me, which i feel like a lot of music writing does -- obviously you can start with a baseline of something not too controversial like "the beatles/insert canonical artist here was good/important" but often the first paragraph stakes everything on some loaded premise that not even half the readership is going to be on board with. if you free yourself of that, it becomes a lot easier to express an opinion that isn't conventional wisdom without having to locate yourself on the 'contrarian' (or troll) spectrum.

some dude, Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

i like that advice, some dude

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

If you're going to use "we," make sure you're at least a baron, and always include a mugshot of yourself wearing ermine or gold.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

Kael showed how to effectively assume the agreement of the reader. e.g.

We generally become interested in movies because we enjoy them and what we enjoy them for has little to do with what we think of as art. The movies we respond to, even in childhood, don’t have the same values as the official culture supported at school and in the middle-class home.

It isn't that she really thinks her readers agree with her, but arrogating that assumption is a nice way of taking a strong tone, saying "You should agree with this."

lazulum, Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

that's a v good point. i most enjoy and respect criticism that clearly articulates a position, a point of view. i generally dislike the pose of reportorial objectivity, preferring criticism that explicitly situate its responses in a specific and personal framework. speaking in terms of "i" is self-isolating, but kael's arrogating (and perhaps arrogant) "we" risks the alienation of those who disagree. she did it well. most do not.

I have many lovely lacy nightgowns (contenderizer), Thursday, 25 April 2013 02:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ ...criticism that situates its responses...

I have many lovely lacy nightgowns (contenderizer), Thursday, 25 April 2013 02:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, most don't, and it might actually be a bit old-fashioned. Maybe we only tolerate it from her because we have double standards about past writers.

lazulum, Thursday, 25 April 2013 02:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

overuse of the 1st person plural is such a bugbear of mine atm

esp when accompanied by waffle about ~the modern condition~ and, like, laptops

flamenco drop (lex pretend), Thursday, 25 April 2013 07:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Alfred: Re Phil Collins? Yes, in the UK, imo. This is a general observation and wouldn't apply to writers who know their stuff like DL or Unperson or whoever but I've heard writers, even relatively recently say, 'LOL rappers/R&B singers like Phil Collins.' Now this is dumb on numerous levels, mainly it's because - Homer Simpson style - they're imagining Timbaland sitting in a jacuzzi singing along to 'You Can't Hurry Love' wearing an 'I <3 Phil Collins' T-shirt and not someone appreciating gated reverb on drums as a great production technique or the really expensive sound of his synth production or the potential for sampling on his records (I'm sure some people in these genres straight up just love Phil Collins jams... and why not, I love 'Mama' for example but I'm sure that's the exception not the rule). The worst thing is, you can't even call this rockism, it's just straight up ignorance because at least a rockist scientist would know that Brand X were a rated fusion band, that Phil Collins played on some amazing albums by Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel (not to mention early Genesis in general). But when you've got a magazine like NME that literally only covers new indie and has rules preventing writers from referencing bands and artists (apart from the obvious Beatles/Stones axis) from before a decade or so earlier where is the impetus for young writers to do research? This knowledge is of no use to them. My biggest bugbear is journalistic laziness though. Collins is probably not what you'd call a nice man, or at least, I certainly wouldn't want to spend any time with him. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that he divorced his wife by fax. Not only is this legal nonsense, any amount of research will show that this story came from the front page of the UK tabloid The Sun - a completely discredited source that should be discounted or mistrusted by anyone with journalistic training. But again when magazines don't care for their writers - they have a duty to give writers without formal journalistic training the tools to do the job properly - then what do you expect? You end up with people repeating two facts about him: divorced his wife by fax and said he'd leave the UK if labour stayed in power - only one of which is true, and precious little knowledge about the stuff they should know about, the music. So yeah, as much as I rail against boomer canonical magazines, at least, some of them, American ones especially, know their history. I don't feel you can criticise this stuff without at least knowing something about it.

Doran, Thursday, 25 April 2013 07:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also, I don't want to state the obvious but if you know a magazine hates Imagine Dragons or Lumineers or whatever and you're cold pitching to them for the first time with positive feature ideas on those bands? This is a really bad strategy as it suggests you don't read the publication. Why not save that for your third or fourth pitch after you've started to get work at the title.

I read all pitches that are sent to me - literally all of them and there are tons of them - and sometimes a contrarian pitch out of nowhere really catches my imagination but most of the time they're not suggesting anything that interesting and in some cases they're noticeably passive aggressive in their hurt tone about my cruel treatment of, say, Foxygen or whatever.

You've got to remember that taking on a new writer is an investment of time for any editor. The person is completely untried, the cutting they've sent in could have been almost completely rewritten by that magazine's editor. There's no real guarantee of quality from someone you don't know so it's a doubly hard sell when they're asking to write about a band that you really don't like.

As several people - who know what they're talking about - have said upthread: come up with good ideas. They're like rocking horse shit. If you hit an editor with good ideas (in my experience) you will be laughing. 'Why Imagine Dragons Are A Great Band' is not a good idea... 'What The Different Styles Cop Show Themes Are Recorded In Tell You About The Programme' or 'A Short History Of Every Song That Has Been Played By An Astronaut In Space' or 'Varg Vikernes' Secret Past As An EPMD Fan' or 'Why Imagine Dragons Were Predicted By Nostradamus' are good feature ideas.

Doran, Thursday, 25 April 2013 08:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

One thing that very, very rarely works … telling an editor they have to use you because they are old and dead and out of touch and you are young and vibrant and the future. A surprising number of people try it. You have to have written a very funny covering note, and hope the editor is in an extraordinarily good mood, on a day when every single thing has gone right, to have any joy with that.

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd like to think no one older than about 17 would ever do that. Though I doubt that's the case.

they all are afflicted with a sickness of existence (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

if you know a magazine hates Imagine Dragons or Lumineers or whatever and you're cold pitching to them for the first time with positive feature ideas on those bands?

Magazines/websites should not hold party lines on any band (ex. the obv Skrewdriver etc), they should be open to good writing on any band even if they are normally critical whipping boys

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't think that's how professional publications work

we're up all night to get picky (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

XP: Yeah, and I should get paid for every piece of writing that I do at a rate per word that's gone up noticeably in the last 25 years but I don't. I just wrote a piece on a feminist Egyptian film maker documenting an underground revolutionary dance scene in Cairo. It's gone up on my site because no one will pay for it. In an extremely abstract way I think this is wrong and that NME or Q should give me a decent amount of money and cover my travel expenses, instead of me having to save up for ages so I can pay to do my own job but I'm not upset about it - it's just the way things are. So you can either deal with what things are like and get work or sit round complaining about what they should be like and not get work. There are enough threads on ILM about how rubbish the music press is, I was under the impression this thread was different and about practical advice.

And, as I said, quite clearly, I am open to good writing on any band but I'd sooner give that kind of work to a trusted scribe. If you are cold calling as a first time writer how do I know you're going to provide good copy? More often than not people sending these kinds of pitches in are indulging in immature passive aggressiveness: "I want to work at your magazine - here's why I don't like it."

Doran, Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd recommend telling them to move to London, meet a few friends who're cooler than yourselves, then bam, you'll end up writing for Vice like me.

I've never been paid for anything, which sucks a bit after doing music writing nearly week in week out for four years now.

the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:45 (2 years ago) Permalink


the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think it's very important for people to ask themselves why they want to do something, regularly

we're up all night to get picky (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 25 April 2013 09:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

NV otm.

I don't pitch pieces or hustle but I imagine it's pretty stressful. Writing pieces can be stressful. Sending pieces for review is stressful. Seeing them published and having dozens of people telling you that you are a idiot for liking x, y or z is stressful. It's also fun and rewarding but doing it every day and knowing my financial security depended on it would be too much.

I accidentally wound up writing for money after being approached by a publication whose message board I posted on. It's possibly an underrated way of getting your ideas, tone and style seen by editors.

хуто-хуторянка (ShariVari), Thursday, 25 April 2013 10:22 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost A former ILX regular once used that very tactic with me, Nick.

If you tolerate Bis, then Kenickie will be next (ithappens), Thursday, 25 April 2013 10:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

I can probably guess who.

they all are afflicted with a sickness of existence (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 25 April 2013 10:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

what was it?

Chuck E was a hero to most (s.clover), Friday, 26 April 2013 19:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

(tweets gone now)

Chuck E was a hero to most (s.clover), Friday, 26 April 2013 19:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

aol shut down spinner effective today

J0rdan S., Friday, 26 April 2013 19:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

And AOL Music in general, it seems.

誤訳侮辱, Friday, 26 April 2013 19:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Say I have what I think is a good idea for a profile piece. However, I'm an untrusted scribe. If I pitch the idea to an editor and they like it, wouldn't they just say "yes, good idea" and then commission one of their trusted scribes to write it? Alternatively, should I go ahead and write the piece and then submit it in full? If I do that, though, I wouldn't be able to say to the subject of the profile that I was writing about them for such-and-such a magazine.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Thursday, 2 May 2013 07:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...


curmudgeon, Thursday, 30 May 2013 22:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

is "music tumblr" something different from regular tumblr? i've never actually tumbld. i've always hated how tumblr looked.

scott seward, Saturday, 31 May 2014 17:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

if i read someone lamenting the death of music pinterest in 10 years i will know that i have lived too long.

scott seward, Saturday, 31 May 2014 17:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

This music tumblr---well, this tumblr of pics and links to music---is good-to-great:

dow, Saturday, 31 May 2014 22:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

courtesy ilxor's own tylerw.

dow, Saturday, 31 May 2014 22:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

this is a big deal

markers, Sunday, 1 June 2014 00:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

okay, i guess it makes sense. like music blog. i guess i'd never heard it used like that. like, in the title of something like that. so people who tumbl probably don't like it when you call their thing a blog, right?

scott seward, Sunday, 1 June 2014 02:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

I don't know about that, but tumblr occupied (occupies?) some area in between blogs and message boards.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Sunday, 1 June 2014 05:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

though that was just where the livejournal crew ended up

number of times the phrase "safe space" comes up there is telling i might suggest

r|t|c, Sunday, 1 June 2014 08:47 (1 year ago) Permalink

"I’m not sure critics are necessary for musical evaluation purposes as much as they used to be. Which is why, when you see music criticism on Tumblr now, you’ll mostly find discussions about feminism or queer representation or other social and cultural concerns. It’s becoming less about the music and more about the discursive implications of performance and image and art. Which is interesting in some conversations, but also obvious. Like, I get talking about Beyoncé’s feminism or Macklemore’s queer activism, but why isn’t anyone mulling over the discursive elements of a One Republic song? We need to get less obvious, I think.” — nervousacid


r|t|c, Sunday, 1 June 2014 08:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

norm is the best dude in that whole cascade of whatever, otm

doomandgloom a stellar music tumblr also otm

emo canon in twee major (BradNelson), Sunday, 1 June 2014 14:06 (1 year ago) Permalink

"number of times the phrase "safe space" comes up there is telling i might suggest"

tumblr is a platform with millions of users who belong to many different demographics. this is the equivalent of saying "number of times #tcot comes up on twitter is telling"

katherine, Sunday, 1 June 2014 16:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

Extended trailer for Ticket To Write, new doc about rock writers in 60s and 70s, with appearances by many of the same. From director of A Box Full of Rocks, The El Cajon Years of Lester Bangs, also linked on this page, with much other Bangsiana, incl. "Let It Blurt."
Director overhypes it a bit, but mostly comments by crits in this nice-sized sample
(do we get the whole thing if subscribe to his channel? Haven't tried it yet)

dow, Wednesday, 25 February 2015 16:30 (7 months ago) Permalink

Seems like emphasis is on early to mid-70s with less late '70s (but that's just a guess based on the trailer)

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 25 February 2015 17:53 (7 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Think so, yes. More info when I get it.

Ron Charles ‏@RonCharles 20m20 minutes ago Manhattan, NY

Ellen Willis's daughter Nona accepts #NBCC Criticism prize for ESSENTIAL ELLEN WILLIS.

dow, Thursday, 12 March 2015 23:35 (6 months ago) Permalink

One the first, still one of the best.

dow, Thursday, 12 March 2015 23:35 (6 months ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

Posted this on a freelancers thread but maybe its better here:

Music coverage at metropolitan dailies has taken a major hit in recent weeks, with writers at several legacy city papers leaving their full-time positions.

Jim Farber announced on Sept. 17 that he had been let go from the New York Daily News, where he had been covering music since 1990, in a round of layoffs that hit the paper's highest-profile talent particularly hard. New Orleans’ Times-Picayune dissolved its music department in a 21 percent budget slice of the paper's content operation. The Advance Publications-owned title laid off music writer Alison Fensterstock and offered her colleague Keith Spera a metro reporting job that would, according to a Facebook post, allow him to "write the occasional music-related news story."

The 2.8-million circulation national daily USA Today, meanwhile, said goodbye to its longtime music writer Brian Mansfield. The Nashville-based 18-year veteran of the paper reveals his next move will take him out of traditional journalism into a new role as content director at public relations firm Shore Fire Media (Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, St. Vincent).

Saw Alison Fensterstock speak at an EMP re New Orleans bounce music and other subjects, and have read her stuff. Its a shame she has been laid off

curmudgeon, Thursday, 24 September 2015 19:39 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

"Music Coverage Endangered" in a world where there's like three Noisey posts on the fucking Future/Drake tape

posts baloney - whine iverson (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 24 September 2015 19:53 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

obviously great but not surprising -- the thinking is almost certainly "show previews can run in briefs, national music stories can be wire."

fwiw the person who got me into journalism in the first place is still at the paper but again it's more metro/lifestyle

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Friday, 25 September 2015 05:51 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

*NOT great. christ. (as if anyone doesn't know my stance on newspaper layoffs by now)

a self-reinforcing downward spiral of male-centric indie (katherine), Friday, 25 September 2015 05:52 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

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