By Ernest Barteldes
After years of contributing to alt-weeklies around the country, I have found it more and more difficult to deal with editors these days. For instance, about a year ago I had a discussion over the fact that one of my reviews did not contain background information on the artist – basically, he wanted my reviews to look like a Wikipedia entry. I respectfully disagreed because I felt that wasting space (which was already limited in the first place) was basically distancing the music review itself, but he just said that is what he wanted and we amicably parted ways.
Other publications have also become way too niche, focusing on a single genre instead of expanding things to make things interesting. I still write for a small number of these, and I feel that it is really constricting to write about an artist and then getting answers back that my article doesn’t quite fit their vision (without exactly telling me what the heck they want in the first place. Finally, there are other magazines that have gone ‘local’ and that no longer accept work from writers that do not reside in their area. I can’t really blame them for that one, because sometimes there is a struggling writer in say, Phoenix and here I am in New York taking his or her opportunity (I still occasionally write for said publications when they can’t find a local that can do the job properly). And then there are those editors who prefer to discover the next Justin Bieber instead of an African player who actually deserves to be heard but it is not palatable to a wide array of readers (I actually had a discussion with an editor about that, I am not making this up).
As someone who has been writing about music for such a long time, I feel that there is way too much music that has been overlooked because it doesn’t fit a certain profile or is not considered to be cutting-edge in some 23-year-old who somehow got the job as editor even though he or she could not put two sentences together with any coherence, so I have decided to start my own music page that will focus on these overlooked gems. Here I will post anything that I find interesting and that doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. I will not focus on any specific genre, so you might find me writing about African music one day, New York jazz the other and Polish pop the next.
I have yet to figure out how I will be able to monetize on this, so don’t expect to see daily posts for now because I still have to make a living. Guest posts are welcome but until I find a way to make this lucrative, I cannot promise payment. I understand it sucks, but I don’t have a trust fund to draw from.
This is a work in progress – I don’t have a set plan in my head, I just want to find space to write about the music that I find without having to exchange 100 emails trying to convince someone of my point of view. So bear with me during this process – and do not hesitate to send suggestions my way.