HERE's WHY, No, I WILL NOT 'LET YOU KNOW MY THOUGHTS,' FOr Free:
If you've found my personal website, there's a very strong chance you are interested in my work as a music journalist. I thank you for that, as I have worked very hard to be known as someone who writes about music in the small circle in which I am known as someone who writes about music.
I have been writing about music in a public space for the past decade, and I am honestly flattered each time someone I've never been connected to before reaches out for the first time.
Many of you contacting me are up-and-coming artists. I love and respect your hustle, and am looking forward to getting to know you through your music. It's not easy to "make it" in the music industry, and while I'm absolutely the opposite of an expert on the matter, I can only imagine how difficult it is to secure press and attention for something you've spent so much time and energy creating. I do my best to reply to every single email that comes across my inbox, simply because I know many music writers don't prioritize, or even have, the time to reply to the hundreds of press releases we receive each month. One day, I won't be able to respond either. I know how discouraging a lack of response can be, and that is why, yes, I still reply even though, most of the time, I have to pass on covering someone's music for one reason or another.
However, a large portion of people contacting me are doing something that, to put it simply, drives me insane.
I have spent a great deal of time going back and forth on the subject of offering my feedback and opinion when people I don't know (and the people I do know) request it. After months of obsessive thought and consideration, I no longer am commenting on music, outside of my professional work, unless I am being properly compensated for my time.
First of all, I am an enthusiast of music. I write about music because I love it and because I have zero musical talent and cannot make it myself. My life would be very bland without it, and a large majority of my time is spent researching, listening and paying attention to the contemporary music landscape. I am interested in stories, I love focusing on lyrics and a well-produced beat will likely win me over any day of the week. At this point in my career, I do not identify with being a music critic because I prefer to use my writing talents to share music and details about the musician who created it, as opposed to digesting something and explaining why I do or don't like it. Plus, I'm only 26. I'm still new here.
I try to write about music I am passionate about whenever I can. While being a critic obviously is an inevitable part of my job, I just personally gravitate towards being a supporter. A fan. I'm curious, and I'm excited. And yes, I'm fully aware my stressing out about people asking me for my feedback is a very wonderful first problem to have. I know, and I'm sorry. Again, this is my personal blog and my space to explain why I don't want to offer my thoughts for free and why I don't want to be someone that deletes emails and goes about their work day. It's just the writer in me.
That being said, tell me exactly how does my feedback as a writer benefit you as a musician? You should specify what you are looking for and how you think I can be of assistance given my background, my personal tastes and my area of expertise.
Are you looking to see if I'd like to write about your music for one of my outlets? Say so. That's a pitch.
Are you looking to see how you can improve your press release? Say so. That falls under consulting, which is an in-depth service that I'm happy to provide. In exchange for money.
Are you looking for a straight-up publicist? Email me, I can refer you to some good ones.
Are you just looking to see if I like it or not? Okay, fair. That simple yes or no answer doesn't help you, though. I'm just one pair of ears.
Are you curious what my rate is to get you on a reputed website? Don't be. There is no rate. I have never and will never accept money from an artist in exchange for my writing. Here's why.
But wait, you just really want my opinion? You should pay me for that, because the only way my opinion can benefit you is if I give you DETAILS as to why I feel the way that I do about your music. That requires time, energy and writing, the latter of which, God-willing, pays my bills and allows me to eat.
For me to offer my personal opinion about your music is not a simple task for someone like me because I am a trained journalist focusing on music. My brain doesn't know how to listen to something "for fun," unless of course, I tell it I'm just listening "for fun." It's not as easy or as thoughtless as pressing play and regurgitating an auto-reply, just because of who I am as a writer and as a person. I'm weird.
Someone like me is going to listen to your music between 3-5 times, (that's at least 10-20 minutes depending on the length of one track alone), think about it in relation to my work and evaluate if there is a lucrative opportunity for us to work together in a mutually beneficial manner (i.e. my writing about your music in a formal way and later getting paid by the outlet interested in publishing my review) and then create an email summarizing where I arrived and why.
ALL THAT, on average, is about 1-2 hours of work and of my time. Do you expect to go to your job for an hour or two and not get paid for it? Just because a stranger looking to "build" with you asked you to?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
And that is why in order for me to offer my feedback on your music, we have to discuss a rate. I'm happy to work within your budget, as I know our hustles are similar and we both ain't shit.
But hey, if you wanted my opinion, if you reached out to me first and if you really want to hear what I have to say about your music, you should respect the level at which I take what I do seriously and agree that I deserve to be paid for my opinion. That is, after all, what professional music journalism at its core is based on: an informed series of collected thoughts composed after reading, researching, listening, analyzing and writing.
In summary, if you are interested in hearing what I think, contact me here to talk shop.
If you don't want to pay me for my feedback or think that I shouldn't even think of charging you $ for it, maybe this article on the Huffington Post, or this one on Forbes, can help you understand why I decided to take a stand after YEARS of giving away my genuine feedback FOR FREE.
Thank you for reading and for supporting my work. I really love what I do and am grateful for every opportunity I have to do it well.