Sunday 2 October 2016

You're A Music Journalist......Seriously?

There's a wry sense of irony in the title of this post, because I've never really considered myself to be a music journalist (as I only write a small blog), but as it approaches it's sixth birthday I have been reflecting on my experiences thus far and the things I've learnt from others (not positive things either). This post is not my way of whinging because I haven't made it but more my way of offering some advice to those who are thinking of taking their first steps into music journalism.

Over the years I like to think I've done things for the right reasons. I've tried my best to support diy bands and labels, as well as trying to expand my blog to make it more interesting with interviews and features focusing on talented bands and people from around the globe. Sadly, there are those who don't have the same intentions and a lot of it comes down to laziness and ego. Below are some examples of such behaviour and some morsels advice, in case people think it's acceptable to act in certain ways.

I'll start with a well known example; "journalists" gaining press passes to conduct interviews etc, only to get drunk and shirk their responsibilities. I've known individuals who have done this in the past and to be honest it just makes them look stupid but it also takes opportunities away from more serious and professional people.

Next up are lazy reporters, writers and publications that publish stories about "band-beef". I hate sensationalist music journalism and these types of stories for me are nothing more than "click-bait" to help drive up audience numbers. If you're going to publish stories at least be original and put some thought into it. Don't just copy and paste press releases and call it news either.

Reviewers that demand physical releases to review; don't get me started. Not only are they being selfish in demanding physical material is sent to them at the band or label's expense, but there are even those who see fit to then list things on ebay for their own gain. Reviewers should feel fortunate enough to be able to even listen to music prior to it's release and shouldn't think that they deserve any gifts or free records.

Download blogs; this is a bit of a grey area for me because there are some blogs that bands have given permission to for their music to be made available for free, instant download. Some people have the right intentions while others just use it as a way to leak music.

Egos; I've kept myself at arms-length from other writers/journalist for this exact reason. I have no time for people who act like they are celebs and only exist on social media to share photos of the bands they've had pictures taken with. I'd rather let my writing do the talking and keep a relative sense of anonymity. That's the only way that integrity is going to be put back into music journalism at any level. 

I'm not perfect and I never claim be, which is evident because this post has turned into more of a rant than I wanted it to. Still it highlights some behaviour that really shouldn't be acceptable now and gives a bad name to those of us who are trying to do things for the right reasons. There are a lot of people I know who (like me) do this for the love of it and don't get paid. We don't want to be tarred with the same brush as those unprofessional individuals within the industry. 

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