Somehow, my personal writing trail leads me back to two themes I already expanded on in my recent Writing Co-operative posts dealing with whether it is worth writing ‘for free’ and what it takes to write reviews of books, music, etc. Personally, at the moment, I do both. To delve further into my reasoning behind it, I am taking as the example my writing for the music site Soundblab.
Soundblab is a music review website for the alternative music community. Covering all aspects of underground music from indie, alternative rock, hip hop, ambient electronica and everything in between. The site was launched in 2009 and posts album, gig, book and movie reviews, alongside news, articles and interviews.
During this time over 100 writers have contributed to Soundblab and the site prides itself on giving aspiring music journalists a platform to launch their career. There are currently 35 writers contributing from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
As the site is continuously looking for new writers to help expand its coverage, I decided to contact them a year so ago. The attraction was the content it covered, free style of writing that is prevailing and as a music fan, the possibility to preview music for free. No small expense in itself, for sure.
The writing logic behind it, besides constantly honing your writing skills, and covering the subject you are passionate about (if that is not a writing stimulus, what is?) is the possible exposure of your writing to a wider audience. Having in mind that, for example, Soundblab currently 250–300,000 visitors per year and continues to grow, it is a definite possibility. But what about the logic that drives the site in trying to attract writers bearing in mind that since the heyday of music PR in the Nineties the recording industry has severely cut back on its PR budgets and is rarely financially supporting even the most established music publications and sites?
The more reviews you publish, the more review offers you receive, and only when you reach a certain level of readership and clout is there any possibility to jump that key hurdle when you would be able to actually generate an amount of revenue that will enable you not to simply just cover your costs but start offering your writers some kind of financial remuneration. In essence it all comes down as in that old early Sixties Motown hit ‘Money’.
So basically, for sites like Soundblab it is a kind of a Catch 22 situation — when the people who write for you actually do it on a volunteer basis — you have to let them pick and choose the albums, concerts and subjects they want to write about. Of course, the tendency will be for the writers to opt for something they know or guess they will like, and the predominant number of reviews will tend to be positive or very positive. But this is a great place to express yourself and improve your writing skills, it’s much easier to write about something you like than something you don’t like.
So it is quite obvious that the more a site like Soundblab diversifies (for example, it also includes sections like Classic and Lost classic albums), the more advantages it offers to its readers and itself, but also to its writers. And I must tell you, after a while other writing offers do start coming in, convincing me that I took a right decision.
If you contact Soundblab at firstname.lastname@example.org as a Writing Cooprative member, they’ll certainly be glad you’ve done so. New writers are always welcome and you may find it will lead to greater exposure.
To learn more about me, please check my LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?locale=en_US&trk=prof-0-sb-preview-primary-button.