Three years ago, my first blog post ran on Hypebot. At the time, I worked as an unpaid, marketing intern at 50 Records in Minneapolis, MN. The tasks assigned to me included reading blogs and adding friends to their artist’s MySpace pages.
For such a simple, mind-numbing job, it was hard to get. The first time I applied, they turned me down. The second time I applied, they needed a warm body to fill a cubical.
Diligently, I put in my ten hours a week, but I quickly grew bored.
The company had a blog that only a few people read. Other interns posted on it, mostly to kill time, and hoping to do the same, I decided to write for it too.
I published a post about The Spilled Canvas and their online fan club. I found it interesting that they charged $20 to enter their club and credited that money in their store. That way, fans who signed-up reinvested their money in the group and promoted them by wearing their merch. Here’s an edited snippet from the original post:
By embracing the web, [The Spill Canvas] have made their website a place where people can gather, connect, and interact rather than a sales brochure. Through incentives, they’re giving fans a reason to consider joining the club and spend money. Within a single transaction they are increasing the frequency of their interaction with the fan. This lets them to sell the relationship, not the product, and provides them with a platform to deepen their connection with their fans.
The next time out, I grew more ambitious. I combined insights gleaned from a TED Talk by Seth Godin and a YouTube lecture my Professor Mike Wesch:
This cultural inversion that Wesch speaks of is a perfect example of how the way people interact with music has changed. Many of us have developed very diverse and complex listening habits.
We now form communities around our favorite bands, we want to establish a connection or relationship, and we have a strong desire for music that is real, authentic, and meaningful.
As music fans we are now walking in a crowded room where everyone wants our attention and what happens naturally is that we’ve tuned out the frequency of noise in our lives.
The permeability of the walls we put up around ourselves now only lets certain messages through. You now have to be smarter about what you do, because it’s no longer as easy to buy your way into our headphones.
Bruce Houghton, the founder and publisher of Hypebot, reposted this piece on his blog on September 12, 2008 and Seth Godin even commented on my post:
This is a great analysis. Well done.
After that success, Bruce encouraged me to keep sending stuff in.
The next 1,095 days are history. I graduated college and worked at Target. I wrote by night and published essays once a month. In June of 2010, I was promoted to Editor of Hypebot and soon after got drafted by Billboard to be their Social/Steaming Chart Manager.
Quite serendipitously, on September 12, 2011—my three year blogging anniversary—I will be speaking on a panel at SF MusicTech and officially launching this blog.
These words from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs stand out in my mind:
Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
I trusted in my curiosity. I had faith in myself. And thankfully, some amazing people had faith in me too. These people, who I’ve never met, changed my entire life.
That’s what makes the rise of the web and blogs so powerful. Since leaving Hypebot, I’ve greatly missed having a platform to call home, so I started this one.
Musicology.fm is going to be a highlight reel of my Billboard writing, my personal writing, and anything else that makes me curious. I don’t know exactly what I have in mind for this blog. I’m just going to start publishing and connecting the dots.
Because: Curiosity is the beauty of a journey that may never arrive at an absolute answer.