Sloucher.org – 3 years and the future of the website
This is the obligatory, self-congratulating post that I’d usually try to avoid writing, but taking into account we’ve managed to stay online for 3 years (despite ourselves), I just wanted to drop a few line (it’ll be quick).
Back in 2009, this was an outlet for the stuff the other places I was writing for (Forge Press, the405) didn’t wrote about. Initially, the idea was to do reviews every odd day, with the occasional interview and gig review. First months were slow, really slow, as one of the directives was to do stuff under the radar. But once it got into a groove, it sort of lifted off. Then more constant writing was needed.
The effort put on the site did take its toll from time to time and people come and go. That’s life. Some moved to other sites, some stopped replying to emails and some were kidnapped by Derren Brown fans (Tommy Blank, where the fuck are you?) and after 3 years of missed deadlines and typos, a change is required.
But change is good. Change is what sparked evolution (allegedly) and without it, everything becomes stale. Stagnant water is usually one of the foulest smelling things you can find in this life (besides rotten eggs and tangerines) so although there have been “changes” in the life and times of Sloucher.org, a real, proper change has to be done.
Reading the bylines, you’ll know that I’m usually the one creating the most content in this place, although there are some rather excellent writers who always deliver on time and with the utmost quality possible. We see no money from this, the ads we have are from wordpress.com (they do offer to take them away…for a price) and everyone in this site writes for free (and sometimes for promos, if labels, PR people and bands are kind enough to give them). We tried AdWords but, let’s face it, it’s not a big enough website to garner any money from ads (either that or y’all are using AdBlock, which you should!).
Because of the time required to keep this place going on (I’d like to say upward, but website’s half lives are … difficult) and the pressures of real life, a couple of changes are:
-The policy of listening to every single promo still stands, so patience is required from people wanting a review. Bear with us. Every single piece of music is listened by me. Every single one.
-No promo, no review. My justification is: we are doing this for free and although I don’t mind not receiving nothing for my work, I’m starting to feel I’m short changing my writers. It doesn’t have to be a physical copy, but mp3s will do. If you mistrust us (understandable too), you can watermark ‘em.
-I’m Mexican and I write in English. This will change. There are enough websites writing in English about bands from Sheffield to Vancouver, from New York to Oslo. I think there’s enough web presence to slowly switch my reviews from English to Spanish. Why? Because it could help bands find a new audience. Conversely, for bands singing in Spanish I’ll try to review in English, same reason. This might backfire because of one big chunk of the Musical Message being lost (lyrics), but it’s a gamble and we (and I mean “me”) need to jump out of the comfort zone. All my noble collaborators writing in their native language (English, Spanish) will continue writing in the language they like best.
-Por lo anterior entiéndase: ¿quieren reseñar? Pues queremos tus reseñas. ¡Contáctanos!
-Although reviews will decrease in number, podcasts and mix sessions will start to increase. We do have a Mixcloud channel (Radio Chaneque) and it’s an area we plan to explore a bit more.
-Video interviews and sessions will commence to appear over the next months. No idea how often, but there’s a couple of ace bands that have agreed to be filmed. So far, we’ve got two in the can and a couple of more will be done. Hence reviews slowing down.
-We’ve organised gigs before. One more and we are done. Better left to the professionals.
-We’ve had an intermittent amount of webcomic postings (which is defunct as of today), short stories and columns. In lieu of reviews, more of this type of writing will become the forte of Sloucher.
-Printed editions will continue to be done in a sparse fashion (again, no money involved). We might need to start selling some of them as content becomes more about creative writing and less about music, but that bridge will be crossed eventually. The money earned will be used to fund a future project that will galvanise the new direction of Sloucher.org.
In a nutshell: we are decreasing the amount of reviews in order to make more space for creative writing.
This is an irreversible editorial decision and will be enacted slowly but surely. By no means does this mean that reviews will stop, but, as previously stated, change is good and necessary, so let’s allow nature to take its way and flex the creative muscles. If it implodes (always a possibility), well, we can take a step back.
Thank you for reading the website for these past three years, putting up with twitter rants and let’s see where this takes us to. If it explodes and the website is thrown under a bus (been tempted a lot of times, I blame Family Guy), you know the other sites covering music are doing their bit in the fight against the Britneys of the world (TM Billy Corgan).
Thanks and let’s see where this hill leads to.
Gracias de corazón.
Sam J. (the J. is silent) Valdés López