Song Of The Day 3/25/2017: John Doe with Kathleen Edwards – “The Golden State”

The Final 5

Everything in my music career came down to this one spreadsheet.

All the writing, interviewing, programming, label relations, phone calls, running around, and half-awake meetings. Years of studying, throwing myself into anything and everything related to music. Traveling to Nashville, New York, Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles. The compliments from labels, artists, and my immediate peers. The absolutely unprompted acclaim that label distributor gave me in our meeting.

The best work I’d ever done, the knowledge that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing.

My life’s only mission all came down to this one, sparsely formatted, crowded tab in Excel, because my supervisor wanted me to “show my work.”

Show my work?

Look on our video podcast page. See the video podcast page? Sort the list by popularity. Okay, now see the most popular video podcast on there? The Green Room? Yeah, that was done by my team. There’s my work. There’s our work.

You don’t want to see my work. You want to see my data.

Data and work are two completely different things. I’ve been working my ass off here for seven years. My work is more compelling.

Nope. Data, please.

Fine. Here’s a spreadsheet that proves I am looking up those numbers on the web. It’s all here. It doesn’t account for what might happen in the future, nor does it reflect the intangibles this business has thrived on. But here’s my work.

The supervisor grimly looked at it and gave no accolades whatsoever. She was utterly blank. My pre-emptive calculations were not persuasive.

The entirety of my life’s calling was now dependent on this spreadsheet.

A fucking spreadsheet.

A month later I was no longer working there.

I’ve always had this rule for posting blogs or status updates about my work: I don’t. I never do it.

Oh, I’ll tell everyone that I got a job, or that I quit a job, or that someone came up with a Dilbert-ism or left a bowl full of kiwis in the lunchroom. Or if I had something work-related that I wanted to promote, of course, something done with the intent of actually drumming up business. That’s fine.

But I never post anything about the actual work—or office politics, the gossip, the speculation, people I like or dislike, people who like or dislike me, how close the corporate world was pushing me into re-reading Marx. No matter how slight or vague I might be, I don’t do it. Primarily because I don’t think anyone would be that interested, but also because it’s bad for business.

I never did it at Zune either, except for one time when the parent company conducted layoffs for the first time in its history. I had survived, and that was all I’d really intended to say.

I haven’t said anything since I left almost four and a half years ago. Not saying it back then was the right thing to do.

I no longer believe it is.

You know I don’t like naming names, and I’m not going to do it here. Mainly because Zune—the part I worked in, anyway, which is all I know about—was filled with a lot of really good people who did the best they could under six years of predestined failure.

There are only two people I ever worked with at Zune who I hold in contempt. One was the very last supe I had, who knew her job was to marginalize me and get me to split, and I know she’s annoyed that it took longer than she expected.

The other was her boss, who set up a bunch of one-on-ones with me and canceled every single one of them. He knew what was going down too and never had the courtesy to address me personally, not once. Whether that’s corporate strategy or being chickenshit, I don’t care. It’s fucked up regardless.

I’m not naming them either.

Besides, it’s not really the point. In the end we were all dealing with a faceless antagonism designed to filter out specified executive accountability. That’s what the people on the ground were for.

I worked at MSN Music for a year under a contract. Like I said, my job was programming their internet radio stations—around 30 of them, all genres. I crash-coursed myself on all current genres—pop, country, hip hop, jazz, everything—and updated the rotation lists every week. It was a fun job.

I did a couple of novel things in this position. The first was breaking down their very small number of jazz stations into several subgenres: bebop, big band, vocal jazz, and so forth. My feeling was that people looking for Thelonious Monk wouldn’t be that enamored if their stream were interrupted by Kenny G. And vice versa, probably.

Somebody noted that they didn’t have a reggae station, and asked me to make one. I did. I also created a station that simulated, as best as possible, college radio stations like KEXP or KAOS. That was a little too much work, though.

Later in the year I branched out into working on MSN Music’s home pages. That allowed me to do some interesting things, including interviewing Donald Fagen from Steely Dan. After I’d interviewed a bunch of regional or indie figures for The Olympian, Fagen was the first substantial interview I’d done with a Top 10 act. Fagen was a good one to start with. We talked about the somewhat cynical nature of his lyric-writing. There are no straight love songs in the Steely Dan or solo Fagen catalogs. I told him of a quote Morrissey once made, that he could never write a love song because he’d have to write an escape clause in verse three. Fagen thought that was hilarious.

It was meaningful work. It ended after my contract ended in a year, and I had to go on my “hundred days” for the summer. I briefly worked for an upstart podcast aggregate that never went anywhere, and also interviewed for an online venture that was aiming to post gambling odds about everything you could imagine. Or something like that. I don’t really remember because we didn’t pursue it any further, and the founder was eventually investigated by the feds. During this time I also created Field Gulls, wrote for a local music magazine called Seattle Sound, and wrote a piece for The Stranger.

One day in August I got a call from one of my MSN Music associates who’d just been hired by Zune.

For those who have never heard of it—and I’m still surprised how many there are who just never knew about it—Zune was the answer to Apple’s iTunes and iPod music ecosystem, which had fundamentally changed how the world consumed music. The parent company had let five years go by without challenging Apple in this area, and it was determined to be about time that it did.

I thought, and still think, the Zune ecosystem was a great idea. The people behind it had a very keen vision. If Apple had thought of it first it would have been enormous.

Anyway. My MSN associate invited me to come onboard to create a huge number of playlists in advance of Zune’s launch in November 2006, with the goal of having content ready for people on day one. After launch I’d continue to make playlists and hopefully veer into other kinds of content creation.

For the unit I was in the parent company went a little outside their comfort zone, seeking out people who were actual music experts, a couple of whom had never worked for any of the parent company’s endeavors before. This was an unusual strategy for them.

I don’t like leaving the other people in this team nameless, because they are exceptionally talented people who I respected the heck out of—and, I’ll go ahead and say it, loved to death. They all seem to have landed on their feet, and I’m glad they have.

The move was so unusual that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer did an article about my team and put it on the front page of their business section. Of all the newspaper sections—metro news, sports—where I would have expected I might make the front page, the business section would far and away not have been my first expectation. It was gratifying and a kick to see it, though.

It also made us more visible targets.

There were two unusual features about Zune that were vying for the main messaging of our marketing. One of them was kind of a parlor trick. The other took the industry by storm and, again, changed everything about the music game… after another company introduced it about five years later.

The first was Zune’s functionality to share your music with other people by “beaming” a song you like to other people. Personalized music sharing, I guess. They called it “beaming your beats.”

The second was Zune Pass. This is where you’d pay a flat subscription rate every month and be able to play all the songs in the Zune catalog. In other words, streaming. A very effective music discovery mechanism.

My group was particularly enthusiastic about Zune Pass. For us, it was a no-brainer—this was what should be the calling card for the ecosystem. For a nominal charge every month you’d get access to every record we had. It opened up entire strata of music that, in the days before YouTube, were not always conveniently attainable. Zune Pass was the triumph of our fledgling enterprise—and for me, personally, the most significant music industry development in my musical growth. It blew everything open.

But they decided to focus, initially anyway, on the beam-your-beats message, and de-emphasized Zune Pass pretty severely. The thinking was that the parent company needed to align itself to the social media revolution that had gotten underway with MySpace and Friendster. The parent company was not seen as a strong social player, and that was the issue they thought they should address.

Beam-your-beats didn’t catch on—this is my opinion—because music listening starts out as a personal exercise. You heard a song on the radio, or you read about it online, or saw it in iTunes. While you can have listening sessions and go to concerts with friends, the most powerful impact music has goes one person at a time. It starts with a single person receiving the messaging. And the first thing that person wants to do after hearing a message he or she likes is to find more messages like it. It’s not necessarily to recommend it to everyone. Maybe that sounds too selfish. I don’t think it is. But that’s where we should have started.

When Spotify introduced it, everyone went bananas.

When we did it five years earlier, barely a ripple. Because we were telling everyone to share stuff.

This was the most insanely creative time I’d ever had professionally. I made close to 800 playlists for Zune’s launch. By the time it ended I had authored around 1,000 playlists. My compatriots did too. We also did phone interviews with artists in which they discussed their latest albums, and posted them in the digital music store.

I got a lot better at interviewing through this practice, and developed the research and questioning technique I still employ to this day: Immerse yourself in the artist’s work, take careful notes about what you hear, and ask about the art itself. Musicians love talking about their art. Even the most curmudgeonly ones do. That’s because so many journalists talk about other shit they’re sick of talking about.

When the talk turns to craft and their work, they almost uniformly respond in kind. They’re amazed when they’re interviewed by someone who’s actually familiar with their work. I have that on tape, actually, from Alan Sparhawk of Low. We talked for half an hour, and he made it sound like my line of conversation was an entirely new one.

I loved talking to country artists most of all, for one very simple reason: They had the most diverse musical tastes. Their reference points for music were all over the map. We’d start talking about country, but pretty soon the conversation would turn to R&B, folk, rock and metal. This was a huge revelation to me, one that I was really happy to discover.

(By the way—I’m just mentioning this as a matter of record, I’m not holding this guy to this and certainly won’t press him if I ever talk to him again—but technically, Keith Urban and I have an agreement to do “Bohemian Rhapsody” together at karaoke the next time we have a chance. If we happen to be in the same karaoke bar or something. No pressure though.)

One of the guys I worked with was an incredibly passionate man who didn’t enjoy the notion that any part of our mission should be watered down by the compromise of business. He might have rubbed some people the wrong way.

Personally, he’s the guy I miss the most.

He came up with an idea for a video podcast called The Green Room. This was an interview series with artists coming through town to do a live show. We’d interview them backstage in the venue, a few hours before they played. The interviews were videotaped in black and white and dispensed in three parts. He asked me if I’d like to helm some of the interviews, and of course I agreed.

We divided the interview subjects very roughly, along genre lines we were roughly responsible for in the Zune marketplace. For me, that was rock, pop and country. The first person I interviewed was country musician Dierks Bentley when he came to town. I spoke with Adele the week after she’d appeared on Saturday Night Live (when the real Sarah Palin stopped by to do a bit with Alec Baldwin). I talked pianos with Tori Amos, whose music I wasn’t a total devotee of, but who became one of my favorite artists to talk to. We spoke again for a piece I wrote for The Seattle Times. We even got an audience with Oasis’s Noel Gallagher, in which he slagged on his do-nothing brother Liam, the lead singer.

I remain extremely happy to have been the direct recipient of a Noel Gallagher slag on Liam. I hang my hat on that regularly. It’s a career highlight.

We all went on a furious jag in Austin one year at South By Southwest. We ran around and got interviews with a total of 12 artists, I think. We split them across genre lines again. I personally got to talk to the Avett Brothers, Steve Van Zandt, David Johansen and Syl Sylvain of the New York Dolls, and a couple others. I don’t think I’ve ever been more productive in my life—and the inventor of The Green Room and his team worked harder than I did.

The videos were popular. As recently as the last couple of months I was at Zune, they were still being watched more than 95% of the other offerings we had.

The bottom line, unfortunately, was still not moving enough.

Our group’s sort of isolation from the rest of the parent company’s staff—devs, engineers, not to mention the executive staff—had been a point of separation practically since the beginning. We’d hear back from some quarters that some other parts of the company were extremely sour on Zune, and not just because we weren’t doing well in the marketplace.

Sometime in the first year someone told me that certain tech workers weren’t enamored of our unit because, this is a direct quote, “they think they’re all so cool and stuff.”

I found it telling that grown adults resented us for reasons that come up in junior high school prom committees, or re-viewings of Clueless. “They think they’re so cool.” That was our obstacle.

Give me a fucking break.

By virtue of Zune’s faltering, a lot of the initiatives that separated us from the competition were defunded. The Green Room stopped. Original content was de-emphasized. More and more the functionality angles were taking over the artistic angle. Which, frankly, I totally understand. The parent company wasn’t a music company, it was a technology company. I don’t fault them for shuffling their priorities.

But the schism led to a few real embarrassments. Getting ribbed by late night talk show hosts was nothing; Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert were sticking it to us regularly. They were funny. And there were a couple of incidents that, if either of those knew of, they’d find hilarious.

Why yes, I have an example.

The person who had invented what was previously the parent company’s most vilified product—a very buggy operating system—was a musician on the side. I also won’t mention his name, but I’m going to give him a pseudonym because it helps tell this story.

Let’s call him Victor Digitus.

Victor Digitus played guitar. I heard his stuff. He was technically proficient.

If you know my musical tenets at all, you know how I feel about technical wizardry at the expense of creativity, heart and intent: it’s pointless and probably boring.

Victor Digitus’ hands flew like supersonic crop dusters over the fretboard. He had a clean sound that de-emphasized the moment of attack, an extremely curious strategy if you ask me.

Once Victor Digitus put out an album. I was made aware of it. I started listening to it. I couldn’t make it through half of the first song. It was an album nobody was interested in. Kind of representative of the knock on the parent company that they were—well, technical wizards with creativity, heart or intent.

(I personally think that’s an unfair knock on the parent company, especially lately. But back then, that’s what the knock was.)

The Victor Digitus album became available on Zune at some point. I didn’t know about it. If I had known about it I wouldn’t have done anything with it because our consumer base wouldn’t care about it.

I only became aware of it because of an executive request that we feature the album on the front page of Zune Marketplace. I was either en route to or coming back from SXSW when this request was made, so someone else had to program it in the rock section, which I oversaw.

But it turned from a request to an emergency directive, for one sumptuously wrong reason: iTunes was featuring the Victor Digitus album on their music homepage. The wording was something like, oh… “IT’S A PRIORITY!! Apple is featuring Victor’s album on their front page!!!! They beat us!!!”

I was then referred to a blurb in some tech blog that some writer had written. “Wow, the folks at Zune must really resent what Victor Digitus did to the Parent Company… iTunes is ‘plugging’ his album, but Zune isn't promoting it anywhere!”

This was being framed as an oversight on our part.

It was not an oversight on our part.

Look, think this through. Okay? Just sit with me and think this through:

The Parent Company and Apple were each other’s primary competition in the very visible world of high technology. Sure, they shared some big-ticket items like iTunes and major productivity software, but other than that they were sworn adversaries. They weren’t going to do each other any favors.

If Steve Jobs made an album, would we have featured it on Zune? No, we wouldn’t have. We would have been taken apart by management.

But Victor Digitus made an album, and iTunes put it right on their front page so they could make sure the rest of the world knew it existed.

Now, why would iTunes do that? Because the Victor Digitus album was a landmark work that transcended all boundaries and spoke to the entire world, regardless of which operating system they chose?

Erm, no.

They did it as a joke. They put up an utterly unheralded, unremarkable album by a past Parent Company employee so they could make the Parent Company look like fools: “How out of touch is the Parent Company? Here, have a listen!”

Nobody outside of our unit realized that Apple was pranking us.

They thought Apple was promoting Victor Digitus out of respect or commercial priority. They weren’t. They were making fun of us.

I tried to argue this point, but by the time I started, defeatism had already set in.

The album ran on the rock homepage for two weeks.

There was another marketing strategy that not only had a tremendous backlash with our base and music business relations, but may have tarnished the reputation of a perfectly nice talking head, at least in the short run.

Our first marketing efforts were a little artsy. I thought they were extremely well-done, but the tech literalists within the Parent Company thought they were pretentious and didn’t say anything. Successive marketing ploys were less metaphysical and more this-is-what-you-get.

Zune Pass was now the focal point of our marketing, about two and a half years too late, but at least now it was being handled. Since we lacked the weight that would let us use abstract, understated imagery and production values like Apple could, we went full-on business mode.

That’s when, as Fortune put it, we installed a financial advisor as “the new face of Zune.”

To drive home the point that Zune Pass brought you a whole world of music for the cost of one CD a month, they employed business expert Wes Moss in a series of web ads that explained the fiscal wisdom of our proposition: “People worry about the capacity of their iPod… What about the capacity of their bank account? At a buck a song, they'll run out of money way before they run out of space!” Moss reasoned that to fill their iPod, customers would have to spend $30,000. Whereas the Zune Pass only cost $15 a month.

Okay. That’s a good point. If it reflected how people actually acquired music at the time.

Nobody spent $30,000 on music they could keep because—well, they were stealing it, to be perfectly blunt about it. The Moss argument overlooked piracy, which was how people were acquiring a lot of music at the time. Regardless of how morally right or wrong piracy is, that’s not the point. The point is that addressing the question from a financial standpoint was foreign to music consumers at the time—totally tone-deaf. And to use cold-world numbers in marketing efforts aimed at music fans did not, does not and will not ever work. It’s a forced collision between two spheres of business with totally different marketing prerogatives.

We had to deal with a lot of phone calls the day that went up. And a lot of shaking heads, most of which were our own.

I was putting out as bold a front as I could during this time. I was working constantly, because I was certain it could come crashing down at any moment.

Privately, I was a total fucking wreck. Severely depressed. Fatalistic. Thinking out loud that my family would be better off with someone who had a future.

I neglected to mention my near-suicidal state in meetings.

It was compounded by what I perceived was our nature as the Parent Company’s albatross. The creative types that made the business section of the P-I were no longer being asked to be creative. As a result, I felt we were excess baggage. Reportedly the head of the video division came right out and said we were idiots.

You could say morale was an issue.

We were pretty much exclusively under a metric mandate. Nearly every decision we made had to be backed up, heavily informed, by viewable data.

Again, that’s not a point of view I contest by itself. Of course we needed to use metrics and numbers to inform our decisions. I’d love to have featured the Divine Comedy or Professor Elemental in the pole position every time they came out with something new, but it would have been financially indefensible for a corporate music site. I kept up. I knew the metrics.

But relying exclusively on data in a music venture isn’t going to get you very far. No matter whose logo is on the equipment.

Yes, in fact, I do have a rather dramatic case study to support this thesis.

Every week on the front page of Zune Marketplace, our top piece of real estate—position number one in our rotating carousel of features—was given to what we called “Album Of the Week.” This was awarded to the new album that we thought had the best chance to outsell all the other new ones. We mainly relied on past sales and radio play figures, along with industry buzz and label priorities to a lesser extent.

We were right about 80% of the time. The other 20% we weren’t off by much. We rarely screwed it up completely. But the one time we did was, in my mind, astronomical. Or would have been, if we had an audience.

It was the early part of the calendar year, January or February. During that time labels didn’t have heavy release schedules—everyone was just getting back from the holidays when they’d just presumably spent a lot of money. Music releases started picking up for the year, usually, around the second week of March or so.

We didn’t have a heavy release schedule that week, so our options for Album Of The Week were not many in number.

Katy Perry was scheduled to release a five-song EP that week. It wasn’t a big to-do. It didn’t even have new material on it. It was just remixes of one of her songs. Nothing that would set the world on fire, or even chart. But our customers listened to Katy’s work a lot. Teenage Dream was a popular album on our services. So we’d market it to appeal to the base. That’s what the data said.

However, there was another album coming out on the same day that I thought stood a very strong chance of outdistancing the Katy remix EP by a sizable amount. It was the second album from a more “adult” solo artist. I’d received an advance copy from the label, along with a somewhat elaborate promo package. The lead single from the album was pretty strong. The rest of the album sounded, if everyone played their cards right, like something that could appeal to a pretty large cross-section of music fans.

Especially seeing as how it was a super-light release week, I stated my case that I thought this album should be named Album Of The Week. I made this case strongly.

In fact, the way I made my case was the only thing I ever did at Zune that I still regret. My choice of words was way more inflamed than I normally use. They were tart and misdirected. I’d probably had a drink when writing it.

But the people (only two) I was directing it at were in the same boat as I was. I shouldn’t have said it that way. I should have said it more, but my language was too blunt and rude.

That’s the only thing I regret about my actions at Zune my entire time there: an email sent to two people.

Still, I felt a case needed to be made for this album. I realized the artist’s data wasn’t as compelling as Katy Perry’s. But a full-fledged, possibly career-breaking new album with multiple songs on it, up against a five-track EP featuring an old song with different knob twiddles? Come on, guys.

I know what the data says. I’ve seen the data. This might be one of those times when the data makes us look ignorant, you know?

And look—I like Katy Perry. I think she’s smart, witty and enjoyable. “Last Friday Night” was hilarious. Intentionally hilarious. I might even like her more than the artist whose album I felt strongly about promoting. It’s nothing against Katy Perry at all. It’s just that she’s giving us nothing new with a dinky EP. I really just felt strongly about the potential of this other album.

What do you say, guys?


Past results.

Target demos.


User analysis.




That’s what they said.

So I relented. The Katy Perry remix EP was Album Of The Week. The data so ordained. It was our bust-out click to pick. It was hard to swallow, and it was one of the only moments in my time that I wasn’t very gracious about it. I still feel bad. But what can you do?

As it turned out, nobody remembered that Katy Perry EP, and it’s pretty much disappeared from her discography.

Oh, almost forgot—the album I was fighting for so much, that lost to the Katy Perry EP?

Adele’s 21.

Ever heard of it?

The writing on the wall was finished by the time 2012 rolled around. It had been there a long time, actually, but 2012 was when it went through one last round of copy edits.

I knew that I wasn’t going to last the year at Zune. I knew I’d be gone. Either by my choice or theirs.

And so would Zune, in all likelihood.

I had no support aside from my own team. I was managing some contractors who had taken over the editorial functions of the marketplace (almost everyone else from that P-I photo was long gone). They were great people. They are great people. I’m still in touch with them every once in awhile. They’re still at The Parent Company.

But I knew it was over. I had a family of five to support by that time, though. I couldn’t just up and quit.

I applied for all the music jobs I could find. All parts of the country. I’d move anywhere, although I’d prefer to stay away from Florida. Turns out having Zune on the resumé probably didn’t make me the strongest option, despite having worked for more than five fucking years straight.

The connections I had at the record labels were unfailingly supportive too—and went out of their way to tell my superiors when they had their ear.

Which wasn’t often. Other people had their ear.

I’d been in the music industry upwards of 15 years. The final act of it was turning out to be a waste.

Whatever reputation I had as a music expert wasn’t going to be endorsed by Zune or the Parent Company. I was surplus. Possibly one of the most complete music experts the Parent Company ever had, but still surplus.

I knew it and they knew it. Nobody was saying it, but I knew it.

I had to take some sort of action. Something that would prove how dedicated I was to music in case anyone had any doubt. Something I could keep up day after day to redouble and make obvious my devotion to music, in the hopes that someone with a checkbook would notice and ask me to come on board. I needed to do something to keep my hand in the game.

That’s when I started a feature on my blog called “Song Of The Day.”

By measure of accolades, compliments, appreciation and truly treasured devotion, “Song Of The Day” was a success.

By measure of how much it led me to a better professional place where I belonged, it failed.

So it goes.

By summer of 2012 I was the last of that P-I photo still standing at Zune. That’s when everything in the first part of this piece took place.

I actually got a lot done during that time. I’d created a new monthly feature called “What’s Next,” which focused exclusively on breaking acts that were label priorities. I featured Carly Rae Jepsen and Frank Ocean in the weeks before they had huge hits.

The labels reported back to my superiors that the initiative was having a positive effect on their numbers. At least their Zune numbers.

My supervisors were still not impressed, because they were under strict orders not to be.

The Zune brand was killed off in favor of “Xbox Music”—a change I had suggested, with those exact same words, back in 2009.

I did not survive the change.

I sent a company-wide, industry-wide memo that I was leaving in October of 2012. Plenty of people were shocked.

It was a voluntary resignation. On paper.

The reality is more complicated.

I did have a freelance deal to contribute to the MSN Music blog again, which I did for the better part of the following year, until the Parent Company unceremoniously fired every single one of their freelancers.

One of the fallen freelancers: Robert Christgau, “the dean of rock music criticism,” one of the five or so most influential critics in rock history.

Sometimes I tell people Christgau and I worked together. We never actually met. But I still say that for kicks. Our bylines were once pretty close together on the same page. That’s all.

One of my favorite interview quotes of all time—it may be #1—was from Kris Kristofferson, in a conversation he had with journalist Bill Flanagan, as published in one of the five or so books that have had the most effect on my life: Flanagan’s interview anthology Written In My Soul. The quip came from a quick reference about poet William Blake.
Flanagan: Blake isn’t a normal example for anything, is he? Talking to his angels.

Kristofferson: Except total dedication to his art. You’re just a sinner if you don’t do it. You’re not worth shooting! If you are organized by the Divine to do it and you don’t… then you’re just a scumbag.
I write about music. I do podcasts about music. I research about music. I’ve sold music. I’ve promoted music. I do a radio show on R&B music, and before that I did a radio show on all kinds of music. I talk about music. I answer people’s questions about music. I produce mixtapes about music. From time to time I still play music.

I don’t give a shit about the luxury, the VIP section, the tchotchkes, the gossip. I don’t do this because it’s fun, or that it provides me with perks.

I do it because it’s what I know.

I do it for free because it’s what I know.

Everyone I’ve ever known in my life will back me up on that. Everyone. Every last one.

I talk to artists about their art because that’s all I’ve ever cared about, and the artists have told me how much they appreciate my approach. You would think that would count for something. And in a lot of places it does.

Music is what I do. I still do it. I’ll always do it. I’ll always seek new music out. I’ll never stop learning about it. I’ll never be able to resist the compulsion to tell everyone else what I’ve learned in whatever creative ways I can.

I fucking do music, you guys.

And at this point it is highly likely that I will never get paid for my work in music ever again.

But at least I won’t be a scumbag.

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