Covering the Music Scene Pt. II

I went to last night’s panel chat among music writers covering the music industry. It was sponsored by the Center for Communication and turned the Housing Works cafe into a packed house.

Alan Light (former SPIN, VIBE editor and author of new Beastie Boys book) moderated a panel featuring the ever-entertaining Chuck Klosterman (SPIN rock writer and cool guy), The Daily News’ pop music writer (and Richard Simmons lookalike) Jim Farber, and USA Today’s Elysa Gardner.

The writers shared tales of interview woes of how the business of interviewing has changed. Big change is how music writers in the old days used to follow bands on tour and in the studio sometimes for two weeeks before filing stories. Today’s scenario is more likely musicians who *might* have 20 minutes to spare for an interview ON THEIR CELL PHONE while others are talking to them as well.

Jim Farber spoke highly of Elvis Costello as an interviewee -“he always has something interesting to say; he’s always engaged” and the panel agreed that older, more established artists are more fun to interview, because they’re not established, and no longer needing to figure out their personas in the media, like new bands, who are still concerned with image, words, appearances, et al.

There was some mention of blogs and how they are ‘breaking’ small bands into the world at large – the panel seemed kinda mystified at the phenomenon. Klosterman made a good point of how a music writer’s role has changed as well – he said ‘there is no need to tell people if music is ‘good’ or bad’ – the Internet takes care of that today.’

Leave a Reply