Sunday, November 27, 2011
~I didn’t quite meet my deadline for totally shutting down THE REAL popolio, but here it is, my FINAL POST, better late than never~
To Whom It May Concern:
Just like my very first Letter from the Editor, I have put this final one off. And, just like then, I don’t know what to say. I thought going into a long diatribe and hitting all the major highlights of THE REAL popolio’s 3 year history would be the way to go. Then, I thought short, sweet, and to-the-point would be better.
I probably will lean toward the diatribe because this is my LAST EVER Letter from the Editor. Instead of hitting all the highlights, though, I think I’ll just share why and how I started this in the first place and what I got out of it. Maybe, that’s the way to go.
I had come from founding a poetry organization where I hosted open mics and slam competitions. I don’t like to repeat myself if I can help it, some time had passed, and I was itching to do the next thing. I knew I liked live venues and wanted to expand on just introducing people to the stage; I wanted to move into live music events where the artist plays, but where I also get to sit down and chit chat with them a bit. Interview them before their sets.
I envisioned something like Bravo’s Inside The Actors Studio, not where I necessarily have a set list of questions, but where the audience gets to ask a few questions in addition to mine. A music-based talk show for all intents and purposes. Something more interactive in a different way than the usual music show. More in-depth than the usual music interview. Keeping it short, because obviously, it’s all about the music and that’s what people really want to see. I still haven’t been able to find a way to manifest this, but I hope this is my next step; my next evolution.
Anyway, I had met my former creative partner on THE REAL popolio and we had been getting to know each other as friends. I learned that he was an experienced podcaster and had been doing it for years. I did want to collaborate with him in some way. As when I meet any creative that I’m intrigued by and being as big on collaboration as I am, I asked if we could work together on something.
I knew nothing of the worlds of podcasting and blogging and that isn’t even necessarily what I thought we’d work on. I didn’t know what we’d end up doing. Normally, people don’t take me up on my collaboration suggestions. He did. I intimated to him the desire to do the live music/interview shows. He suggested creating a blog and building a network from that blog and then moving to offline events based on the blog’s branding and that pre-established network.
Though I did a few popolio events, it didn’t quite pan out the way either of us envisioned. The blog itself is a full-time job as would be organizing any live event. So, I decided to tackle this thing called blogging and approached my site as an online music magazine ala’ Rolling Stone, MTV, or Vibe.
I’ve always thought of my projects in terms of Studio 54. Not for the drug use, but for the mix of different classes and types of people. My poetry group was open to all levels and styles and I think that’s what we got. Similarly, I wanted to feature established, known, and/or major artists as well as up-and-coming, unknown, and/or underground/indie artists all under my very loosely-defined “pop” umbrella. I think I achieved that as well.
I wanted to have as many features as I could plug original content into. I really wanted to have as much original content as possible. Commenting on major music stories relevant to the site was fine, but what’s the point of repeating what everyone else is saying? I know it means hits and potential advertisers, but I wasn’t really interested in that.
I don’t think you can reinvent the wheel. Obviously, I wasn’t the first pop music blogger ever in the world, but you can put your own spin on it. Make it your own. So, I tried to make my features original, creative, and fun. For the most part I thought of them in terms of a romantic relationship. That’s why I had features called Just Picked Up, LTR (Long Term Review), R&R, Single and Listening, and Tuesday Tease. Then there were the ones that played on “pop,” “pop music,” and “popolio” like the pop quiz interview and the pic-olio. I even created my own rating scale for the review features.
I knew my reach would be global on the internet, but where I’m from and where I’ve been has always been important to me. I think places help shape who you are and who you become. So, I made a conscious decision to highlight an artist when they were local or regional. That was done as simply as adding the name of the city the artist is from, lives, or is associated with with a dash to the title of the post featuring them.
So that’s how things got rolling, not so much in a nutshell. I’d like to close things by sharing my overall regrets and highlights regarding THE REAL popolio. You can’t have yin without yang, so here goes.
My regrets: I think when you’re starting you’re so passionate that you bite off more than you can chew and you over-promise. I hate to come off flaky, but there are things I just didn’t get to or where the communication just fell off either on my side or the other. If I could go back I’d promise less and do everything I set out to do.
I intended to finish pending things off (complete things I hadn’t gotten around to) as I got closer to my self-imposed shut-down date, but then I did those massive end-of-site countdowns and those took a lot of time and effort. I did that because I feel that most of the time you’re going to have to document and celebrate yourself because no one is going to do it for you. Not unless you’re considered part of the upper echelons and who decides, that, really? That’s a whole ‘nother conversation, but I’d been doing it for 3 years, so I felt it deserved a fitting conclusion. You do this sort of thing partly for yourself but you hope some someones are following you along for the ride.
Yet, on the other hand, at a certain point, you just have to decide that you’re finishing and you get done what you get done and what you don’t you just have to let go of. You throw it on the wall, see what sticks, and move on to the next thing.
I would have done more full album reviews. I always felt like I was judging artists and, ultimately, feel music is art and not being a musician, myself, who am I to judge? So, I would avoid them like the plague and when I was supposed to do one, I’d procrastinate like crazy. I preferred interviews. Those are more personal and intimate and made me feel like I really connected with an artist in a special way.
I’d get my act together on live events and not only would I have done more of them, but I would have figured out how to promote them better and get more butts in the seats, if you will, or feet on the floor. That was always the tricky part. Putting all this work into something and then not getting the turnout you quite would have hoped for.
My highlights: I’ve been exposed to so many artists, music, and genres that I otherwise would not have been exposed to that I really enjoy. I’ve gotten to interview artists I grew up with and that I consider myself a huge fan of. I’ve met and interacted with so many cool and interesting artists, music reps, and industry people.
I learned so much about blogging, podcasting, Facebooking, and tweeting. And the promotion (including giveaways and cross-promotions) and professional interactions that come along with all of it. I have also written for other sites because of my experience with my own and that has just been invaluable to my personal growth as a blogger/music writer. Though, there is always more to learn.
To the artists: I hope to have gotten you at least one new fan or listener, but really, more than just the one. I hope I got you tons of new fans!
To the reps: It’s been nice working with you. Thanks for bringing such great artists and neat stuff to my attention and allowing THE REAL popolio to be one of the regular outlets for your artists and their music.
A special SHOUT OUT to those who I developed ongoing relationships with. I enjoyed the back-and-forth and the continuing collaboration. Actually, that goes to the artists I developed ongoing relationships with, too!
To the other sites, blogs, and organizations: Any cross-promotion or collaboration was fun and a learning experience.
To the visitors, listeners, and viewers: I hope you enjoyed the ride. Thanks for visiting and reading, listening to, and/or viewing any of our content. I hope, that like myself, you were exposed to artists and music you were not familiar with and grew to love.
Check for me at Twitter. ‘Nuff said.
peace, love & all that jazz,
Freddie Rodriguez aka freddie beat
THE REAL popolio creator and editor