Already Heard is a UK-based alternative music website covering the latest news, reviews, features, videos, exclusives and more.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
I’ve been a fan of music since I was young but never through about being involved in the industry. I kind of fell into the role of being a music writer/blogger. I started in the summer of 2008 and nearly seven years later I’ve learnt so much about how the music industry works and about myself personally. I was part of a site called Alter The Press for around 3 years and then in 2012 launched my own site - Already Heard.
What drove you to choose your career path?
After I parted ways with Alter The Press in 2011, I took some time out for myself. I was burned out by the constant workload and the growth that site had. I wrote for a couple of other publications but I realised I missed the daily routine of running a website, so I gambled and decide to see if I could start up my own site. This led to me and a friend running a Tumblr-based blog for a couple of months at the end of 2011. We did this to see if anyone would be interested in what we were doing, and thankfully, there was. We decided to put that on hiatus, put together a team of writers and photographers and then launched Already Heard in April 2012.
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I gave myself the job (haha) but seriously the experience from co-running Alter The Press was valuable. I learnt how demanding the role of running a site can be, how to be organized, and how to communicate with various publicists, bands, labels etc. However I feel I’m always learning something new, the world of music blogging is constantly changing and adapting so you have to learn how to react almost immediately. In terms of education, I have a degree in History and American Studies, so I never had an aspirations to become a writer but I guess there's a connection when it comes to writing essays and writing reviews.
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
Away from the site, myself and our contributors are all involved in full-time jobs or education so when we do have time to work on the website, we make it count. Personally I spend a lot of time in my inbox, dealing with press releases, album reviews, interviews and generally organizing and working on content for the site.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
I’m not quite sure. I guess some people think it’s awesome attending shows and festivals for free but that’s not the reality. When I cover a festival like Leeds Festival, it’s not just attending it, watching bands and then going home after 3 days. I have to spend the days leading up to it organizing interviews, researching, and planning. Then after the festival I have to write a review of the festival and transcribe several interviews.
I think another misconception is that some other sites think they are unique and are different from others when in reality they’re just one of dozens doing the exact same thing as others.
What are your average work hours?
Like I said earlier I work full-time but I’m regularly checking emails etc throughout the day. When I’m done with work and I’m back at home, I probably spend 3-5 hours on the site.
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
As we’re a UK-based site, we don’t cover American news like tours etc. When I left Alter The Press I noticed how many sites cover the exact same news stories and because I was developing a new site, I realised covering news that readers have seen elsewhere is pointless. Up until recently, we did have a weekly US news roundup but since our re-design and slight change in approach to content at the start of this year, we’ve stopped doing it. We’ve also stopped covering every press release that is suitable for the site. We’re now more selective when it comes to news. If it’s a band or a song/video that we like and we think our readers should know about, it goes on the site.
From day one of Already Heard, I’ve always said I would rather use my time developing content that had meaning rather than just become another music news site.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
Like I said, I try and take a different approach when it comes to news. Rather than recycling a press release or news that dozens of others sites post about, we make use of our free time more worthwhile.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
Do your research! I’ve learnt how to tell when people don’t research the site when they’re contacting us. We primarily cover rock, punk, hardcore, pop punk, emo etc. So if you’re an electro/hip-hop/pop act, then you’re simply wasting your time by emailing us.
Also try and provide some worthwhile information about your band. Sell yourself to us and why you think your band is good enough to be covered by our site. Don’t just send a quick “hey! Can you review our band? Here’s our Bandcamp” email.
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
I guess time and lack of resources. I wish I could do this full-time but its not financially feasible. Our demand from bands and labels continues to grow but we don’t have the resources, in terms of writers, to cover them all. That frustrates me. We just have to make do within our means and be as productive as possible.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
I think the most enjoyable part of my role is being recognized. I don’t mean in a “hey! look I’m famous” type of way but by being noticed and appreciated for what me and our team has produced. No matter how big or small; a news post, a review, a feature or an interview. It’s still good to know that someone has took a second out of the day and looked at what we’ve produced.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
More or less nothing. Sure we have ads running on our site but I’m far from being rich. Like I said, I run the site alongside a full-time job which pays minimum wage. So don’t go into this job thinking you’re going to make money.
How do you move up in your field?
I’m guessing for me, personally, the only way I can move up is to somehow make it full-time even if that’s not with Already Heard.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
Be different. Take inspiration from those who you look up to but keep it original. Don’t try and be another site that intimates someone else’s hard work and effort. Also be motivated. Even if your site isn’t where you want it to be, keep going and your time and effort will pay off.