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How does a music scribe make their mark?

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Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

This question came up in a music mailing list and I wondered about this myself.  I remembered then that a good part of the answer came from another field- politics.
If you just want to get attention for what you’re doing, it’s not that hard- Republican blow-hard radio personalities have already carved out that formula pretty well with their ridiculous sleazy chatter.  If you want to say some things you really believe in and get noticed, it’s a cliche to say this but it’s true that you gotta find your own unique voice (and perspective). 

Going back to politics, there’s an excellent article from the Washington Monthly about New York Times writer Bob Herbert.

The argument there is that Herbert is a very wise writer who says the right things and has been ahead of the curve a number of times.  The problem is that he isn’t very widely read or respected.  As much as the author of the piece admires Herbert, he comes to the conclusion that the problem is that Herbert doesn’t put enough ‘meat’ in his articles.  While his conservative counterparts are wrong-headed, they still beat him out because their articles are entertaining and are full of provocative ideas- in the end, those qualities trump Herbert’s pluses.  It definitely applies to the field of music scribing too- someone who gets the facts right and knows the score isn’t going to get the mileage out of their column the way that someone who’s interesting and entertaining will.  Of course, if you have ALL of those qualities going for you, it makes your work even stronger and more noticeable.

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