Life After Already Heard

With everything that has happened in the world in recent months, it feels odd that it’s only a year since I decided to bring something I took great pride in to an end.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware of how significant Already Heard was in my life. For those who don’t know, it was a music website that I created from nothing eight years ago. From its inception in 2012, we built a small but dedicated following. We learnt from mistakes along the way, and adapted (and reacted) to the ever-changing environment of online music writing. Throughout it all, we earnt the respect and support from numerous bands, labels, PRs etc (well I like to think we did).

When we announced plans to go on hiatus 12 months ago, I had mixed feelings about the decision. Apart of me felt it was the right move, but I also had my doubts. To an extent, I perceived it as a failure and that everything the numerous contributors and myself had done throughout the years had gone to waste.

After we finally seized activity in late August 2019, I had a weight off my shoulders. I was able to have more free time and focus on other interests. Yet in the back of my mind, I had thought about how the site would relaunch, if it ever did. What could we do differently? However, the sheer thought of spending my time trying to keep on top of my inbox, proofreading, writing, and everything else that came with running a music site, alongside working a full-time job, soon reminded me why it was best to not consider any form of relaunching.

As time went on, I’ve adapted to life after Already Heard (apologies for being over-dramatic). I was able to focus on other things and, to an extent, step away from music writing. Even if I had been second-guessing my purpose and identity as a person; if I’m not a writer/editor, who am I?

Occasionally, I would do a post through the site’s social media channels yet it seems everyone has moved on. After all, there are many, many more music sites for fans to consume and Already Heard was never unique in any way, shape or form. I still support and follow sites/blogs/magazines/writers/photographers yet I feel there’s still an unbreakable glass ceiling for those publications/creators (of course, some have succeeded and they deserve their success).

It’s so hard not to be bitter/annoyed when you see the outpouring of support for major publications (especially during the current pandemic) when an independent site like Already Heard struggled to gain support on Patreon. We were asking for a minimum of $2 a month. It wasn’t much yet we couldn’t attract a strong following. Although our hits on the site weren’t exceptional, we had a modest following on social media, yet it didn’t transfer over to Patreon.

Everyone who contributed to the site did so for free, and while it was never about making money, it got to a point where the effort wasn’t worth the reward. I’ve often said the role was thankless. To some, your work and effort is just another insignificant piece amongst countless others, unless you from a notable outlet.

I partly feel like I haven’t done enough to use my experience as a music writer and editor. This is partly down to focus on other interests, as well as not being active enough to seek out new opportunities. I was also burnt out from music. I lost enthusiasm. Listening to a new release became a chore. Nevertheless, I’m proud of what I did for seven years.

I think I have enough knowledge and expertise to be an asset to a publication, yet I have rarely ventured into music writing since. As mentioned, that’s partly down to me, yet I’ve not been offered the opportunity. I sincerely don’t want to sound entitled but I feel my merit is noteworthy. Sure, there are people who are better than me (which is probably why I’ve had no offers) but it’s still been frustrating at times.

Understandably, the past 12 months have been strange and I’m sure many others have had a far more eventful time, for good and bad reasons. I’ve adapted and accepted what once was. Ultimately, I feel Already Heard is dead. Like a once good band, no one is crying out for a comeback and its members aren’t interested in reuniting for one last hurrah! Unless we (well, just me) get offered a big payday…