Photo: Associated Press
How is AOL’s big music writing experiment in SXSW going? According to AOL’s Saul Hansell, “great,” but he admits AOL won’t be interviewing all 2,000 bands as hoped.In an email to us, Saul tries moving the goal posts:
To be honest, I think I’ve been a little sloppy in how I’ve talked about this project. I’ve been saying we wanted to publish interviews with 2000 bands. That’s patently impossible…What I meant to say is we would reach out to all 2,000 bands. We’ve done that, and we will keep doing so.
There’s scuttlebutt floating in the ether that AOL’s Seed operation hasn’t been up to task. Some evidence of that was an email sent to Seed contributors with the subject “urgent call.”
Saul’s response, “If you think that of any set of 500 writers that all of them would have met their deadlines, I don’t know what species of creature you’ve been observing.”
When wrote about it yesterday, one wag in the comments noted, “The fact that these reporters are being sent a batch email from a desktop is all the proof one would need. Community-based content platforms take time to build. Ask Demand and Associated Content.”
Here’s Saul’s full email to us talking about the grand Seed experiment:
I think the project is going great. At last count we had interviews with 80 per cent of the bands that are still playing published. That is a result of a lot of very hard work by both Seed contributors and Spinner editors who are not getting much sleep these days. The SXSW festival,after all, doesn’t release half the band names until two weeks before the start of the music festival.
To be honest, I think I’ve been a little sloppy in how I’ve talked about this project. I’ve been saying we wanted to publish interviews with 2000 bands. That’s patently impossible. No one in journalism can talk to absolutely everyone he or she wants to interview. Not Barbara Walters. Not Tom Friedman. And certainly not anyone who tries to track down indie rock bands driving around the country from gig to gig sleeping on friends couches or in the back of their 1987 Corollas.
What I meant to say is we would reach out to all 2,000 bands. We’ve done that, and we will keep doing so. Let me ask this, do more than 80 per cent of the calls that Business Insider places to sources get returned?
As for the e-mail, what do you think we’d be doing two days before the festival? If you think that of any set of 500 writers that all of them would have met their deadlines, I don’t know what species of creature you’ve been observing.
The point of this project was twofold: to give Spinner readers something interesting and useful they simply could not find anywhere else and to show the world is not some cynical attempt to game search engines with worthless mush rewritten from Wikipedia.
Judge for yourself how well we’ve achieved those goals already. I’ve spent most of the last few days in the convention centre in Austin, and I feel great about what we’ve done and excited about where we’re going.