· 4 min read
Sound culture on the internet requires a fresh set of paint. Entire publications and critics earn their reputations solely off viral clickbait headlines or thumbnails and subjective rating systems meant to generate outrage clicks. It’s big business being contrarian for the sake of itself, critique has become a way to bring down the artist’s rep in order to uplift the critic’s.
Scenes aren’t communities. The online experience for sound practitioners and listeners alike is one of one-up-manship and pissing contests. When musicians are fed scraps, the fight for resources becomes dog eat dog.
There is an alternative and it starts with the language and methodologies we use in the field of sound. The words we choose to publish on a particular artist or aesthetic must be deliberately used to educate those who seek to learn and uplift those who wish to improve their own creative practices. This requires artists talking about themselves beyond the sound. This requires self-deprecation, having a sense of humor. Shitposting. Vulnerability. Self-critique over astroturfed public opinion or algorithm-driven virality. A publication or platform cannot change its culture, the community that surrounds it can. We can start here.
Klang Magazine is a bilingual journal in English and Spanish that will consist of commissioned editorials in text and audio form, published twice a week. These editorials will consist of —
- Essays and critical listening conversations on newly released albums, written and/or hosted by the artist themselves, rather than album reviews and rating systems from a staff critic
- Text and audio reports on niche topics related to international underground music scenes, developments in music and audio technology, and the ecology of sound in a rapidly changing world, written in first-person by practitioners on the ground throughout six continents.
- Original DJ mix, recording, and sample pack commissions of new works by DJs, producers, and performers of all styles of organized sound, with original essays and artist statement accompaniments in both text and recorded formats.
Klang Magazine will rely directly on community interaction through a variety of means including —
- Free accounts on the main Klang Magazine site to be used for direct commenting and saving of favorite posts to their account management page.
- Discord server for all to join, share their own original work, participate in group critique, host in-server radio shows.
- Monthly “happy hour Klanguear” artist talks, workshops, and parties held both URL via livestream and IRL at Klang Magazine HQ in Puerto Rico. Free and open to all-age audiences.
Klang Magazine will provide a variety of educational resources beyond the main editorial content for both musicians and listeners alike. This will include —
- A weekly call for field recording and sample submissions based on the La Meme Young Found Sound prompts on Instagram. Users will submit original sound or video recordings, all of which will be posted directly to the Klang Magazine feeds throughout the day.
- Monthly project prompts, encouraging users to create an original recorded work based on text instructions given on a regular basis. These projects will be collected and presented during a live Klang Magazine radio stream once a month.
- Complete archive of livestreamed artist talks and workshops available for free via Echio and all podcast platforms, organized by subject, style, and artist for resourceful efficiency.
While keeping the editorials and artist talks — both text and podcast — free and accessible to the public is crucial to the ethos of the magazine, we still need to find ways of supporting ourselves. Rather than selling physical print editions of our publication, we will have audio editorials in the form of commissioned sample packs, remixable stems of original recordings, and limited music software releases by contributing artists available for monthly subscribers.
We will call this subscription service The Zone.
Paywalling writing and podcasts sucks, but so does data mining advertisement services. And what’s worse than both is the inability to pay contributors fairly for their labor. The only agreeable compromise to keep things accessible for all is complete and total transparency regarding sponsorships and brand partnerships. There will be no sponsored content or surveillance capitalism. Licensed brands will agree to pay for advertising space on the front page margins and for original recorded adverts on the podcast channel. Brands should be relevantly aligned with the Klang Magazine ethos and not randomly selected by third parties.