My Singles Column & FAQ
I am Singles Editor for Drowned in Sound, a music website that gets about 500k hits per month. I write a weekly column for them on new releases which is published every Monday. If you are kind/foolhardy enough want to send me a single for possible inclusion, it is only fair that you know the following things. If you are a ‘band’ or ‘PR person’ or ‘record label’, the first set of things should be useful to you. They are written in words of one syllable to save you time and bother and are written with LOVE.
The second set of things are mostly written for my benefit.
The First Set Of Things
- Put the release date of the single in the subject line of your email. Put it first.
- Attach an mp3 of the single to your email. Just the a-side, nothing else.
- Send me a link to a stream or video I can embed.
- Tell me what label it’s out on.
- My email address is music at wendyroby dot com.
YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW
- I just write about singles.
- It has to be a Proper Release.
- I don’t review albums, write features or do news items about music.
- I don’t live in London.
- I don’t want to be on your mailing list.
- I can’t give you feedback.
- I can’t be your pen pal.
- I can’t write about everything.
- I do forget things.
- I don’t write for free.
- It doesn’t matter what I think.
- You’re not going to make it.
- You are going to make it.
- I love you.
The Second Set Of Things
I’m not a music journalist full time anymore. I write books and do a bit of teaching and though my DiS singles column is my habsolute pride and joy, it is just that - one pieceof work I do once a week, for hardly any pence. There is no DiS office, and I don’t sit at a desk chucking pencil shavings until they land in Sean’s hair or spend my days jabbing him with a ruler every time he mentions Her Out Of Paramore.
As it is, the DiS column takes at least a day and a half of my time if you factor in finding out what’s being released, answering emails, downloading singles, loading physical ones onto my iPod, finding videos/streams, snipping up embed codes, looking-up release dates, formatting the column and working out what label each single is out on. Call me old fashioned, but after that I quite like to listen to the singles a few times away from my desk before I sit down and write about them.
Occasionally my Dad will ask me if doing the singles is really very wise, and I do a little cost/benefit analysis in my head. And basically it costs me money to do it but I just can’t quit it. I never had so much fun doing anything in my whole life, especially if you discount the things you can do with really clever and good-looking boys.
I don’t respond well to passive aggression and if I get five emails about the same single and ‘Has it arrived yet?’ and ‘Have you listened?’ and ‘Can I reach out to lock in some content?’ I will start baking you a tiny little wrath cake.
The reason people don’t respond to your texts/tweets/emails/FB messages/Wall posts/phone calls/VM messages is ALMOST NEVER something to do with YOU. There are a million reasons why people don’t reply and to assume it is your fault is both perishing to your ego and a strange sort of narcissism. I’m not ignoring you, you’re lovely, I love writing to people, I learnt to write by writing emails and would happily spend all day doing nothing else. But that is not the modern way. The modern way is to have 7346462 different ways for people to contact you - and as a consequence, 7346462 concomitant delivery channels for rejection. This is progress.
I did quite a lot of freelance journalism when I started writing but I worked out pretty quickly that it’s not for me; I mostly hate it. Once in a blue moon I will happen upon a thing and want to pitch a feature on it, but it is an ad-hoc thing. In this instance, ‘Ad hoc’ is Latin for ‘When the moon is in the seventh house, women get equal pay and Herb Alpert & His Tijuana Brass reform.’ Never say never.
I write about SINGLES. That you can BUY. On a MONDAY. That CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Very occasionally I will be moved to write about an album, but I probably won’t write about it in a way you can jam into a PR spreadsheet because I’m a massive kooky ball of journalistic iconoclasm. ‘Wendy Roby makes me look like Amanda Holden’ - Tilda Swinton. ETC.
I am very, very, very old and do not want to be part of your scene. Believe me, you don’t want me to be part of your scene, either. It is best and safer all round if you think of me as a decrepit maiden aunt who does needlepoint by the LOG FIRE of INDIE. Very occasionally I will say something nutty about Galaxie 500 but you won’t be quite sure; maybe it was just the old lady farting.
I love an ASSIGNMENT. If you want me to go on tour with your band or write about your nose harp festival I will write its face off and make sure it is a larksome thing to digest, even if the reader is allergic to nose harps. But I will only do this in exchange for cold hard cash that I can buy things with. Once when my family were queuing for Versailles and me and my Dad were starving, my Mum told us to jog on and get a croissant but she didn’t need one because she could ‘live on culture’. I can’t live on culture, I need EGGS and COFFEE and BREAD and OLDEN DAY TAT.
I don’t live in London. I’m delighted you would like to invite me to your listening party/sleepover/showcase/jazz happening, but I probably won’t come because I live in Norfolk which is ruddy ages away and I quite like it here. I came here to die and write books and to slowly and quietly go very, very mad.
I’ve just Goggled ‘Herb Alpert & His Tijuana Brass’. He’s not dead. Hooray!