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Day In The Life: Aidan Cuffe, Music Blogger & Website Owner

Blog by Michelle Lloyd under Media, Music Training & Careers

A day in the life of a music blogger. It might bore you to tears, I try to tell The Unsigned Guide. You see, I've managed to fool them into believing I work full time in the music industry. Well, from the outside looking in I guess it could look that way. For the last 10 years I have been relentlessly running a website as a hobby with the kind of dedication which, if I applied to my real job, would land me a well-paid position.

My website is Goldenplec.com and is a blog which I've broken down into a group of categories including News, Reviews, Interviews and Competitions and structured the site to come across as more a full site than blog. We have 30-40 volunteer writing contributors and around 15 volunteer photographers, who help us provide a huge breath of coverage across events in Ireland. We focus largely on Dublin (since our team and most shows are centralised there) but have contributors in Galway, Cork and Belfast and we try to cover as many festivals around Ireland as possible.
 
9:00am - Most week days for me start (overly tired) in my real job. I work as an IT engineer for a software company. This job pays the bills, as unfortunately, the current blend of traffic and advertising rates online could not sustain a quarter of a person. So largely, until lunchtime, I have my attentions pulled elsewhere.
 
1:00pm - Around lunchtime I tend to grab something to eat quickly and return to my desk, sifting through the many, many emails sent to Goldenplec.com for perusal; some news items from the multiple PR and promoters around Ireland. I try to run through as many of these and get the important news items online. This is the brunt of our work and it is not glamorous. Every day there are new shows requiring news items, and writing up and configuring a news post for each release takes time.
 
6:00pm - My workday ends, but for the website, it's just beginning! An average evening depends on the day - I could be at a venue reviewing a live show, sitting at home writing up news items, proofing reviews and working on technical site issues or perhaps attending event launches. This is supposedly the fun end of the music website job, however when you have to take notes throughout a gig, something is lost on the show somewhat! I monitor the Twitter and Facebook accounts, make sure all news and reviews have gone out through it and reply to readers who have been in touch with us.
 
11:00pm - If at a live show, I tend to try write as much of the show up before bed as possible. The sooner we publish a review the more relevant it is for people on search engines/Twitter/Facebook. Traffic is always one of the major concerns with the publishing of news and reviews and generally speaking, the site first to it tends to get the majority of traffic. Once I have the chunk of a review sorted, I need to work my way through as much of what is in my inbox to reply to various requests for interview, album reviews, to publish news on the site and I schedule what we need to publish the next day.
 
3:00am - On a good day 3am isn't a bad time for finally getting enough done to allow myself to sleep, though it has been later. Nodding off to allow some respite before getting up the next day for 9am to head to the job that puts the food on the table.
 
Running the website requires a ridiculous amount of dedication and co-ordination, and I make use of multiple online tools to manage, control and remind myself of things that need doing. As each evening brings something different, this is just a sample of what I could be doing. On a regular basis I need to chase reviews from other writers, proofread reviews before publishing them, request media passes to events for the reviewer and/or photographer attending the show to cover the event for us, co-ordinate an interview with the management/PR and one of my volunteer team, launch competitions and track and file entries for each and, when required, choose a winner, contact them and notify the promoter so their name is on the door.
 
This is all the music administration before we even get into the management of our web server and domain, site security, theme and design and more! The website takes up most of my spare time, mostly because I don't know any other way to be. I've run it for 10 years and without the website my evenings would probably degenerate into laziness of epic proportions! The work however isn't without its perks. We have won Best Music Website at the Irish Web Awards in both 2011 and 2012. We run a pre-recorded radio show on the DAB arm of the national broadcaster RTE, on a station they call 2XM. We have been asked to judge multiple events, including being a judge at the 2010 Choice Music Prize. We have gotten to meet/speak to some of our musical heroes and attend some stunning live shows.
 
Some say you get back what you put in. If I got back what I put in, I'd be running this website for a living. However the community or friends built up through the team over the years are invaluable to me. Some might say catching multiple gigs a week is amazing, but truly there comes a point where being in venues for gigs so much becomes as much work as any 9-5. That said, it only takes one amazing gig to re-ignite your love for it all over again.
 

Tags

goldenplec.com, music website, music blog, music writer, music blogger, music industry, music business, day in the life

 

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