My digital artefact is a music blog titled Listen Loud, along with its accompanying social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Redbubble. The reason I chose this DA is twofold. Firstly, as an aspiring music journalist, I wanted to kickstart my career and build a portfolio of my work. After recognising the relative lack of publications dedicated to up-and-coming musicians in the punk, rock, and metal genres, I figured this would be a great angle to differentiate myself from similar publications (Wall of Sound, Alternative Press, Rock Sound). Secondly, it would allow me to support the music community and new artists through further exposure across my platforms, which target young musicians and music lovers with an interest in discovering new music.
As an avid music lover, this DA also excited me as my proposed process involved conducting Zoom interviews with the musicians being featured, to then create both written and audiovisual content. I decided on this approach as videos are the most engaging content type, while the written aspect will highlight a greater variety of my communication skills. This format was also best suited to my young audience who are of the age group most likely to engage with video content.
As discussed in my project beta, my very first interview was conducted using the built-in features of my MacBook Pro. While I’m very proud of my first attempt, verbal feedback from viewers drew attention to the audio quality and background display, to which I invested in a separate microphone and backdrop to improve the viewer experience. The level of engagement, however, was very encouraging, with posts receiving a total of 81 collective likes/comments/shares, and 171 YouTube streams. This mix of constructive criticism and positive affirmation reinforced my goal of creating a platform to help people discover new music, as I could see the positive reaction my blog was receiving from my target audience.
This feedback loop continued throughout the rest of semester, with small changes being implemented to gradually improve my work after every interview. Currently, after four months of improving my journalism, video editing, and marketing skills, my best performing video has 126 collective likes/comments/shares, and 441 YouTube streams. During this time, I was also offered a radio interview with SWR’s Musos Show, and a feature in Chàe Magazine, which further encouraged me to continually improve my work.
After having invested quite a significant amount of time and money into building my blog, I decided also to launch my own range of merchandise to start monetising it. While many viewers were excited to see my blog progress even further, it was difficult encouraging people to invest in Listen Loud through purchasing my products. To combat this, I decided to donate 50% of profits to the Aussie Kidz Charity, the announcement of which is likely to increase sales and boost trust in my brand. So far, I have managed to sell 19 wristbands, where the remaining proceeds will be invested back into my blog to continually improve my website features, video quality, and marketing, to best enhance the user experience when engaging with my platforms and content. As user experience is improved, so too are the number of viewers likely to interact with my brand.
Despite the long, irregular hours (liquid labour in practice!), hundreds of emails, and thousands of written words, I have learnt so much in the short time since establishing my blog, from best practices in journalism, to realities of the music industry (especially during COVID), and developed a clearer understanding of my brand – its audience, sound, voice, and aesthetic. I’ve fine-tuned it in response to the many constructive inputs by viewers, and have networked with industry experts who’ve offered guidance and support. Still, however, I am merely at the beginning of this journey, and have so far to go, so be sure to find Listen Loud on all your favourite social platforms to keep up to date with the latest.