As 2018 comes to a close I want to thank the Alternative Nation readers and writers/contributors for their support this year, and over the years. We’ve been going by the AlternativeNation.net name for 5 and a half years now, and I launched the site under its previous name GrungeReport.net nearly a decade ago in May 2009 when I was 17 years old. I’m forever grateful to Andrei Toth (a reader from the beginning) for coming up with the Alternative Nation name, and to Joseph Thomas for donating money to buy the domain in 2013.
2018 was by far AlternativeNation.net’s most successful year, and it took a long time and hard work to get here. I’ve had to micromanage being the head reporter, editor, webmaster, social media manager, and head of sales. There are no days off, not even Christmas and Thanksgiving, or New Years Eve obviously as you are reading this! I feel I owe it to the site and audience for being lucky enough to not have to go into an office to do what I do. December was also by far our most successful month of all time, totally smashing previous records, and while I know January and February are traditionally slower months, it has been nice to see that we can get to the point of being in the conversation with some of the bigger rock sites who have major conglomerates behind them.
When it comes to content this year, the interview I did with Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’arcy Wretzky is the thing I am most proud of in the history of the site. The interview and text messages are our most read exclusive interview feature, with 300,000 hits. While as a fan I wish it was under happier circumstances with the full Smashing Pumpkins original lineup coming to fruition like we’d all hoped, I felt honored that D’arcy chose me to tell her story after nearly 20 years out of the spotlight. I’ve gotten to know her a little bit this year too, probably better than any of my other interview subjects, and she’s actually the most fun to talk to when the subject isn’t The Smashing Pumpkins!
I’ve really enjoyed the pieces this year from Joe Hughes, Lauryn Schaffner, Greg Prato, Andy Frisk, Doug McCausland, Brando from the Appetite for Distortion podcast, and all other contributing writers/video reporters/podcasters. Joe especially has really stepped up doing some other work as well that has really helped the site grow. Mike Mazzarone also still does some work for us, it’s just not writing! Our writers like Joe, Lauryn, and others definitely bring an enthusiasm for rock and roll that I can sometimes lack based on how closely I cover some of these artists and behind the scenes stuff that I see.
I have to thank the non-insane haters and trolls as well, some of it is actually quite funny to me! I get some valid criticism sometimes that helps, I think there is a misunderstanding of the way the headlines are covered on here. I’ve written about it before, but with the way people now exclusively get their news through only a few social media sites, headlines are now more like billboards or advertisements rather than headlines. If you put something on a billboard that doesn’t draw people to your business, you are wasting your time and just making the billboard company money. I don’t feel like the core of the written content has changed that much over the years, I’ve just gotten better at breaking and marketing stories.
I used to really take everything personally when I was a bit younger when it came to trolling, but I now feel like something must be off if I’m not getting trolled! There is obviously stuff that goes over the line (moreso when it comes to the artists and their families than me, please leave them alone!), and I do my best to shut that out. I think how everyone should look at internet conversations is, would you say it to someone’s face without hiding behind a wall of anonymity? We should try and behave like a normal community would and have some empathy for one another.
Speaking of communities, we are looking to grow and expand what Alternative Nation does in 2019, and we need your help. I’ve started experimenting with more classic rock stories in the last couple of weeks, and expect to see more of that in the new year, and stories on some metal artists as well. Since I started this site under the Grunge Report name in 2009 and as we expanded as Alternative Nation in 2013, I’ve always looked at the site as something for stories that Pearl Jam fans would like. Obviously not every Pearl Jam fan is going to have the same taste in music, but you get the idea. We’d like to add on more bands that expand our brand, but still appeal to the base that we’ve built over the last decade. We’d also be interested in adding on some entertainment industry and cultural type of stories in the future, but it has to be things that appeal to a the Generation X and Pearl Jam type of fanbase. This will be different than the experimenting we did in 2014 that was based around long form interviews. While we’d be interested in some interviews, they take too much time, and publicists are a pain in the ass. Interviews set up through PR’s are generally pretty boring fluff unless you are a top level outlet with major backing like Rolling Stone or The Howard Stern Show.
In addition to new types of content and bands covered, we’re also working on a couple of major ideas we’ll be launching soon as well where we need staff. So if you are interested in joining the site (money will come as we get things off the ground) and the projects we’re working on and you know how to write, run and grow social media accounts, grow ad sales, edit photos and graphics, photograph/film, web developing/coding, video editing, or a background in the music industry, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Alternative Nation Staff 2019’ and let us know what you are good at.
Anyways, thanks for the support this year, and happy new year!