2012 Retrospective and 2013
Even though the first month of 2013 is almost over, I finally have time to look back on 2012 and koreanindie.com. It’s been a strange and exciting journey working on the site. When I wrote about my initial experiences with Korean indie music, I looked back on my initial introduction to the music of South Korea.
koreanindie.com is a little over one year old. Unfortunately, working on koreanindie led me to a hiatus on wakesidevision.com because of the amount of work required, but I consider it a step forward. I’ll return to my original site again in some form, but it doesn’t have my main attention right now.
koreanindie has grown a lot in the past year. From the show recaps of I Am a Singer and Top Band, the interviews, and the stream of news; koreanindie’s growth has been very positive.
The site is still small in the realm of internet sites, shadowed by other sites that cover a variety of Korean culture with business support. But I believe that koreanindie.com is one of the only sites that focuses on bands and the music.
Seoulsonic 2K12 was my first video interview experience and covering a music event. It was stressful because these were bands that had a lot of history and had no need to talk to a small site that focused on English-language readers. It’s funny to go back and re-watch the interview because they feel so haphazard.
During the year, I also interviewed Hee Young during her vacation to San Francisco which was fun because it was a different perspective on being an independent artist in the United States.
I continued to write reviews for indie music. I don’t like considering them as reviews because I want to introduce the music rather than attach a subjective score to releases. I understand people have different tastes and what I don’t enjoy, others may be fans. It’s worked out pretty well and people seem to enjoy discovering the artists that are posted on the site. The library of Korean indie music is so vast that it’s difficult to cover everything.
That’s another thing that people may not realize:
koreanindie.com and news.koreanindie.com is mainly the work of two people with full-time jobs that don’t live in South Korea. I live in San Francisco and Anna lives in Stockholm. There are writers from other sites who contribute to show recaps or the occasional review, but the two of us are the main sources of content. koreanindie.com has always been an “after work project.” Even before we started the site with Mark, our individual sites were worked on during free time.
koreanindie.com is the same.
We write, research, and reach out to bands because we love the music. Everything on the site is funded from our own pockets. I’ve thought about crowdfunding, asking for donations, or even placing ads on the site to raise some money to pay for at least our hosting, but in the end I feel that it’s not the time. As much as I would love to work on koreanindie.com full-time, it’s not viable with our current goals.
What time calls for now, at least to me, is to continually introduce more bands internationally to English-language readers. To not worry about the cost, but continually move forward and assist more bands.
When I traveled to Seoul in November 2012, it was for a vacation. But adding in the mini-doc, I thought it would be interesting to show one perspective of the Hongdae music scene.
Big projects only happen once or twice a year, but adding new artists to the site is important and something I will continue into 2013.
During 2012, sites with bigger audiences started introducing indie bands or expanded their coverage. I think generally this is positive for bands to get more exposure. But the crux of some of this coverage is that sites are still considering bands as products and not as bands.
koreanindie probably won’t reach the amount of traffic these other sites get any time soon. But I think as an international site, we introduce bands better. Beyond the fact that Anna and I have been able to make friends in the music scene, we love the music and always work towards helping bands.
2013 is going to another interesting year for Korean indie music. More bands are promoting themselves to international audiences through their social network pages and some are touring internationally.
One big concept that other sites need to realize is that many bands are smart and knowledgeable about how to interact with their fans. There’s a misunderstanding that they don’t know what they’re doing.
I don’t claim to know everything about Korean indie, I like the music that I like. I said to a friend before, if I was part of a Korean indie documentary, I wouldn’t want a subtitle to say “Co-founder koreanindie.com” as the first line. I’d want it to say “liked Korean indie music, introduced it to others.”
I’m grateful that our Twitter and Facebook pages have grown and that people trust the site and our writing. There have only been a couple negative comments to my writing personally and I admit it pissed me off a lot. But as people have told me, it comes with posting online.
I thank the people who supported the site from fans and followers to bands who were nice enough to answer interview questions. I want koreanindie to be one of the first places people tell others to discover Korean indie music.
2013 will be another growth year for koreanindie and the music scene and we will continue to push forward.