Year Two: State of the Union
So, Year Two is in the bag! Probably too cliche to say, “I didn’t think we’d make it this far.” Besides, I did, actually! I was confident we laid a lot of groundwork in year one to keep things running, throwing anything and everything at the wall, and a lot of Year Two was seeing what stuck. Seeing what stuck proved to be a very educational experience, even if it occasionally felt like just keeping the trains running, and with minor tweaks to how certain sections and areas of content are operated (switching from music reviews to weekly music roundups was a big change that was empirically proven to work!), it feels like Crossfader is finally and fully situated. We now have two classes of interns under our belts, our reach on social media effectively doubled (although we of course wanted more), we deleted the remnants of our old college radio episodes in lieu of an official podcast (IN THE CROSSHAIRS, if you’re so inclined), our writers have expanded to include those who were initially complete strangers that grew into integral parts of the family, and we’ve been getting more and more coverage of artists, concerts, and events. We were just invited to cover Sundance NEXT Fest! If you told 2015 me that as I stayed up until three in the morning watching WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER in the hopes of writing a review that might reach 20 people, I’d… keep doing just that and ignore you. And now that we’re situated, it’s time to shake things up and continue to grow and change.
As a brief aside, a scant few may be wondering why I’m not writing something more similar to last year’s birthday piece, where I gave some thoughts on critics, criticism, and Crossfader. Well, it’s because those views have largely stayed the same, and it felt a little more in the spirit of things to give a public update as to how Crossfader is doing and where we’re going from here, as there are updates to give. The long and short of it is that Crossfader is going to go legit over the course of this year year, “going legit” being defined here as buckling up, signing the paperwork to form an LLC, and finally making some money. I am making that claim here and now so that when the going inevitably gets hard, maybe even seemingly to an insurmountable degree, I’ll have one more reason to push through it. Thomas Seraydarian is a lot of things, but he is most certainly not hype. But back to my point… Crossfader is going to go legit. Maybe even has to. These two years have been wonderful, but it’s time to make big, scary strides into doing this for real if there’s any hope of continuing to keep the flame alive. There are no indications that interest or effort is waning on a major scale and we’re expanding by the week, if not by the day, so it’s time to lose a lot of time, and probably a not-insignificant sum of money too, by taking a leap of faith.
Now keep in mind, it’s going to take years, not months, until we’re doing anything other than breaking even, so there’s still lots and lots of work to be done to increase our appeal and boost traffic to an economically viable level. And yes, sometimes that does feel like staring down a tunnel that never ends. But I believe in and love Crossfader, and it seems like an increasing number of people are following suit (OK, maybe “liking” instead of “loving,” but still). And most importantly of all, we now get regular comments from people who hate our fucking guts! That’s better in many ways, as it shows we’re reaching those outside of the echo chamber the site was originally founded in. I hope we get even more in the months to follow. (And now that we have fairly deep in-roads into interviewing polemic metal bands, I’m sure we will!)
Anyhoo, there are sure to be trials and tribulations in the months to come as we gear up for getting our ducks in a row, so I guess this is to say that I’d like to take the opportunity to semi-officially mark this a turning point in whatever may become the history of Crossfader. I’m not sure how things will shake out, but I’m sure that they will shake. As has been the case the past two years, people will come, people will stay, and people will go; but I’m no fool, and I know that such a dramatic shift as planting the seeds of Crossfader as a future business venture is probably going to have a more dramatic effect on the three options listed above.
So as such, it feels right to take at least a little bit of time to think back on what Crossfader has been and what it has done—whatever, I do think we’ve accomplished something. What has always interested and excited me about the site is that we accepted the opinions of anyone willing to express one in a coherent and well-written manner. And that’s led to an ever-churning machine of visceral, contentious, and never anything less than heartfelt content. I think that’s valuable, and unique, and is what will ultimately make this anything, if anything at all. No handful of people on the staff fully agrees with the take one member expresses, and I’m not sure you can point a finger at any other site with a similar characteristic. As I made known in the first Facebook status I ever made about Crossfader, this was started as a faux- “senior project.” There was nothing else like this specifically geared to my peers, I felt like there was a need for there to be one, and at the end of the day, we succeeded at establishing one, if nothing else. The passionate and articulate opinions of those around me, even if I vehemently and violently disagree with them, are what interest me more than anything else, and I can rest easy at night knowing that I’ve cemented a platform for them to be expressed.
For the haters, I also would be remiss to not discuss at least a little bit about what I think we’ve done wrong. As many of our most verbal detractors claim, we’re “contrarian.” I don’t necessarily agree, but I do think we occasionally foster “rants,” or opinions that are so negative as to be masturbatory and self-indulgent. I won’t apologize for any of our contributors not liking something, but I do think in the future we can work away from being excessively “mean,” as childish a word as that may be. It doesn’t need its own piece, but Year Two has let me see more of how what we write affects the people that read. I do not plan on ever not calling out bad things as being bad, but I do think it’s worth remember that living, breathing people create what we consume. Except Macklemore and Lil Dicky; I will always applaud Going The Fuck In on them.
In conclusion, this has been a lot of hard work, but it’s also been a whole fucking lot of fun. Since I was a little kid, my dad always told me that once you’ve found something where the line between work and pleasure blurs, you know what was meant to be your calling. And by that account, considering that I spend several hours a day on this site in addition to my three jobs, Crossfader is mine, and as of August 18th, 2017, I don’t plan on that ceasing to be the case anytime soon. It’s weird promising you that by this time next year (and hopefully much sooner), Crossfader won’t be the way you know it. However, I hope that you see this less as a memoriam and more of an exciting promise of what’s to come. I’m confident, nervous, and scared all at the same time, and those are the feelings that always find you on the precipice of something big.