Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Chin Music For HuffPo
I've never written for Huffington Post. Partly it's because their music coverage in general has always been lacking and driven by celebrity. Submitting to them would be to more or less let my article drown in a morass of bloggy-ness and be lost to the ether of the 'Net. But mostly it's because for all the traffic they pull in, for all the money they make their advertisers, they don't pay most of their writers a red cent.
HuffPo was bought by AOL for $315 million. If it's worth that much then AOL can afford to pay its writers. My union, the National Writers Union, is honoring the "virtual picket line" called by the Newspaper Guild. I really didn't have much of a motivation to write for HuffPo before, but now you couldn't pay me enough.
HuffPo has also become known for pulling in some big-name writers, including high-profile musicians and artists. These, of course, are the kinds of folks who are financially secure enough to not really need much of a payment, which isn't nefarious in and of itself. Rather, these are some of the writers that should be convinced to join the boycott and picket line--especially those who describe themselves as liberals or progressives.
This includes musicians. John Mellencamp has written columns in the past. So have other left-leaning artists. Many of them are already honoring the picket line--even if they aren't doing so publicly. Those that aren't need to be urged by their fans to do so.
In a stunning twist of irony, David Kusek of Berkleemusic.com published an article recently profiling the ways in which the music industry rips off artists systematically. The article was published on April 8th, a few days after the strike against HuffPo was called. Of course, just like the music industry, AOL and the rest of the media (hard print and online) will do the exact same to writers if they have their way. This picket line needs to be supported--moreover it needs to be built.