I’ve wanted to write to you many times. I’ve drafted this repeatedly in my mind. I was always too embarrassed to actually write it, too worried that it wasn’t exactly the right message to send.
When I burned out on running The Shotgun Seat, I just sort of snuck away and hoped no one would notice. I didn’t announce that we were pausing or shuttering because I didn’t want to actually end things, so I just kept taking forever to get anything done, telling myself I’d start writing again tomorrow, and going to a lot of baseball games to avoid thinking about it.
Something that no one tells you about the music industry is that the struggle years are hard not just because of the struggle, but because of the posturing you have to do around it. I lived on about 12k a year for the entire time I lived in Nashville, but I never felt like I could let on about my situation because doing so would reveal that The Shotgun Seat wasn’t making money and therefore wasn’t succeeding. I’d cancel meetings because of anxiety or because I couldn’t afford to put gas in my car until my last Postmates earnings deposited, so if I ever flaked on you, which is likely, that’s why, and I’m sorry for it. And yet, by every metric except the financial one, I am so, so proud of the work we did and the things we created on the site and beyond.
You guys know how it’s supposed to go: the dream will be worth the struggle in the end. But it stopped feeling like the dream anymore. It’s always been about the songs for me – I fell in love with great songwriting and I wanted to shout those creations and creators’ stories from the mountaintops. I wanted to tell the stories of storytellers. Naively, I thought that mission would be enough to create a financially viable business. I never had a financial plan and I never wanted to be in the rat race for page views and engagement rates, which, as I learned, are kind of important in running a digital media company. 😂
I took on too much and stopped feeling excited or inspired. I hated feeling like I’d give my all to a piece that five minutes later would disappear into the void of the internet and never matter again.
I never wanted to close the book, though. Even while I was burning out, our team was creating some of the most interesting thought pieces, music reviews, and artist interviews, and pairing them with brilliant ideas, visions, and marketing strategies, even while working other full time jobs and being paid only in show comps and my gratitude. I’m so sorry I wasn’t in a place to match your skill and energy with mine. I’m so proud of the work you did with us and the incredible careers you’ve created for yourselves, and feel lucky to have your continued friendship. And to my wonderful acquaintances-turned-friends, who supported us, sent us music, agreed to interviews, partnered with us, gave us a shoutout, etc.: you have meant more to me and to our team than I could ever express. Thank you for believing in us.
I know this sounds like a roundabout way to say goodbye, but I don’t want it to be. It’s hello again, but this time, things are different. I still want to shout about those special songs, revel in those shows with extra magic in the room, and highlight underrated creators. I still want to champion our writers, and anyone who has a perspective that needs a place to be shared.
We’re not going to bother trying to be a “media company.” We’re not going to be the first to break news, we won’t cover every single release, and we might not post every day or even every week. Turn on notifications and join our email list, because when we do post, it’ll be because we’ve got that feeling – when great art catches your attention and sparks inspiration of its own.
We hope to see you there.
With love, gratitude, and finally, inspiration again,
Founder, The Shotgun Seat