If you are a music gear nerd, then running a gear blog is a dream job. You get to test out new and cutting edge equipment, sometimes before it is even released! Additionally, other gearheads trust your opinion, and will turn to you for advice when considering a purchase. This dream job is a real job, and one that David Weiss, Founder of the gear blog SonicScoop, is all too familiar with.
We asked David Weiss a few questions about the history of SonicScoop, and how it came to be one of the most trusted music gear blogs in the industry.
What is SonicScoop?
SonicScoop is a media company with a focus on music production, as well as the music business ecosystem that surrounds the studio world. We publish online and to mobile daily, producing articles and video about producers, engineers, and studios, with plenty of techniques for recording, mixing, and mastering.
In addition to straight-up music production, we also cover audio post, audio for VR, and as many related fields as we can get to. In addition, we co-produce the annual MixCon event – 2018 will be its fourth year.
When and why was SonicScoop founded?
SonicScoop was born at a Christmas party! I had been shooting the breeze with Janice Brown, my longtime colleague in the Pro audio journalism world, and mentioned that I was thinking of starting my own Website covering New York City recording. She said, “I’ve been thinking the same thing.” I said, “let’s get started together!” — We left the party. Five minutes later, went to the nearest bar, and began planning it. The site launched eight months later, in August 2009.
When we had that conversation, I had been NYC editor of Mix Magazine for several years, and Janice was the recording editor for Pro Sound News. We both saw an opportunity for Pro audio coverage that had a regional/local focus. We started by covering New York City, almost exclusively, but since then, of course, our coverage has expanded to markets worldwide.
Justin Colletti, began contributing to SonicScoop in 2010, has since joined us as a partner. He has been a great addition to the team, as well as the dozens of freelancers who contribute articles and video to the site on a regular basis.
How did you come up with the name SonicScoop?
Janice thought of it. Naming the site was as difficult as naming a band! In the end we chose “SonicScoop” from the myriad options because it spoke to audio, journalism, and immediacy. As writers, we also appreciated the name’s alliterative qualities.
How has SonicScoop changed since your early days?
Aesthetically, it’s gone through one major redesign – what you see today is a much cleaner information flow than we had previously. However, the basic look and color scheme, which was created by our very talented art director Susan Hudes, has remained the same, and I think it has a great deal to do with the appeal of SonicScoop. People love the way it looks and feels.
One of the biggest changes is the number of voices that we accommodate, via the many talented writers and reviewers who contribute to SonicScoop. As the brand has expanded and matured, we have more and more people coming on board, and that’s great to see – they help us to serve a diverse audience.
On that note, it’s been amazing to watch our readership grow to what it is today. We reach about 100,000 visitors a month, checking in from all over the world. Hearing how our content has helped so many people to become better at what they do never gets old. I’m inspired by the dedication of our audience, and it feels great to be reaching more and more of them.
In addition, we’ve become much more adept at producing video and events. Those are both very important ways of communicating with people, and now we’ve figured out how to do it!
Why do you think Sonic Scoop is important to the music community?
There can’t be recorded music without music production. We provide a resource that advises and encourages audio engineers to produce sound to the very best of their abilities.
In addition to giving them the information they need to improve, I think SonicScoop also feels like a welcoming place for many members of the audio production community, who need a central hub to connect, learn, share their achievements as much of any other profession does.
What does the future look like for Sonic Scoop?
Keeps growing every year, and 2018 looks to continue that trend.
We are about to make an exciting addition to our site that’s going to make it a lot easier for people to interact and engage with each other. MixCon expanded significantly this year when we held it at the Manhattan Center’s grand ballroom, and there are plans to give the event an even broader footprint in 2018.
On the video front, we expect to produce a lot more video in the coming year, covering many more topics.
How are you keeping up with the constant evolution in the editorial/blog space?
There never seems to be enough hours in the day to cover everything that we want to! With so many developments in audio for VR, podcasting and video games, in addition to the music production world, there is just way too much to keep track of. We’re always striving to provide deeper coverage of topics that will help our readers develop their skill sets.
We pay careful attention to the great work that many of our peers do to inform the audio community. Pro Tools Expert, Pensado’s Place, Gearslutz, CreateDigitalMusic, Tape Op, and The Pro Audio Files are just a few of the content creators in our space that are constantly improving. In a way we compete, but we’re all friendly and realize that we each bring something distinct to the table.
What makes Sonic Scoop unique?
There are plenty of blogs and forums about how to produce music, but in my opinion SonicScoop is the only online-native media resource, founded by journalists, covering the music production world. We took it very seriously from the start, and I think our audience senses that.
Tell us a bit about your own involvement and history with music?
I always say, “Drums are what got me into this mess!” I’ve been playing drums since age 12, and I’ll never stop. When I moved to New York City from my home state of Michigan, I got the opportunity to play in a bunch of great bands, from rock to country to metal – I was right there in the trenches for many years, trying to make it as a musician.
My drumming led to producing electronic music as Impossible Objects, a solo act which I pursued for several years. I recorded and mixed a lot of music that I’m very proud of, some of which still gets used in sync licensing applications for TV shows/visual media.
What advice would you give to those wanting to build their own online music community?
I was very fortunate to have partners to help me start SonicScoop. I can’t imagine trying to launch any type of wide-reaching endeavor without partners. When you have collaborators, you have double/triple/quadruple etc… the reach to start with, as opposed to the smaller group you can reach if you just doing the whole thing yourself. So I would say if you have a good idea, identify the people that you trust who you can start it with. You’ll get a lot further sharing your idea than trying to keep the whole thing for yourself.
Meanwhile, look for the angle you have on music that plays to your strengths, and design a community that allows you to leverage it and share it. Based on a lot of concepts I’ve seen out there, the revenue model isn’t initially as important as the potential reach – if you have a concept that can attract a big audience, then business opportunities have a good chance of following right around the corner.
Special thanks to David for sharing his story! Dont forget to check out www.sonicscoop.com to keep in touch with what they are up to, plus tons of opportunities to win amazing gear. If you would like to reach out to David, feel free to hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org
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