Blogger Spotlight: Jordan Mohler (Kill The Music)

Welcome to the latest edition of the Haulix Blogger Spotlight series. This time around we’re switching focus from those who have already established their name in the industry to those who are just starting out with a story about an Atlanta resident with drive and talent to spare. If you have a suggestion for a future edition of this series, please do not hesitate to email james@haulix.com and share your story.

According to numbers taken from a 2012 report, there are just over 141,000 new websites registered each day. That means over 50 million new sites come into existence each year, and at least a couple dozen (if not could hundred) of those relate to music. Most will not make it more than a few months, but those who survive the turbulent first year will have taken a big step toward a future in this business. Without further ado, allow us to introduce you to one person who surpassed that one year mark, and follow along as we tell his tale of rising up in an ever-changing industry.

Launching in the fall of 2010, Kill The Music entered the alternative music blog circuit considerably later than many of the sites we have featured in this series. One may see this as a disadvantage given the alarming amount of sites already competing for traffic, but founder Jordan Mohler knew he had something special to offer that could be found nowhere else online and forged ahead with his dream. That unflinching determination to succeed worked, and in no time Mohler found himself being referred to as a tastemaker in the industry with a site that offered podcasts in addition to the regular coverage found on most music blogs. Today he continues to push forward, seeking new avenues to deliver content to readers while simultaneously strengthening his editorial department, and we could not be more excited to share his story with all of you.

If you would like to learn more about Jordan’s work, be sure to stop by Kill The Music and, if you’re a Tumblr user, follow them as well. If you have any additional questions, please add them to the comments section at the end of this post.

H: For those unaware, please state your name, the site you work for, and your role at said site:

JM: My name is Jordan. I run a site called Kill The Music; I’m the founding editor.

H: What was the first album you really connected with? How did you discover it?

JM: The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. My friend showed me the video for “Helena,” and I laughed it off at first cause I thought they were another whiny, emo, makeup-wearing band. However, I listened to TBP when it came out and was hooked. Sadly, I never got a chance to see them befote they broke up.

H: Name the first album you bought with your own money. Did you still own it?

JM: If I can recall correctly, I believe it was Louder Now by Taking Back Sunday. I had just seen Fantastic Four and saw them on the soundtrack so I went out and bought it. I was particularly intrigued by the song “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?” cause it had a “cool” name for a song.

H: Some people say the first genre you fall in love with is the one you follow for life. Is that the case with you?

JM: I liked metalcore for a while then delved into alternative rock, pop punk, hardcore, prog metal, and even dubstep. I try to keep my iPod diverse as possible [laughs]

H: What inspired you to get started in writing in the first place?

JM: I wanted to cover stuff I liked and help out the few good local bands.

H: Was entertainment journalism the first area you wanted to write in?

JM: At first, yes. As the site got bigger, I started to cover different areas like games, movies, etc.

H: Before we dig into how your site works, we should probably figure out how it began. What is the origin story for KillTheMusic?

JM: Honestly, I started the website after seeing The Social Network. While my site may not be on that level, it did motivate me to get off my butt and do something creative.

H: Where does the name of the site come from? Did you have any alternates before settling on that one?

JM: I got the name of the site from the Every Time I Die song, “Kill The Music.” Which happened to have Gerard Way on guest vocals.

H: There are many sites out there covering similar areas of music as your site. What is it about your content offerings that separates you from the competition?

JM: We don’t cover stupid band drama to get views or turn tweets into news stories, unless it’s something noteworthy like a secret show announcement or something.

H: In addition to the site, you also have a podcast. Can you tell us a little about that?

JM: I wanted an outlet to interview people that aren’t directly involed in the music scene. Also, I grew tired of video interviews I think my friend Sergeant D are gonna answer some questions, Loveline style on the next episode.

H: From a marketing standpoint, how do you promote Kill The Music? What methods have proven most beneficial? Least?

JM: Well, I used a Facebook ad coupon recently from my domain host which got us around 632 new likes. I just printed up business cards to hand out at shows (and so I have an excuse to quote American Psycho). Least effective method is probably is telling a friend who has no interest in the genres we cover.

H: When you want to discover new music, where do you look?

JM: While most will say Rdio, Spotify, last.fm, etc, I find that YouTube is actually helpful. Sometimes, I’ll discover bands I missed out on like Alice In Chains, Acceptance, Eighten Visions, Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Botch etc.

H: What advice would you offer a band who wanted to stand up from the others competing for a chance to appear on your site?

JM: Make quality sounding music. If you don’t come out with a good recording, not many people will want to listen to it, even if you pull it off live. Also, see the below answer.

H: Speaking of music discovery, you probably receive a lot of submissions from young artists vying for a spot on your news feed. What advice can you offer young artists hoping to stand out in your inbox?

JM: My friend Brad from The New Fury put it best

“You’re not obligated to promote/post every band that comes your way, especially if they’re not professional about it. Giving special attention to bands who send your music and a good press kit, though, is a good idea. If you posted about everyone who sent you stuff, you’d probably never have time for anything. Time is money.”

H: When it comes to receiving music for review and feature consideration, which services do you prefer and why?

JM: Haulix works for me cause it’s simple. Major labels have their own system, but all the records you’ve been sent aren’t in the queue like in Haulix. I just wish some PR/labels would make the albums downloadable instead of streams in case I’m wanting to listen in my car or at work away from a computer.

H: Piracy is a bigger issue than ever in music. Do you think there is a solution?

JM: Bands/labels need to include better incentives with the physical CD. Maybe a certain amount of the CD’s would include a coupon for a hefty discount in the merch store, or a chance to meet the band when they roll through your town. Perhaps bringing the CD to the show would let you skip the line somehow.

H: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

JM: Every band that plays to backtracks should be dropped from their label and be banned from making music, similar to Pete Rose being banned from baseball.

H: You seem to have big plans for the future. Before we let you go, can you tell us a bit about what you have planned in the months ahead?

JM: Sponsoring a festival in October; which has a great lineup and having bigger guests on the podcast!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.