Why time stamps are important


If you’re interviewing bands, reviewing albums, or posting news on your blog, you need to have some sort of time-stamp on your piece.

See, other writers make posts and articles about bands and albums, and they might come across your website during their research. If your article has no time stamp, however, it’s damn near worthless.

If you interviewed someone but failed to include what YEAR the interview was conducted, how could I ever cite your article as a source? When did the interview take place? Last week? Last year? 2012?

Dates are important. When strung together, they create a narrative. The same band involved in two robberies in the same year – that’s a story. A band hinting at a new album on Facebook two years before the label sends a press release is news-worthy because of dates.

Think about it – if a band announces they kicked out their guitar player, and you have an interview from two years prior with that guitar player, you can now add something EXCLUSIVE to your news post. While everyone else is just reposting a press release, you’re able to say, “when I talked to that guitar player in 2013, she had this to say…"

Also, site owners: make sure you use the whole date. There was a time recently when Alternative Press didn’t include the YEAR in their published date. Just month and day. The year is pretty important when talking about something big, like say, former As I Lay dying vocalist Tim Lambesis doing an interview about his murder-for-hire trial (that was published in 2014, in case you were wondering). There’s no reason why any writer should have to email an outlet and ask, “hey, when was this published?”

This is music-blogging 101, folks. It ain’t rocket surgery.

So when you’re hacking away at your WordPress theme or whatever for your music blog, be sure to keep the time-stamps in there. They’re worth it not just for future reference, but for preserving the history of all this music media we work on every single day.

Seth Werkheiser is the quiz master of metal trivia at Skulltoaster. He’s also the founder of some music sites you may have heard of, including Noise Creep (2009) + Buzzgrinder (2001). He’s anti-Facebook, anti-clickbait, and anti-growth hacking. You should most definitely follow him on Twitter. Yes, right now.

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.