In the newest instalment of BEHIND THE MUSIC, we have Jenn Woodard Founder and Editor of Poetry In An Empty Coke Can, a site specialising in bringing new music to people. I have found many a gem on there so I was very interested to speak to her about the launch of CCP (as it is abbreviated to) and how she wants to see it grow. Have a read below:
What inspired you to start “Poetry In An Empty Coke Can”?
Seeking out new music has been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember — and I’ve always loved connecting with people through music discovery — so when I finished grad school and had a little extra free time I decided to start sharing music by means of the blog and see where it lead. So it really began as a passion project, and then spiralled from there when Poetry In An Empty Coke Can (CokeCanPoetry or CCP for short) was admitted into Hype Machine in 2014.
Where did the name come from?
The name originates from a pop song: Made-Up Lovesong #43 by a British band called Guillemots. It's a whimsical song about finding love unexpectedly and the abounding joy that springs from that - the joy from the prosaic. I always liked the simple profundity of the lyric, and thought it would make a good name for a music blog.
Who are your musical influences?
Radiohead, Morrissey, Madonna, The Police, and Jeff Buckley are some of my all-time faves.
What did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to everything from Buddy Holly to Paula Abdul to show tunes. As a product of the ‘80s, I would say the synth-pop stylings of that era definitely had an impact on what I gravitate towards now though.
Do you have a clear idea of what type of artists you want to feature on your site? Or do you go for more of an eclectic vibe?
I try to go for an eclectic mix and be open to an array of genres, but definitely lean towards indie, synth pop, and electronic music with a progressive bent.
Has anyone you know personally, tried to get featured on the site? And how do you handle situations where you don't like their music?
Can I plead the fifth? Kidding. Fortunately that’s a rarity, and generally speaking I like to support my friends who are so lucky as to be musically inclined.
Are you worried about drowning in the noise of music blogs? (As anyone with a laptop and a vocal opinion on music can become a blogger these days).
Yes, of course that’s always the danger of running a blog, which is why you do it for the love of the music and not for the recognition. The good news is that if you’re doing it right, you cultivate a following who have an appreciation for the type of music you’re putting out there. And I do think there’s room for a wide range of opinions on the matter.
Poetry In An Empty Coke Can posts quite frequently, do you ever worry that the quality of music you support will become diluted? (i.e. the Quality vs Quantity debate)
Actually, CCP posts relatively infrequently compared to the bigger blogs (CoS, Indie Shuffle, Stereogum, etc.), so I’m not much concerned as far as that goes. I agree there’s a balance to be had, but at this point we’re primarily focused on quality since CCP is still a small operation (myself and a couple of other contributors). Consistent content is important.
When you first started did you have an idea of what you wanted the site to be? Did you have a template of a music site you admired?
Not exactly, no. I thought it better to just start my own thing — if only as a creative outlet — and see what developed from there. I didn’t have a template per se but I knew I wanted a minimalist design and clean aesthetic.
Do you try and keep up with the latest musical trends or do you just put up what you truly love?
Great question. While I think it’s important to be aware of trends and keep my finger on the musical pulse so to speak, I won’t promote a song if it doesn’t speak to me or resonate on some level. This goes back to your earlier question but I strive to have the utmost quality on the site.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I can’t get enough of James Blake’s new album, The Colour In Anything I think it’s brilliant... a modern masterpiece IMO.
How do you discover new artists? and How do you wade through it all to see what is best for your site?
Honestly it’s mostly through email submissions these days. I receive an ample amount of music from publicists and hopeful new artists in my inbox daily, so I have to sift through as best as possible to see what catches it my ear. It's a struggle to keep up sometimes but it’s a labour of love.
What are your thoughts on the new paying service of SoundCloud?
I haven’t experimented with it yet, but I understand their need to monetise the service.
Out of the current streaming players, which do you use and why?
I use Spotify Premium as I think it’s a reasonably priced model and user friendly service.
What are your views on streaming? Is it an unfair model or should we allow time for it to grow into a sustainable payment structure?
I think streaming is a great way for artists' music to be heard and to gain critical exposure, especially for emerging new indie artists. The music industry has changed so much, but I think it's important for musicians to be able to adapt. Hopefully in time, the model will grow into a more sustainable payment structure — one that will benefit both larger and smaller artists.
What do you think of artists only having their music on one platform? Are they starving their fans? Has releasing music become a game? (Leverage of power?)
That does seem to be a trend with some artists, but I’m not a fan as I think it’s too limiting for fans.
How often do you go to see live music?
That depends, but (Washington) D.C. has such a rich live music scene that during the busiest times of year it’s not uncommon to be attending shows a couple of times a week!
In your opinion, musically who will 2016 belong to?
A) One Female
B) One Male or
C) One group
I’m going to go with A) One female. Beyoncé took the world by storm this year when she dropped her surprise LP Lemonade, cementing her title and continuing her reign as Queen Bey. It’s an empowering album, and amazing to see how much she continues to evolve as an artist for someone with such mainstream appeal.
What is success to you? (For your blog)
Continuing to share great music with fellow music lovers via CokeCanPoetry, and thereby contributing to the greater musical dialogue. Of course, growing the blog will hopefully be a component of that. But for me, connecting with both artists as well as listeners is the most rewarding and motivating aspect (although the added benefit of free concert tickets doesn’t hurt!).
Be sure to check out Jenn's site: Poetry In An Empty Coke Can and keep up with all updates from the site below: