Welcome to Untapped Cities’ “Tap This” column where our writers, editors and our favorite New Yorkers share about their city.
This week we interviewed Dan Reilly, an editor at Spinner, AOL’s music website. He has a life many of us would envy, interviewing folks like Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson and reporting on “A Day in the Life” of Slash. For aspiring writers who want to know how he made it to the big leagues, the truth is he patiently worked his way up the writing ladder after freelancing for ESPN the Magazine, FHM, Blender, Spin, Maxim and WWE Magazine. In this interview with us, he shares his thoughts on up-and-coming bands and how social media has impacted the music world.
Untapped Cities: In your own words, what is Spinner?
Dan Reilly: Spinner is AOL music’s rock blog where listeners, among many things, can stream full albums of artists and download MP3s free of cost. It is a visitor’s one stop shop for rock and roll.
Untapped Cities: How did you get involved with Spinner?
Dan Reilly: I freelanced for the company starting in October 2008. I worked my way up as a freelance editor by working from home full-time doing posts and interviews. Then, I became a full-time editor in May 2011.
Untapped Cities: Where are you from originally?
Dan Reilly: I went to high school in Long Island. Everyone at the school seemed to be musically inclined. Since then, they have moved on to play for big named people including Lady Gaga. As a student, I played guitar in three jazz bands and also played in the orchestra.
Untapped Cities: How do you go about seeking out new music?
Dan Reilly: I get pitched music all the time with my position. The people who surround me at work are constantly listening to new music everyday. Plus, I have friends who work for Stereogum, Spin and Pitchfork.
Untapped Cities: What type of music are you listening to these days?
Dan Reilly: I am all over the place these days as research for my job. In general, I prefer punk, indie rock, hip-hop, reggae and jazz. Specifically, I am listening to Guided By Voices, The National, The Kills and Doomtree. I think Doom Tree is slated to “go big”soon. The style is a combination hip-hop, rock and jazz.
Untapped Cities: How do you write about music?
Dan Reilly: It is difficult to try to avoid falling into cliches. But, things have changed. These days a writer can avoid describing sound. With media, we embed a song and video in every post to familiarize a listener with the sound of an artist.
Untapped Cities: How is Spinner utilizing social media to connect listeners to Spinner and the larger music community?
Dan Reilly: We’re active in Tweeting and using Facebook to interact with our audience, more so on Twitter. We try to avoid our tweets from becoming too much like an RSS feed and to inject some fun into it. We also have posted a few Spotify playlists to go along with our CMJ Festival free MP3s and our picks for the best songs of 2012, which have been really well received.
For samples of Dan’s music pieces, click the links below:
- 12 Artists to Watch in 2012
- Guided By Voices Hit “Letterman”
- 10 Ways the iPod Changed Our Lives, For Better or Worse