Wig Out at The New Hampshire Primaries

A handy guide to choosing between faith and void in the upcoming elections.

Resurget Cineribus: An interview with Sterling Toles

Detroit producer Sterling Toles peels back the layers on his long-shelved master work in a conversation with artist Fred Thomas about the Detroit riots, intergenerational trauma and rising again from the ashes.

Swimming Up Stream

How do artists define success in the streaming era.

Backline with Astra Elane

Musician, songwriter, and producer Astra Elane of The Gods Themselves talks to us about her set up.

Curating the Lineup: The Rise of Artist-Controlled Festivals

Artists are shaking up the festival circuit with a more homegrown offering drawn from their friendship and fandom.

Taking Monopoly Seriously

A century ago, the modern music economy would have been illegal

Backline with Lauren Ross

Multi-instrumentalist Lauren Ross aka La Louma talks to us about her set up

Get The Most Out of SXSW

It's that time of the year again. Lauren Rearick talks to industry experts and gets advice on how to do it right.

Writing About Music Sucks (But You Should Do It Anyway)

Writer Erica Hawkins on the challenges of doing what you love.

Taking Space In The Crowd

Writer Amaya García on going to shows alone as a woman.

Death, Taxes, and Data: A Memorial to the Throne

It tells two stories from my life as an artist. These stories are not about the artistic product I create but instead concern how I have been affected by the world. A world none of us asked to be born into, and that we try to look in the eye regardless. Both orbit the problems of consolidated power.

Backline with Jem Murciano

Jem Murciano of The Ghost Ease talks to us about her set up

Backline with Bridgette Moody

Bridgette Moody, singer and soundscaper in Haunted Summer, talks to us about her set up

You Don't Need Anyone's Permission to Start Writing About Music

Lauren Rearick of The Grey Estates gives advice on how to start your own music blog

Be Bold. Pile On. Stay Punk.

Katy Otto (Trophy Wife) interviews pageninetynine and Majority Rule about their recent reunion tour and the politics behind it.

You’re Not Alone: Finding Comfort in the Songs of LGBTQ+ artists

Now, perhaps more than ever, we need music. We need to share the songs and works of marginalized voices — to support them, listen to them and use their art as a way to fight hate.

Is Blockchain Technology the Future of Music Streaming?

Rob Arcand talks about blockchain and how it might be able to help independent musicians.

Backline with Kathy Valentine

The one and only Kathy Valentine talks to Watt about her gear.

The List

Zachary Lipez has compiled a list of web sites to potentially send your music to. Publicize your own fucking life!

DE-GRADED: Music Criticism and Regressive Reading

The convention of assigning elementary school letter grades, star ratings, or best-of-ten subdivisions to music reviews is so ubiquitous now that it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way.

Sofar Sounds - The Uber of House Shows?

Some musicians in the Bay Area are criticizing a popular house-show startup over paltry compensation, while others challenge its very existence.

How To Read A Record Deal

So you were offered a record deal. Congratulations! But the only problem is that now you have to read it.

Backline with Jamie Aaron Aux

Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Jamie Aaron Aux talks to us about her set up.

The Secret Lives of Playlists

Not all Spotify playlists are created equally. To begin understanding this, look at them closely. Literally.

Transportation: An Interview with Chandra

Chandra was just 10 years old when her lost album, Transportation, was released. Fellow musician Fred Thomas talks with her about that and much more.

Get Up & Be It: How A Ted Leo Song Helped Me Survive

This is a true story about survival, heathcare, and why Ted Leo is the best forever.

No Internet, No Music: Why Musicians Need To Care About Net Neutrality

Musicians need net neutrality in order to have a fair shake in the internet economy

Literal Listening

All artists aren't given the same freedom of expression.

Backline with Alicia Warrington

Drummer Alicia Warrington (Kate Nash, Gore Gore Girls) talks to us about her gear for Backline.

Crowdfunding For Your Sick Guitarist The Smart Way

Sixty percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. are the result of medical debt. Caryn Rose speaks to nonprofit Sweet Relief on how they help musicians try to avoid that fate.

Backline with Mozart's Sister

Caila Thompson-Hannant talks to us about her gear for Backline.

Mental Health Care Is A Human Right (And Artists Are Humans)

I want us to talk about mental illness the same way we talk about anything from a common cold to cancer.

Invaluable Music Biz Advice

The man with the Sexiest Elbows in Rock lets you in on some of his secrets.

What To Know Before Your First Recording Session

Larry Crane, owner of Jackpot! & editor of Tape Op Magazine, with some excellent tips on how to prepare for your first recording session.

The Protesters The Women's March Forgot About

On Inauguration Day, I volunteered on a hotline providing legal support to protesters. Hundreds were arrested. Before they were out of jail, mainstream feminism had already cast them aside.

Backline with Julia Kugel

Julia Kugel, guitarist for The Coathangers, talks to us about her gear.

Backline with Mary Timony

The one and only Mary Timony talks to us about her gear for Backline.

Not All Art Scales, Not All Businesses Should

So many of the sites we rely on have big money behind them and even bigger profit motives in front of them. We have to think critically about where we build our communities, what data we give to corporations, and how (not if) they plan on monetizing us.

Backline with Janet Weiss

Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney & Quasi talks about her set up with us.

The Many Paths to Accepting Payment

Many new ways to pay for physical or digital goods are popping up seemingly every day. And with them, many more options for the types of payments you can accept. The support of your fans is now a tap, swipe, or click away.

Backline with Dana Wachs

Dana Wachs aka Vorhees is a composer, audio engineer, and producer. We talk to her about her set up.


I knew I was going to snap, and I knew it would be in the face of a friend. We only hurt the ones we love, the ones we shouldn’t hurt at all. I knew it was going to happen. The only question was, when?

The Inevitable Institutionalization of Rock

Rock lineage as a self-supporting mass-culture driver is over, as should be the preposterous and romanticizing idea that it is the music of some kind of spontaneous, youthful holy-fool effusion.

Speak Up

What some might think of as a joke, we have to view as a threat, because the risk to not do so is too high.

Why We Can't Forget Meg White - And the Sexist Way We Talked About Her

Indeed, it’s often hard to untangle the criticism and evaluation of Meg White: The Musician from Meg White: The Female Body. In the fan communities, on the forums and the message boards and blogs, the criticism is most unyielding and brutal.

Punk Trump

I know some are clamoring for a new Fugazi but I don’t know that I’d want to sit through another “Guilty of Being White” to get there.

No Silver Lining

We worked like we were building a wall of our own — one made of power chords, cymbal smashes and sweat — to keep out bigotry and hatred.

Keep It Tidy, part 1

If you’re organizing, thinking about a protest album, or working on art critical of your government then encryption matters to you, as do privacy and safety.

How to Work on Press Like a Pro

The Oregonian's David Greenwald interviews editors and writers from Noisey, Consequence of Sound, FACT and more about best practices when dealing with press.

A Practical Web Tutorial to Bystander Intervention and De-escalation Tactics

I believe that we have a deep responsibility to care for one another and for the people who come to see us play, and that though any kind of independent musical community is immensely fractured, some of those fractures can be healed by everyday thoughtfulness.

Breaking Down

I have credited music for saving my life in the past, for although it is a cliche, I know it to be true. But it wasn’t music that saved my life that day, it was my best friends.

Trademark Basics

Important information from lawyer Becki C. Lee about trademarks. Questions like do you need one, do you have one, what is it, and more are answered here.

Backline with Katie Gately

Katie Gately, Sound Designer, Music Producer, talks about her set up.

Backline with Satomi Matsuzaki

Satomi Matsuzaki, bassist & singer in Deerhoof, talks about her set up.

Becoming a Believer - How Rock Music Saved My Life

I found something that not only distracted me from my anxious thoughts, but also soothed them and loosened their hold over the limited space in my brain.

Who Are You And What Are You Doing Here

The Self-Sabotaging Scourge of Imposter Syndrome in the Music Industry

Why I Won't Tour Anymore

I’m done being in a cramped van every day. I’m done being in a loud, dirty club every night. I’m done living in a world in which alcohol is more prevalent, and considered more valuable, than food.

The Transmigration of Art

There is something intensely private in the act of listening to music, the way a song can feel like a very real, personal communication with the artist.

Backline with Fabi Reyna

Fabi Reyna, guitarist and editor/founder of the fabulous She Shreds talks about her set up.

Selling Out

The song had summed up so much about what we adored and feared in life - love, beauty, and the permanence and inescapable reality of death. Now the song was being used to sell us a mid-size sedan.

It’s All In Your Head: Shutting Up The Voices That Tell You “No”

There’s something so terrifying about putting yourself in a position where you could possibly be rejected, harshly criticized or worst of all…ignored.

Backline with Jessica Boudreaux

Jessica Boudreaux of Summer Cannibals talks about her set up

Backline with Kathy Foster

Kathy Foster of The Thermals & Hurry Up talks about her set up

Copyright Basics: Sound Recordings & Musical Compositions

As an artist or an artist’s representative, it is critical to understand at least the basics of what rights you control in your art, and how best to monetize those rights.

Surviving Your First (and second... and each one after) Tour

An important part of career longevity for any musician is live performance. An album cycle can call for over a year working on the road and the fact that a single 4 week tour has ended many bands is enough to cause anxiety in even the most seasoned road vets the first day out.

Speaking two entirely different languages.

(If you don’t believe me, ask your nearest recording engineer what “API” stands for, then ask your nearest web developer.) But more importantly, working in both worlds sometimes feels like oscillating between two entirely different value systems.

You don't need a publicist (for real)

I do not hold the magic key to your success kingdom.

Interview Series: EP.3 - Meredith Graves & DVS

Certain themes in music evoke feelings whether you want them to or not.

Time To Find A Pro

We never took on a manager because it just never felt right.

Synch Licensing Basics

It’s selling out!” “It’s the savior of the music business!” “Some dickhead put my favorite song on a commercial!” “I’M CONFUSED!!!” Welcome to synch licensing!

Creating Space For Creating Art

Everyone has a story or a perspective, a song or a painting. But some people may not realize they do because space has never been made for them, or they’ve never been handed the tools. Lots of folks have aimless energy; a desire to make something happen that’s bigger than themselves, but nowhere to do it.

Christopher Sutton

Music, simply put, is life.

How To Be A Valuable Member Of A Rock Band When You Don't Write The Lyrics

In my 20 plus years as a drummer and collaborator, I have learned to contribute to the creative process by being kickass, a good bandmate, and by following these 8 simple rules.

Making your band an LLC.

When, why, and how do you set up an LLC for your band?

Open Is Hope

Open brings collective strength and moves functionality from closed systems into spaces that everyone can use, shape, and embrace.

Envisioning a World Where No One's Voice is Silenced

In the Middle East in particular, acts of violence and occupation limit the growth of society. Regardless of whether a powerful voice is silenced by censorship, prison, or even death, the end result is the same in that the more powerful take away the voices of the less powerful.

Valuing The Freedom To Make Art

At Watt, we can look at the music industry in a way that highlights a lot of things that don't fit into the editorial mission at most publications, but will help both the industry and the outside see the music business in a new and imperative light.

The Career of Being Myself

I am consensually working these long-ass, impossible hours to be paid in less money, but more freedom.

Welcome to Watt

I believe deeply that being a musician is an important and valid vocation. Watt is here to help make it easier to be one.

Why Am I Doing This To Myself?

This independent creative life has myriad simultaneous jobs, no days off, no assurance of security and requires extreme self-­discipline.

Colin Meloy

I think that artists’ voices are now, more than ever, being amplified and projected. More tools are available; middlemen left and right are being made irrelevant — and in many ways that’s a good thing. The real question is how can we reattribute VALUE to those voices.

Danielle Henderson

It's okay to take small measures. It's okay to listen to the needs of the artists around us, and lend encouragement, support, and resources..

Horace Panter

Time stood still. It was transcendental. I knew then that playing music was the greatest thing in the world.

Kim Boekbinder

The corporate content hegemony is worse than ever and we're stuck squabbling over the pitiful amounts of money our streaming overlords let slip through their grasp, or clinging to ad agencies and music supervisors like life rafts.

Laura Snapes

I think [music] the greatest source of joy and comfort of all art forms. And done right, it can foster understanding of and openness to other ways of being like nothing else can.

Nathan Larson

But like all new tech the potential for discovery and access is mind-blowing, and beyond good and evil. The fact is the sample group of kids I have access to are as likely to know as much about obscure '60s garage punk stuff, or classic hip hop, or 'classic' punk rock, and that's extremely fucking cool.

J. Edward Keyes

That's always been the music that's excited me the most, when artists question the accepted - in culture, in song structure, in production methods - and tear everything down so they can build it back up again in their own way.

Ann Friedman

Music is a memory aid, a muscle relaxant, an aphrodisiac, a pain reliever, an anxiety suppressant, a mood enhancer.

Interview Series: EP.1 (Teaser) - Jean Grae & Ted Leo

Either consciously or subconsciously music is, other than math, the universal language that we can communicate with.

The Haxan Cloak

For musicians to be truly heard we need to be empowered with tools to build our own framework. Existing foundations need to become malleable.

Interview Series: EP.2 (Teaser) - Jubilee & Hot Sugar

It’s everywhere all the time and I don’t think people realize what kind of an impact it really has.

Dan Deacon

Can you manage a world without music or the arts? It’s kind of like imagining a world without adjectives.

Jenn Schiffer

Music has a way of telling us how horrible and wonderful life is at the same time and it magically makes that reality easy to digest.

Beth Ditto

[Music]s everywhere all the time and I don't think people realize what kind of an impact it really has.

Jamie Stewart

The impact [music] has is that it gives living a context and momentum

I Hear The Music

A visual response

Sir Foster

Artists are just as important as scientists, doctors, mathematicians and the like.

Mark Surman, executive director, Mozilla Foundation

Music is a guiding force, able to steer people toward communities and causes they're passionate about. ...I've been drawn to social causes and organizations that embody that punk passion and sincerity. In a way, music made me.

John Roderick

People want art and need art, they crave it and seek it.

Henry Rollins - The impact of music in our world

If that’s how you’re listening to music—you’re only ripping yourself off.

Astra Taylor

It almost feels like one of the elements. There's air, water, dirt, fire, and music.

Zola Jesus

Music speaks far beyond words. It is a capsule for the human condition.

Jumping Off Cliffs

Art directly creates our culture, driving ideas and enabling communication that goes far beyond language alone.