On Repeat Is 2
So this is 2.
This past Wednesday marked two years since the current iteration of On Repeat came to be. back then, it had a different name and a different look, and a lot fewer of us were here.
Writing last year at this time, I had high hopes for the year ahead but had no idea things would take off the way they have. To say I’ve been surprised and delighted would be a gross understatement.
We can talk about “growth” or other metrics, but really, I’m writing to say thank you.
Thank you to those of you who have been here since Day 1. To those of you who might’ve joined us today. And especially to those of you whose direct support helps keep the lights on and allows me to keep doing the work I love.
Substack has added a lot of features over the last 365 days. Recommendations were always a game changer, but Notes and some other discovery tools have allowed us to build this community at a faster clip than ever before. At one point, the percentage of people joining us from the Susbtack network was in the single digits. Today, that’s how the vast majority of people get here.
I’m intentionally using the words “us” & “we” here. Watching the community flourish and see conversations become omnidirectional is not something I could’ve done alone. I might be driving the truck, but the community makes it go.
You know who’s not here? Advertisers. That’s also intentional. I prefer a clean reading experience and assume all of you do as well. It’s a huge upside of this platform. Being 100% reader-funded also means no conflicts of interest, spending time chasing sponsors, or dealing with “hype pods.” I share work directly with you, and we share ideas & records with each other.
No algorithms, no gatekeeping, no problem.
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading, now is the perfect time.
Where does that money go?
It funds subscriptions directly related to the operation of On Repeat.
Your support has underwritten a couple of projects and allowed me to upgrade a couple of tools that help me deliver the best product possible.
And, of course, the pens. More specifically, Pilot G2 pens. This is very much a digital publication, but the first draft is still outlined by hand.
More importantly, I firmly believe in paying it forward, and a portion of all revenue goes toward supporting other independent musicians, artists, and fellow music journalists doing work that aligns with our shared values. I recently saw someone refer to it as artistic tithing, and I’m not sure I could label it any better.
I’m also mindful that not everyone is in a space to pay for a subscription. If that’s you, email me, and I’ll comp you one. I’ve been there. You don’t have to prove anything or make your case. All you have to do is ask. Critically, for those of you able to pay, your help makes that possible.
And it really really helps when you spread the word and recommend the site to all the music lovers in your life.
Where we’ve been
In the past year, I’ve shared 100s songs & records, and collectively you’ve shared 1000s more.
There have been more collaborations and guest posts, something I intend to double down on in year 3. If you or someone you know is a good fit hit me up!
We did a data-driven deep dive on my Spotify history, sparking a larger conversation about listening habits and digital privacy.
I started a News & Notes feature, which quickly took on a life of its own and evolved into a popular weekly roundup.
There were more artist interviews than ever before. Look for more of those to come.
And we did quirky things like coming up with a wedding playlist for one of our own. It’s currently at 200+ songs, btw.
Where we’re going
I’m excited about what’s ahead and hope you are too.
In addition to the regular features you’ve come to expect, I plan to increase the level of interviews and guest posts.
There will also be more in-depth articles/deep dives on records, new and old. I have a few on the drawing board that I think people will enjoy.
We’ll also widen the aperture and look at some of the higher-level issues in the music industry.
A lot of you are doing a lot of cool shit, and it’s long past time to highlight some of that. We’ve got several authors, several musicians, a couple of record label owners, artists, at least two radio hosts, podcasters, and more. Need a graphic designer? A ghostwriter? How about someone you can trust with your pets? We got those, too. On both coasts.
I also want to hear from you. What’s working? What isn’t? What would you like to see more of in Year 3?
This page has been through a few iterations, and some of the best changes have been driven by reader feedback, including the recent Community Survey. It’s open again, and you can take it here. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two of your time.
You can also email me anytime. I read every one of ‘em.
2 years ago, I couldn’t find a place to share music I loved with people I hoped would love it too. So I built it.
At this point, it’s clear that many of us were looking for the same thing. I hope you’re having as much fun being here as I’m having on the other side of the screen. The purpose of this newsletter is to entertain & inform, but it’s more than that; it’s a shared space where music discovery happens the way it used to— by word of mouth and personably.
The first thing most of you receive from me is Thelonious Monks’ 25 Tips for Musicians. One of the tips is to “always leave them wanting more.” Last year, I described that as the page’s North Star. It still is today.
Thank you again for being here, and I appreciate your support!