Letter From the Editor: An Opportunity To Be Great

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It may be an odd choice to select quotes from comedienne Lucille Ball to anchor a “Letter from the Editor” of a longstanding music magazine, but I am going to do it. Four times. She speaks to me.

“Ability is of little account without opportunity.”

We have a tremendously unique position in having successfully published a print product for 35 years. We are also blessed to have a passionate and growing on- line base of readers. Those facts — combined with the wisdom of Lucy — illustrate how we will be operating into the future. There are so many incredible songwriters and artists making music, playing shows, and looking in earnest for their break that our task moving forward is to give that opportunity to as many of them as we can. We will do that by becoming more genre agnostic. We will do that by increasing our online features. We will do that by building great relationships and saying ‘yes’ to more pitches than ever before.

American Songwriter has the chance to give the opportunity for those with ability to shine. It is something we take seriously.

“Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I am afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work — and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”

There is nothing more simplistic, if not rare, than hard work. Especially today. It may sound like an ‘okay, Boomer’ answer but, regardless of my generation, I take great pride in having a high work ethic, moreover I do my best to surround myself with people who share that same quality, regardless of generation. We will be doing our best to outwork those around us. There are things that can and will be done to ensure that if we are working efficiently and effectively, as a team, that we can not only increase the opportunity for the artists we cover but for ourselves.

There will be no luck involved nor credited for making this a better publication than it has ever been. We recognize this opportunity for what it is and will work hard to take full advantage.

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.”

If you haven’t noticed a theme yet it should be getting more apparent: We are going to do things differently in 2020 and so much of it is going to be based on effort, strategic increases, and investments.

One such example is with the addition of content writers.

We have actively spent the last several weeks searching for respected names inside the music industry to bring on and tell the stories of those making the great tracks we all enjoy. You have already seen their bylines and will continue to do so.

The target was writers who could tell us no — but, thankfully, chose to say yes.

None of this was to replace the tremendous writers that we have had for years but to augment the scope of what we were covering. To be more mainstream — heck to be more niche — and to continue growing our roots in Americana but also branch out into other genres.

The storytelling that we do on American Songwriter is going to be familiar and different all at the same time. We made sure that we now have enough lanes to be busy and enough great writers to fill the pages and post online.

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

We are not going to be perfect. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to cover artists that you don’t like. We are going to put artists in print that otherwise would never have been. We are going to give reviews that ruffle feathers. We are going to do a lot of things.

The important part is that we are going to DO. A LOT. Even if we misstep. No regrets about it.

Oh, we are also going to introduce you to your new favorite song because of the chances we take.

I have been fortunate in my career to have worked at multiple start-ups as well as multiple, major corporations. I have learned a lot at both but some of the most important lessons were the importance of processes and in calculated risk taking.

Lastly, it is important to note, we respect everything that this magazine is, was, and has been to so many people, but we are most excited for what it will be.

There is a lot of movement happening behind the scenes that will soon be brought to light. Until then, enjoy this Legends Issue and be ready for so much more in the future.

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