Profile: SAD Select Music Blog
By Alex LaVallee
SAD Select is a startup music blog that primarily focuses on music discovery. Since its inception in 2014, it has made waves on Tumblr and Instagram with its intelligent style of music recommendations.
I had a chance to sit down with one of the creators of SAD Select to talk a little bit about how the blog works, what the future plans of the blog are, and the mission of the blog.
A.l.: What is SAD Select at this point in time?
Dan: Right now we’re on Tumblr and Instagram, and as of right now we’re basically just music recommendations but with a little bit of creativity behind it. I guess the staple of it is that every time we recommend an album or a song it’s the "what," "where," and "why" of that piece of music. So for example, the "what" is describing the genre of it, the "where" is almost like where that piece of music is best to be heard—almost like if you were to be walking somewhere and find that perfect song for what you’re doing, like if you were driving to the beach and put on The Beach Boys that would be a good fit for the "where" of that song or album. It’s almost like a wine pairing for your environment—and the "why" is just like why you should listen to it.
What was the initial idea behind SAD Select and the recommendation system?
What we’re trying to do is take away the ratings of music. There’s so much content out there and there are a lot of people that will just listen to music if it’s a 5/5 or 10/10 album and they won’t even give a record a chance if it got a lower rating. I feel like music should be something that is excused from that rating system. If you think that a song is bad then just don’t listen to that song, that doesn’t mean that someone else might not like or even love that song. For example, everyone loves to hate on Nickelback, but there is a time and place for Nickelback even though it might not be your time and place. There’s a reason that they’re so big and that’s because in the early 2000’s when people were cooking burgers and drinking beers, that was a good time and place for Nickelback. I wanted to bring it back to when music was so good when it was just you recommending a song or album to a friend.
What was the startup like? How did SAD Select start and where do you see it ending up?
Well it started off as just an idea for us to write about music. We wanted it to be concise and not as judgmental. Something simple that anyone could go to for a recommendation, that’s where we got the what/where/why idea. The first two that we wrote were for ‘Cloud Nothings’ and ‘Jason Isbell’ and we kept writing more and more for a while on Tumblr, then we kinda took a break from it. We just started back up with Instagram as kinda like a song or album a day. The goal now is to just generate content and get followers. Eventually, I’d like to develop some sort of program where you can type in what you’re doing and the program will recommend a record to listen to while you’re driving or hiking or whatever you’re doing.
What kind of music has been featured on SAD Select?
We’ve had a lot of indie rock or folky kind of music. It tends to be a lot of music that is kind of on the Pitchfork circuit, so newer younger bands that people might not have heard yet.
What is the process behind creating a recommendation for SAD Select?
The what and why are pretty straightforward, they are kind of just background on the band and genre, so I tend to focus more on the where when I’m doing a recommendation. When I hear something I try to backtrack it to where the artist might have been or what they were thinking of when they were inspired to write this piece of music. Environment is tied so strongly to style and sound, like southern bands have a southern sound and Philly bands tend to have a Philly sound. There are bands that make music for coffee shops and there are bands that make music to thrash around to.
Is there any other information you want people to know about SAD Select?
I want people to understand our goal to try and have people approach new music with a different perspective. There tends to be a lot of elitism in music rating and we want to stray away from discouraging anyone to listen to an artist or a piece of music. Just because a song or album got a low rating doesn’t mean that they are bad songs. There is still an emotional connection to every piece of music and we want people to be able to hear that and enjoy that music
About the Writer
Alex LaVallee is a junior, Public Relations major at Rowan University. He grew up in a small rural community in Hunterdon County, NJ. LaVallee is a lover of music, art, and nature, spending most of his time finding new music or outside with his friends. LaVallee takes pride in the fact that he grew up in NJ, and continuously is fighting for the proper recognition of Central Jersey. Follow Alex LaVallee on social media @alex_lavallee (Instagram), @bread_cruz (Twitter).