This past month I received a Facebook message from a former colleague. Names put aside, the reason for this public statement is not to expose anyone, but to allow followers of Motorcity Metal to understand my mindset and goals for this company.
My name is Lauren Garchar, I am the owner of Motorcity Metal. I began Motorcity Metal when I was seventeen years old. First things first, I want to start with a brief backstory of Motorcity Metal. My original thought for Motorcity Metal was solely being a blog, an outlet where I could write about my passion for metal music. Over the past couple years, the route for Motorcity Metal has changed drastically. I graduated high school and begun college at Central Michigan University, where I study photojournalism. When I started contemplating my future, I wanted to have a career which I enjoy and take pride in my work. Being that I already have an overwhelming amount of passion in the arts and heavy metal music, what better way to jump start my career then invest a majority of my time to Motorcity Metal. Motorcity Metal has opened a lot of doors to new opportunities. I also have grown overall as a photographer, writer and as a person. My dream is for Motorcity Metal to be a recognized as a trusted news outlet for the heavy metal community.
This past September I released a review of the Volbeat concert I attended. My article contained remarks about opening act, Black Wizard. As a writer, I take pride in my writing; holding the standards of telling the truth while exuding good ethics. As a music connoisseur and avid reader of many different publications, I wrote my thoughts on the performance as if I was the reader. You can imagine how I felt when I received this Facebook message from a former colleague. (Needless to say I was flabbergasted).
“On Sept. 16, 2016 is when I received this Facebook message. It read as the following, Hi Lauren… You haven’t been active with — in quite some time, so this message won’t have any real impact on you. However, due to your highly negative review of Black Wizard in your Motor City Metal Volbeat concert article, I need to formally terminate your freelance status. Going forward, please do not represent yourself as a member of — Media or staff. Now that it has been said, let me be clear; it is nothing personal. However, — Media has a policy of not publishing negative reviews. If a band or album is truly awful, we simply don’t publish anything. We have worked hard to build strong relationships within the music industry and publishing negative reviews does little other than getting your publication black listed to future artist access requests. Therefore, if asked if you are associated with — any longer, I will tell them we officially ended our professional relationship today. Please do the same. It is none of my business what approach you choose as a music journalist. One thing you might consider is whether writing that scathing review will help or hurt your future ambitions to cover the industry. If you burn an artist and thus his/her publicist, your name will get around and you could find yourself being turned down for future concerts and interviews. Just my two cents; take it as you like.”
First of all, I got offered a position at this company around this same time last year. The owner of the company messaged me on Facebook asking if I would ever have any interest in working/ writing for them. I was excited, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to get my foot in the door. I started by writing press release articles (about two to three per week) steadily for a month or so. As time progressed I felt as if my talent was not being utilized to its fullest extent. I messaged the owner of this specific company, as well as the editor in chief, to see if I could possibly add some photography and or interviews to my assignments. Although they did not reject me, they did not allow me to cover any big name bands. As time progressed I decided to dedicate my time too further Motorcity Metal. I began to request press passes for shows I was interested in covering. My requests continuously got accepted and I was proud of myself for branching off and doing what I was passionate about. I continued to post content on my own website and Facebook; allowing the owner of the company which I was previously working for could see. He asked if he could use my coverage on his website, and I kindly replied to his request with the following: “Well I have asked several times about covering various events for — and no one has gotten back to me.” (July 19, 2016) Throughout the year I had been working for this company, I was never once offered to cover a show, even though I asked, nor financial compensation.
Second of all, as a writer I strive to be honest and develop ethos (credibility). Unlike, — I will not settle for not deciding to post a review because it is negative. I believe as a writer I hold myself to the standard of using ethics and writing the truth regardless if it is positive or negative. I am not looking to get into as many free shows as possible and receiving free merch and or special treatment. I want the bands, and their staff wanting me to solely cover their show because I am a talented writer and photographer; not to mention they value my opinion. My reviews are completely opinion based; allowing my readers to make the choice if they want to follow me as a writer or not. My opinion is unique, while exercising my freedom of speech.
With that being said, I hope that you as music news consumers respect my philosophy as a business owner and continue to support me through my endeavors.
(Owner of Motorcity Metal)